Magical light, water, birds and incredible colors, all that is the Okavango Delta in Botswana. As an inland delta in the Kalahari Desert, the Okavango Delta is a fabulous safari destination, famous for:
Birding Big 5 sightings and especially Big Cats Water activities for great wildlife photography High wildlife density Fabulous light Great variety of camps and lodges Self-drive possible, but better sightings on private game reserves with professional guides Great opportunities for team incentives Great for wildlife photography courses Excellent safari destination for all photography lovers and hobby snappers
The best time to visit the Okavango Delta is between June and November. International flights do not go directly to Maun, but need to go via Johannesburg. He best concessions in the Delta are by air accessible.
The logical step from the Masai Mara is to visit the Serengeti in Tanzania. The Mara is actually the northern part of the Serengeti and only a fraction of this huge national park.
The Serengeti is famous for:
The endless Great Plains The Great Migration of the big herds The calving of the wildebeest herds The Ngorongoro Crater Conservancy as part of the Serengeti Excellent Big 5 sightings Great variety of camps and lodges for all budgets Self-drive possible, easy access by air and road Great for wildlife photography Special location for all team incentives
Make sure you have at least 4 nights in the Serengeti and choose camps in different parts of the park to see its diversity.
All year round great wildlife sightings Big 5 and Big Cat sightings, sometimes all cats within one game drive The Great Migration of the big herds of wildebeest, zebra and gazelle The dramatic Mara River crossings of the big herds Fantastic landscapes Great hot air ballooning for aerial photography Great variety of camps for all budgets (image above: Kichwa Tembo) Accessible by air and road, self-drive possible, but recommended to have a guide (navigation in the Mara is not easy) Can easily be combined with safari in Serengeti
A great photographic safari destination are the Timbavati in the Greater Kruger National Park. The Timbavati consist of private game reserves and offer excellent wildlife sightings. Great Big 5 and especially Big Cat sightings Excellent for wildlife photography courses and team building incentives Walking safaris for “on foot” wildlife photography Ngala Private Game Reserve can be recommended as a WWF property, huge and only with the vehicles of its own two lodges operating on it (image above) Easy accessible by air and road, self-drive to reserves is possible, but not in the reserves
The advantage of this area is the private character of the game drives and a high diversity of lodges and camps.
Phinda consists of at least 5 different habitats and is located just behind the sand dunes of the Indian Ocean in the southeast of South Africa. Specialties are:
The very rare sand forest, a forest where fairies seem to live with elephants and big cats. Great diversity of animals The Big 5, with especially great cheetah sightings The possibility to watch turtles laying their eggs Great birding with the possibility of boat cruises on the river Different landscapes And great lodges (see image above) Great team building activities Black rhino tracking Wildlife photography courses
Phinda was in the past a pineapple plantation and was brought back to be bush more than 20 years ago. The name Phinda means “the return” and the game reserve made indeed a great return to the wild African bush.
It is not the common safari destination, but very worth visiting.
This week’s posts will be a “places must see list” for photographic safaris in Africa. The best areas for wildlife photography and at the same time great places to rest, relax and forget the daily hassles at home. Get ready for places to fall in love with.
Sossusvlei in the Namib Desert in Namibia offers:
Mind blowing landscapes, Great aerial photography with hot air ballooning Great colors Not so much wildlife, yet great opportunities to photograph desert adapted animals Great lodges with stunning views like on the image above (Sossusvlei Desert Lodge) Great opportunities for team building activities Wildlife photography courses
Self-drive is possible, but guided tours are recommended to find the best spots easily and to focus entirely on photography.
The Victoria Falls are a popular safari destination and the worlds largest sheet of falling water, at least when there is enough water to fall.
From February to May is the Zambezi River’s flood season and the moment that the falls’ spray rises to a height of over 400 meters and sometimes even twice as high, visible from a distance of about 30 miles. During this time it is not possible to see the foot of the falls and walking on the opposite cliff means being showered all the time. Some people even saw a moonbow at full moon, the equivalent of the rainbow during daylight, caused by the falls’ spray and the moonlight.
From September to January the visitor will see very different falls with up to half of the fall’s rocks becoming dry. The foot of the falls is then visible and the walk on the opposite cliff is dry to.
Both seasons of the falls are awesome, each has its own greatness and photographers will love it. There is always the option to see the falls from a helicopter and capture some great shots. And for the brave ones and loved by team buildings are the famous bungee jumping bridge and the canoeing on the Zambezi.
However, the Vic Falls are a must when visiting Southern Africa. They are magic and great fun for photographers.
Namibia is a vast country in the southwest of the African continent. It is famous for its wildlife and its enormous deserts with spectacular sand dunes. The Namib Desert is located in the southwest of the country. It offers fantastic landscapes and the incredible Sossusvlei, a place of red sand dunes, changing shapes continuously and offering great photographic opportunities.
Photographic safaris and team building photographic safaris that visit the area differ from the usual safaris to other destinations in Africa. Also the focus during wildlife photography courses is more on landscapes than on animals, although even the desert offers great wildlife sightings, yet of a very different nature. The wildlife sightings are more in combination with the landscape to show the perspectives of animals in this environment.
If possible do a hot air balloon ride when you are there. It is absolutely great and a heaven for photographers. The Namib is the perfect subject for aerial photography.
But there is more. The Namib is also great for stargazing and the camps in the desert offer sleeping under the stars, an incredible experience, also for not photographers.
Inspired? It’s a fantastic place to visit and its easy accessible, also by self-drive.
The Masai Mara in Kenya is probably the most famous photographic safari, wildlife photography course and team building photographic safari destination in Africa. The Great Migration of the big herds of zebra, wildebeest and gazelle takes place from the end of July until the beginning of September (depending on the rain) and attracts visitors from around the world. There is hardly something more spectacular than the Mara River crossing of the big herds with many crocodiles waiting for them and a strong current that makes the crossing even more dangerous. Watching this is a breathtaking experience and a heaven for wildlife photographers.
But the Masai Mara is also without Great Migration a fantastic photographic safari destination. Throughout the year the wildlife sightings are amazing and there is always an abundance of wildlife. Besides that, the landscape is also stunning, the marsh with its characteristic beauty, the mountain range offering great views and the open plains, allowing wide views like looking over an ocean, dotted with animals .
The Masai Mara offers always beauty and great wildlife sightings, spectacular light and colors. It is a magnificent place to visit.
Here a practical tip. Outside the Great Migration period the accommodation rates drop and specials are available. That doesn’t mean it is not good to go there. The Masai Mara is always great, at any time of the year.
“The Okavango Delta (or Okavango Swamp), in Botswana, is a large inland delta, formed where the Okavango River reaches a tectonic trough in the central part of the endorheic basin of the Kalahari. All the water reaching the Delta is ultimately evaporated and transpired, and does not flow into any sea or ocean. Each year approximately 11 cubic kilometres of water spread over the 6,000-15,000 km² area.” (Wikipedia)
These are the dry facts of an amazing photographic safari destination with the most beautiful light one can wish for a wildlife photography course or just to watch and snap. The Okavango Delta’s best places cannot be reached by car, because they are surrounded by water for most of the time. The combination of water with bush gives the Okavango Delta a very own magic. One has game drives by 4x4 jeep and game drives by canoe or boat. Both open a very own beautiful world of nature with plenty of wildlife and especially birds.
There are also self-drive safaris possible, but they are limited to the accessible areas and these do vary during the year, depending on the water level. The best thing to do are fly in safaris. They provide access to all areas and one can move quickly between the camps. For team building photo safaris it is nice to include water activities that request team effort. Water game drives can be done with electrical powered eco-boats or mokoros, the local canoes.
The best time to visit is from June to November with regards to accessibility, but anytime of the year is great in the delta with beautiful light and great wildlife sightings.
The Ngorongoro Crater is a place not to be missed when being on photographic safari in Tanzania. In 1979 the Ngorongoro Crater became a UNESCO World Heritage Site and offers breathtaking views from its rim and a great variety of wildlife living on the crater floor. The photographic safari game drives decent every day 620 meters (2,000 feet) into the crater to cruise the entire day on the crater floor. It would take too much time to go up to the lodge in between, so one stays in there for the day. But this is not difficult. The crater floor covers 260 square kilometers (100 square miles) and lots of wildlife lives there. It is an ideal place for wildlife photography courses and team building photo safaris with the opportunity to have picnic breakfast and lunch during the day game drive.
The best place to stay at the Ngorongoro Crater is in one of the three lodges at the rim. From there the view is just beautiful and completely mesmerizing. These lodges cost a bit more, but it’s worth it. I would recommend staying not longer than for 2 or 3 nights, unless you have a special interest in the area and its wildlife. It is very busy at the Ngorongoro Crater and off road driving is not allowed (because of the many vehicles). That means the animals can be far away and only big zoom lenses will allow good wildlife photography. But it’s definitely worth going there. It’s very impressing.
Dress warm. The elevation of the crater floor is about 1,800 meters (5,900 feet) and the crater rim about 2,400 meters. It can be very chilly and windy. Bring a fleece sweater!