Botswana is a very popular African safari destination and one of the top-rated safari countries. The safari options range from the flood plains of the Okavango to the salt pans of the Makgadikgadi Pan in a country that mostly consists of desert, the Kalahari Desert.
The Kalahari Desert is one option for a great African photographic safari and at the same time a challenge for the photography enthusiast. One can think easily there is nothing to photograph in a desert, but there is, from the stunning landscape to sunsets and sunrise and animals that are well adapted to the desert life. It is absolutely worth planning a Botswana safari itinerary with a few days in the Kalahari.
The Makgadikgadi Pan is one of the largest salt flats in the world and what remains from Lake Makgadikgadi, a lake larger than Switzerland that dried out thousands of years ago. The salt pan is a fascinating safari destination with sleep outs on the pan enjoying the magical starry sky. It is heaven for all who love to watch and photograph stars.
The Okavango Delta is a must see African safari destination. This inland delta with its rich wildlife is for all safari guests a dream and for wildlife photography enthusiasts a heaven. The lush vegetation, the waterborne safari activities, the abundance of wildlife and the sometimes-adventurous game drives are the recipe for a great safari experience.
An evenly fabulous safari destination in Botswana is Savute. This area is further in the northeast of the country, spoiling the guests with a great abundance of wildlife and amazing sightings. It is worth it to have both, the Okacango Delta and Savute as part of the itinerary.
Going further east one comes to Chobe, famous for its huge elephant population and great boat cruises. Especially bird lovers and bird photographers will love the waterborne activities to get close to their favorite animals. Chobe is very close to the Victoria Falls and makes the right stepping stone between the Okavango Delta and the falls for the safari routing.
Although Botswana is mostly desert, it offers such a variety of safari options and fantastic places to see. It is more than worth going there and coming again and again and again. And for photography lovers Botswana provides one of the best lights a photographer can wish for to great fabulous images.
A top-rated safari country has a great variety of safari circuits, offers safaris for all interests and budgets, has beach extensions, provides great wildlife sightings and has something nobody else has.
All that applies for example to Tanzania. It got its popular northern circuit with the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti and off the beaten track safaris in Selous and Ruaha. It has the Great Migration including the calving of the wildebeest and great wildlife viewing in the other parks. It got the best chimp tracking in Africa in Gombe and Mahale Mountains and fabulous beach extensions on Zanzibar. The only negative to say about Tanzania is, that it is not possible to put all that in one safari. One needs to come back and back to see it all, which is not an unpleasant thing to do.
Similar lists can be made for other destinations like Botswana and Kenya. Look out for them and find the African safari tour that includes all highlights you want to see.
Often guests who have never been to Africa ask the questions what animals they will see when visiting this or that national park. And it is very understandable that it is hard to imagine how it goes with the wildlife in Africa. Some might have the idea that lion and elephant are roaming through Johannesburg and others that Kruger National Park is an attraction park like Disney Land. Both are not the reality.
Kruger Park is 2/3 of the size of Belgium with wildlife roaming free. Visiting Kruger means that one has to find the animals first, but there is a good chance to see the Big Five, which are lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino. It got a great diversity of wildlife and safari guests will see a lot from the very small like lizards to the really big like elephant. It is just not possible to tell in advance what you are going to see. It is nature, wild bush and there are no guarantees. Well, maybe one, it will be a great safari, as all wildlife is great and photographers will have fantastic opportunities to come home with great photos.
Be conscious that you are going into a wildlife area and enjoy what the safari has to offer you.
The obvious answer to that question seems to be, the Internet. Just go and search for your perfect African safari and pages over pages of safari offers will roll out over your computer screen.
But that does not really help to find the perfect safari for you, neither for others. The most important step is to find out what makes a safari perfect for you. Sit down and brain storm with yourself. What do I want to see, what do I want to experience, what animals do I want to see and how do I want to travel. Read books, watch documentaries, talk to people, talk to your tour operator and get an idea of the available safari standards with regards to accommodation, game drives and transport. And most of all follow your heart. If all the books are saying you need to go to Kruger at that time of the year and not to the Serengeti, but you feel yourself drawn to the Serengeti, then go, even if it is rainy season. There will be a reason that you need to be there at that time and it might only be revealed when you get there. You might see the most amazing predator encounter and be the only vehicle at the sighting, because everybody else when to Kruger.
Why would you like to break the ice with an elephant and not just run? First of all you are most likely on a safari jeep and don’t need to run. Second of all, it might be necessary to get away quickly even with the vehicle. But usually elephants are nice, as long as you don’t make them angry. And third, if you want to photograph elephants you will need a good relationship with them.
Respect the animals. They feel that and appreciate it. Try to make contact with them to understand what they are communicating. Elephants are very clear in their signals and expect you to respond accordingly. Be aware that elephants have the need for harmony and safety. They get very distressed when they feel uncomfortable or threatened. In some areas they are used to a great amount of human stupidity, but don’t push their patience. Respect their space and needs and they will be wonderful for you and your photography.
A mobile safari is one of the nicest safaris one can do. You feel like back in time when the pioneers were trekking through the unknown country, but with nowadays comfort.
Your safari guide welcomes you at arrival and off you go with your private 4x4 jeep into the bush of the Okavango Delta or any other amazing African safari destination. The great advantage of the private jeep is, that you can stop where you want and for how long you want and take all the time to photograph the wildlife and landscape. There will be food and drinks on the vehicle and in the afternoon you arrive at your campsite. The campsites are private and a team of helping hands has been already busy pitching the tents, preparing the meal and drinks and you only need to arrive and enjoy. It is time to sit at the campfire with a drink and a snack and look back on the day’s photographic adventures.
And the next day is just the same, just as wonderful as day before and full with new safari inspirations and great wildlife photography.
Unfortunately there is a last day and one has to get on the plane back home, but the memories go with you and you feel a bit like Out of Africa.
When you go on safari in Africa you should have a good safari, actually a great safari with lots of wildlife photography fun, fantastic sightings, good food and comfortable accommodation. That might sound like not being cheap, but it can be possible on a budget when you team up with friends.
It is a big difference in price sharing a 4x4 jeep with 2 or 6 people. The jeep and driver/guide cost always the same, but when 6 people share the costs its only little for each of them.
Try to share a room. Pretty much all lodges and camps charge single supplement, which is almost as much as paying for another person. Do not go for the cheapest accommodation, as their food might not be really good. Go for good mid-range and the price will be fine to.
Don’t forget about the park fees. They can make a big portion of the budget. If you want to see the Great Migration, you must go to the Masai Mara and pay USD 80 per person per day park fee, but if you are happy with any other national park you can safe money with the lower park fees.
Go for it, but do not make the group too big. 6 travelers is just right to keep it nice and fun.
When you go on safari in Africa, you probably do not look forward to meet reptiles like snakes and other crawling friends. But they are beautiful animals and can be very interesting subjects for wildlife photography. It is pretty rare to see a snake at all on your safari. They disappear as soon as they feel a vehicle coming. But when you have the opportunity to see for example a python, this is a great sighting.
But there are more, like e.g. crocodiles and when you visit the Great Migration they will most likely play a major role in the Mara River crossing sightings. They are one of the reasons the crossing is so dangerous for the wildebeest, zebras and gazelles. Seeing a crocodile kill might not make them appeal to you more in the sense of lovable animals, but they are actually very beautiful and demanding subjects of wildlife photography. It is not that easy to take an interesting picture of a crocodile or snake. The right angle and light are crucial.
Maybe start with the lizards in your backyard and see how pretty they are and how challenging at photography subjects. But when you get the hang of it, you will see how beautiful the pictures can be.
Developing a bond with your photographic subject is essential for good photography and in wildlife photography that means developing a bond with the wild animals. It does not mean feeding wildlife or calling them or throwing something on them to get their attention. Bonding with wildlife goes through patience, trust and calmness.
Imagine being on a photographic safari in Kruger Park in South Africa. The game drive is in an open 4x4 jeep and lets say you are lucky and the only person on the vehicle. Your tracker and ranger find a leopard, lying in high grass under a tree. First of all this is great and you take a couple of pictures. The leopard is not doing anything, just lying there and the visibility is not too great and you think lets go, it is anyway not so good and he is doing nothing. That would be the wrong thing to do. Get yourself a spot in the shade with your vehicle and wait. Snap around a bit, try different settings and relax. Take in the silence, the smell of the grass and keep an eye on the leopard. The more you relax and tune into the environment the more the leopard will feel comfortable with you around him. You will end up feeling when he stands up before you see it. This is essential, because you won’t hear a leopard standing up, you won’t hear anything when a cat moves, not even a leave cracking. The leopard is now doing his thing and your patience will be rewarded with great wildlife photography and maybe even spectacular wildlife interaction. Enjoy the bonding and the great images it will give to you.
Maybe they are not that much unspoken, but more unknown to many who go on photographic safari for the first time.
First of all, listen to what your guide is saying. In open safari vehicles do not stand up at sightings. Do not leave the game drive vehicle at sightings (this might sound silly, but people get sometimes carried away and do it, just for the better photo).
Do not run in the bush. You might turn into prey by doing that. Be conscious where you are and expect at all times animals of all kinds crossing your way. Don’t give them a fright. An elephant could react very badly.
Do not sit with your back towards the bush. When we do that, we seem to look very similar to primates and attractive to leopards.
Do not wear flashy colors. Wildlife responds to that and do not forget the very small wildlife, the insects. Their attention is not what you want.
Do not walk at night without a guard. Cats see better than you or you might run into a buffalo.
In essence, listen to what you get told at arrival at the lodge and you will have a great safari.
Maybe you think there is no wildlife where I live, but it is just a question of the definition of wildlife. Of course not everywhere are the Big 5, but wildlife photography can be part of every week’s photography fun.
Spot the birds around you. Also sparrows are birds and they are cute to. Photograph birds and train your patience-speed balance.
Domestic cats are pretty much the same as leopards. Try to get a top shot of a cat every week.
Practice, that dogs look happily in the lens and not away from you. Not pushing them and giving them the space is the secret.
Wildlife photography takes us home to nature, lets us feel the outdoors and capture its beauty. There is probably no other photography that is in the same way exciting and calming as wildlife photography. Photographing the Big 5 on safari is very exciting, impressing and stimulating and at the same time sitting with a leopard for a morning is very calming and makes us connect with nature again in a quiet way.
It is never boring. A day in the bush is never the same. The animals have always surprises for the observer and photographer. They make us see and grow in photography with every minute we spent with them and they rarely do what we think we want them to do, which is very refreshing too.
Get your dose wildlife photography every day. Wildlife is everywhere, in your garden, in the park and even in the city. Just start seeing them and capture their magic.
It is sometimes not easy to get through the thick bush of safari offers and available lodges. But there is a way to filter out the good ones and to make a difference with your photographic safari choice.
There are a number of bush lodges and camps that can call themselves eco lodges. They use solar power, re-use water, keep the use of plastic low and more ecological conscious actions to make the impact on nature as small as possible.
There are also a number of lodges and camps that work closely with the local communities, provide medical care and education for the community and their staff.
A third criterion is the conservation policy of a lodge or camp. How do they manage the land and how do they protect the wildlife.
The best lodges and camps do all three and if you would like to make a difference while having a great time with your wildlife photography and game drives, you should choose one of them. Ask for them when you are planning your safari and you will know, that you did a good thing.
Happy difference making while having photography fun!
Photographic safaris seem pretty expensive on first sight, especially when one hasn’t been on safari yet. They are completely different from other holidays and there are good reasons to be careful in choosing the right photo safari adventure.
Besides the utterly remote location of the lodges and camps with the logistic challenges of operating them, a main factor that influences the quality and with it the price of the trip are the game drives. It makes a big difference if the game drives are operated with 4x4 vehicles or with mini vans. Mini vans get in difficulties when it starts raining and in sand. There are many areas they cannot go or only with big risk. 4x4 vehicles instead can easily go off road and that means they can for example follow a leopard through the bush, where a mini van has to drive around and most likely lose sight of the leopard. A 4x4 vehicle is safer and it offers the better conditions for wildlife photography. Ideal is an open jeep where the photographer can easily move around and photograph on all sides.
But there is more that influences the quality of game drives. Some lodges and camps put up to 10 guests on a vehicle, which gives no space for photography and even without photography, this is very disturbing for the safari experience.
Another important criteria is the driver/guide. Only a qualified professional driver/guide will be able to find the animals and to take you to the best places. Private game reserves in South Africa have even trackers. They sit right in front of the vehicle on an extra seat to look for tracks. They work closely with the rangers (driver/guide) to provide outstanding game drives with fantastic photographic opportunities.
Game drives make or break your safari. Choose them carefully. Their quality matters for all wildlife photographers and safari guests.
Yes, think of it as crafting, as being on photo safari is a creative process itself. Probably approach it like creating a sculpture, free the sculpture that is hidden in the stone by removing the stone around it.
With this mind set start from the sculpture, the core of your photographic safari. What photography do you want to do? Landscape, desert, savanna, big herds, big cats, Big 5, with water like in the Okavango Delta or the bush in South Africa? Listen to your heart when making the choice and then go further.
Whatever your budget is, investigate for the best game drive quality. This will be essential for your wildlife photography. When this is established, look at the options and choose the one that looks extremely comfortable, just the way you would like to spend the time between game drives and intense photographing to rest and relax.
Now you got your sculpture, your personalized safari, your photo adventure in Africa, where you are going to take pictures you always wanted to take and you will come home with an amazing photo treasure.
The name Big 5 comes from the hunt and includes rhino, buffalo, elephant, leopard and lion. They are the most dangerous animals to hunt on foot and the animals everyone wants to see on photographic safaris.
Not everybody has the time to go on safari for several days or even weeks, so the choice of the safari destination is crucial to see the Big 5 also during a short stay in the bush. Excellent destinations are the Masai Mara in Kenya, the Okavango Delta in Botswana and the Sabi Sand (Kruger National Park) in South Africa. In these areas it can even be possible to see them within one day, which is still lucky, but possible.
The animals are still wild and do their own thing, but because of the wildlife density and that they are used to the vehicles makes it easier to spot them.
Keep that in mind when you plan a wildlife photography safari, a holiday or an incentive and you have limited time. Especially the cats are what you really want to see as a photographer. They are just stunning.
Being on safari is already great, but there is one part of it that creates a really special experience, the sundowner.
Imagine being out in the bush on game drives all day, exposed to nature, sun and amazing animals. You are full of what you saw, tired from doing your wildlife photography for the entire day, exhausted from the impressions and the sun and then comes the magical moment that gives you back your energy and forms the perfect closure of the day. The vehicle stops at a spot with a great view, the sun is settling and you get out of the vehicle, stretch your legs, feel the ground and refresh yourself with a cool drink (not necessarily an alcoholic one). All tiredness is falling off and only the great moments stay and you enjoy them again while watching the sun going down on the horizon.
Maybe the sundowner is the most perfect incentive of all.
The Okavango Delta in Botswana is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa. It is an inland delta, formed by the Okavango River in the Kalahari. Every year approximately 11 cubic kilometers of water are spreading over the 6,000-15,000 square kilometers of the Delta. The water is coming from the highlands in Angola. The floods arrive by the end of March/beginning of April and reach their peak between June and August. Most of the water is consumed through transpiration by plants and evaporation. Towards November the Okavango Delta goes back to its permanent shape, while during the flood it inundates the so-called flood plains.
For the Okavango safari planning one should keep in mind the rhythm of the floods, because they influence the activities on game drives. During the floods some areas are not accessible by car and on the other hand during the dry season in some areas are no water activities possible.
The Okavango Delta is fantastic for birding and also all other game viewing, yet especially wildlife photography courses will often focus on birds and use special boats to get close and photograph them.
Team building incentives often use the water activities to create a special experience and include for example fishing. Yet the water activities are something special for every safari, exploring the delta in the traditional Mokoro (canoe) or on a motorboat is just magical. One gets very close to the animals and the colors are a photographers dream.
Just ask yourself what you would like to experience and then inform about the best time and the best place in the delta to make sure you get what you are looking for.
The Great Migration of the wildebeest, and also zebra and gazelle, is well known as happening in the Masai Mara in Kenya. The spectacle of huge herds crossing the Mara River with crocodiles waiting for them is a wildlife photographer’s dream.
It is often thought that only this is the migration, but it is only one part, yet the most famous one, because of the river crossing. Keep a broader mind when planning a safari in Kenya and Tanzania. The big herds are trekking around in the Masai Mara and Serengeti the whole year. The calving season is from January to March in the Southern Serengeti. About 500,000 wildebeest are born within 2-3 weeks time. When the rains end in May they move on northwest to the Grumeti River where they remain until late June. In July they start heading north and arrive towards the end of July in the Masai Mara. By November they are all on the move again down south into the Serengeti.
Every part of the migration is very impressive and an unforgettable experience being among millions of wildebeest, zebra and other plains game. Keep in mind the two probably most moving events, the calving and the Mara River crossing; yet enjoy also just being with the big herds on the Great Plains. For team building incentives make a carful choice depending on what you want to achieve with the safari. It will definitely be adventure, amazing wildlife and most likely deep impressions to take home as wonderful memories.
Enjoy nature and keep snapping!
Ute Sonnenberg for www.rohoyachui.com Image: andbeyond
It can be very tempting to wear flip-flops or sandals on safari, because its war or even hot, but this is not a good idea. When you are on game drives or bush walks always wear closed shoes. You can cut yourself of sharp grass or step into an insect that bites. When you are in the lodge and you walk on walkways open shoes are just fine, at least when its warm.
Check before you go how the weather will be and have for closed shoes a pair of sneakers or walking shoes with you and for in the lodge something easy and comfortable.
This question usually arises while packing the bags and struggling with the luggage allowances. The answer is it depends, but in general it is not necessary. A monopod or beanbag are more practical and lighter for transport.
What zoom lens should I bring?
When shooting with a full frame camera at least a 400mm zoom lens is recommended. For DX format a 300mm lens is good. It will be multiplied with 1.5 and give even a slightly bigger zoom.
Do I need a wide-angle lens?
The zoom lens is more important, but it is great to have a wide-angle lens when photographing landscapes like in Namibia and on the Great Plains in Kenya and Tanzania. It depends very much on the destination.
Do I need a flash?
In general no. The flash usually does not travel far enough to have any affect, because the animal is too far away. It is also not nice for the animals to get flashed. And at night the rangers work with spotlights to shine on the animals (only animals that get not a blinding effect from the light).
Is a camera bag better than a backpack?
For transport a backpack is more practical, but on the game vehicle a camera bag is more convenient. It stands better in the vehicle and allows a more practical access to the equipment.
Planning a holiday is usually very simple. You go to the internet and search for the places you want to visit and a whole list of hotels, flights and rental cars will roll out. You check the accommodations online and book what you like. The flight is also easily booked and it is all done. You can find plenty of matching options for your budget.
Booking safaris is a bit different. Yes, you can have a budget and find matching safari packages, but not just like having a budget for hotel accommodation in Barcelona. For example you want to visit the Great Migration in the Masai Mara and the budget should be USD 150 per day. This is pretty much impossible. The park fee for the Masai Mara is already USD 80 per person per day, then the accommodation, food and beverages (you cannot just go to a supermarket in the bush) and transportation to the Mara and for the game drives. It is not working.
Do not plan a safari like a city trip or usual camping trip. A safari budget needs to include all expenses up front, before you go there. When you plan a city trip you look at a budget for the flight and hotel. Then you go there and you start spending money. When you go on safari everything is already paid. You have no more expenses while being on safari and there are also not shopping malls. The only thing can be beverages, but that is a choice you also make in advance.
The budget to plan with seems to be higher at first sight, but it is what it actually will cost you. With other trips it is usually not the end of spending when the hotel and flight are booked.
Have you heard about “Departure Roulette” from Heineken? They have a stand at an airport, asking people to press a red button and a departure board starts running. The destination it stops on is the one the people are going to, right away, that’s the commitment they have to make before pressing the button. See how it works in this video.
What would you do? Would you go? Lets do a little destination roulette right here. The destinations on the board are:
For those who have never been on a photographic safari, wildlife photography course or team building photo safari or any safari at all, the language spoken by rangers and trackers during game drives can be a challenge. It starts with the specific terms for all what the animals are doing or the animal names themselves. For example a group of giraffes is called a journey of giraffes and a group of rhinos a crush of rhinos. Would you have known that?
Or what about the language the rangers are speaking with each other. The animal is not walking or running; the animal is mobile. And they don’t hear an animal; they have an audio of an animal. And of course they have a visual instead of seeing an animal.
But don’t worry, it is very educative and easy learning on a safari and soon you will be able to wield these terms yourself to the astonishment of your friends and families. Fortunately there are field guides to practice the right names and other specific terms and probably you will surprise your ranger with your knowledge.
But there is no language needed to enjoy the beauty of nature and the wonderful wildlife.
Do you have a cat at home? If yes, you will know how they can sit statue like and look at you, but actually look straight through you. Big cats in the bush do exactly the same, but mostly we think they really look at us, when they don’t.
But how do you know that they are really looking at you or your camera? You feel it. When a big cat like a lion or leopard is looking at you, a strong energy comes to you, feeling pretty intimidating and goes through and through. At that moment you might feel you want to run away, what you don’t do, because you would behave like prey. And you feel it also when looking through the viewfinder. When your eye and the eye of the cat really meet, the shutter releases almost by itself from the energy of that connecting moment.
Ever tried with your cat at home? Try and feel the difference.
Driving in Africa is different and even in South Africa with very good roads, driving means dealing with animals on the road, people walking on the road (also on free ways), no street lights, potholes and more challenging situations. One always needs to be alert and anticipating, which can be hard to do when just getting off an intercontinental flight. Driving then long distances can be dangerous, not to mention the often misunderstanding how long a drive would be. A distance of 200 km can be a long drive, longer than for example in Western Europe (without traffic jam).
To avoid complications and to have a nice trip, ask people who know the area and the road conditions before you make decisions. Rather choose a small aircraft flight or an organized transfer to make sure you have a great trip.
Keep it easy and safe your energy for the photography.
The Great Migration is one of the most spectacular nature events and prime time for photographic safaris, wildlife photography courses and team building photographic safaris. It is the time when the big herds of wildebeest, zebra and gazelle move in from the Serengeti on their search for food. On their way they have to cross the Mara River, with strong currents and crocodiles waiting. It is an amazing experience to witness these river crossings where drama unfolds, families stand together, panic arises and also happy herds enjoy feeding on the green grass of the Masai Mara, once they have made it.
This years Great Migration has just started. The first big herds of wildebeest have crossed the river. The spectacle is on.
If you ever consider doing a safari, this should be on top of your list.
If you want to see the Great Migration in the Masai Mara you need to go between the middle of July and the beginning of September. For the rest the Masai Mara offers throughout the year great wildlife sightings, only the vegetation will look different when going just after the rainy periods or just before. It will either be nice green or pretty dry, but both are very interesting for photography.
If you want to go to the Okavango Delta and to do water activities, you need to go during the time that there is enough water to do so. But also here the Okavango Delta is beautiful throughout the year.
If you think about going to South Africa you should know that the sightings in winter are often easier, because the grass is low and the animals gather around waterholes. In summer the bush is nice green and it is warm. It all depends on what is important for you and when you have the time to go.
In other words, always talk to the people you are booking your trip with to find out what the best would be for your interests and you will have a great photographic safari.
However, the bush is always amazing. You can let the bush surprise you with the beauty it offers at the time of your visit and you will go home with incredible photpographs.
It is very popular to choose exotic locations for weddings and a great whole in one is to get married during a photographic safari to South Africa or Kenya while having the honeymoon in the same package. One could even call it the team building photographic safari event for the family of a lifetime, everyone would remember forever. Or it could be at the same time the family present to the newly wed when making it a wildlife photography course as well.
It has many advantages to choose the bush for a wedding, if it wouldn’t be so far away for many people, yet it is worth considering it, especially when one loves photography. There is probably no better background for a wedding photo like the Great Plains or the Ngorongoro Crater or even a herd of elephants and no more romantic sundown shot than the newly wed couple on a 4x4 jeep looking out over a river with hippos popping up. Well, the opportunities are endless and every guest can be the photographer and most likely will be the photographer of the event, gathering memories of a lifetime, making the event very special one.
Don’t think now a wallpaper with hippos will do the job. The excitement of the real thing will be missing. The photo will tell.
Be inspired to create special moments to capture and keep forever.
Physically one is not doing walking, running or climbing to really say being physically active. Yet a game drive vehicle drives on dirt roads and off road, shaking the people on it quite a bit. But this is not all. The vehicles are open and the people on them are exposed to the elements. On top of it come the intense impressions one get from watching wildlife and nature and in the evening one has really done a lot by only sitting on a car.
Recently a lady guest from a wildlife photography course called to tell that she was with a group of friends in Uzbekistan and while they were having dinner no one spoke about the day they had in Tashkent, but only about the Namibia trip they did years before. She wanted to share how incredible it was that they all dreamed back to this safari, although they were on a lovely trip in an exciting country. The lady was very clear, there is nothing better than safaris and she will start making her whatever how many photo book just now with the images from her last safari.
Do you have a collection of empty branches in your photo file? Your are not alone.
On a regular basis the level of frustration during photographic safaris, wildlife photography courses and team building photographic safaris rises with the ambition to photograph birds. One moment they look at you and the next moment they are gone and you didn’t even had time to raise your camera. Well, there are the rare cases of birds that reconsider and just drop back onto the branch, but this is really rare. You just got be fast and you can only accomplish that by anticipating.
We are never as fast as birds, but we can learn what in their behavior shows what they will do next. Then you just press the shutter before the take off and you will capture their take off.
The most common picture of mating lion is a shot that shows exactly what’s happening. And when we come home we can’t wait to post it to the social media and to show it to everybody who wants or doesn’t want to see it. It is just one of these pictures you can say, look I was there. But you will most likely not get the idea to print it on canvas and hang it over the sofa. Its not that kind of picture. But it can be.
The photos are the most fascinating when they don’t show the act itself. For example photograph their faces, the way they look at each other, the expression they show before, while and after. These are images with strong expression and suitable for decoration in your home or as a present. They capture the moment by not showing it.
So, in general keep it mysterious and that way more interesting. Capture the essence!
It is generally said that wildlife photography is the kind of photography where the most patience is needed. And it is definitely true that patience is essential for wildlife photography. It is always the most challenging task for the guests on photographic safaris, team building photographic safaris and wildlife photography courses. We are so used that everything goes fast. Since we use computers our time feeling has completely changed and waiting more than 2 seconds for a website to open is already too long. But wild animals are not interested in that. They don’t care that you have only one week to see the Big 5 and a Great Migration Mara River crossing and they definitely don’t care that you think you paid for it to see it. They got their own time. And it is wonderful when one can surrender to their pace, letting the rush behind and enjoying what nature has to offer. It is also only then that we see the greatest sightings and end up with fabulous photographs.
But it is not only in the bush like that. When we give ourselves the time to tune in where we are and what we want to photograph, the results are so much better and the joy too.
There is a standard rule in the bush that you don’t get in the path of an animal. If you have a pet, you will know how it looks like when you cat is on her path to somewhere, only she knows where and how she reacts when you get in her path. This is exactly the same in the bush. As long as you are in a vehicle and you get in the path of a small animal it’s only bad for the animal and you should not do that. We are guests in their environment and should respect them. But if you are in the path of for example an elephant, the elephant will show you exactly what he thinks about that and you will hold your breath when that happens.
Long story short, just keep in mind to stay out of their path. That will not only show respect for the animals it will also result in great sightings, when the animals are showing their natural behavior, interact with each other and you might even witness a kill.
Bush lodges in South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia and Botswana are terrific locations to celebrate your wedding. Tables are set out under the trees, decks open views onto Great Plains and animals pass by while you say yes. And of course you need somebody to capture that moment and that would be the wedding photographer.
There are local photographers available to do that, but you can also bring your own favorite wedding photographer with you. You should only make sure he/she understands the bush and its light that the images turn out as you want them.
The Sabi Sand is a wildlife area bordering Kruger National Park in South Africa. It is named after it’s two rivers the Sabi and the Sand River. This area is the gem of the safari areas in South Africa, actually it is the best area to visit when going on photographic safari, team building photographic safari and wildlife photography course in South Africa. And for those who would love to see leopard it is anyway a must. It is almost guaranteed to see leopard there.
The main reason this area is so great for wildlife sightings is the fact that it consists entirely of private game reserves. No public road, no self-drive safaris and strict rules make the difference. For example at a cat sighting only three vehicles are allowed and if there are cubs involved even only two or one, depending on the age of the cubs.
Accommodation wise there is a variety of lodges available, from budget to luxury. But there is a but. When planning a safari to this area ask how many guests will be on the game vehicle. It differs per lodge and you should choose a lodge with a maximum of 6 guests on the vehicle. Anything more is very irritating and frustrating, especially when doing photography.
If you plan to go on safari in South Africa, you should definitely go there, it’s the best you can get.
I don’t think the bush will be one of the places where Google glasses will be banned, but what can they add to your safari experience? Imagine you are on a photographic safari, wildlife photography course or team building photographic safari with your entire camera equipment and Goggle glasses. Or will you leave your camera equipment at home? Better not, because the glasses need Internet to really serve the purpose of sharing what you see. And how are you photographing with your DSLR when wearing the glasses? Will you get confused by what the glasses are constantly telling you or will they be a useful tool?
I don’t know. Maybe one day we will watch real time wildlife documentaries from people on a game drive in the Masai Mara, broadcasting real time through their YouTube channel. I don’t know how we will cope with this ever-increasing stream of date and what about the quality?
Well, lets see what the future brings, but I will definitely stick to my camera, just for the love of photography.
When you eventually get to your photographic safari destination and you are driving on a tar road and a touring bus is coming towards you, you know that there is something wrong. Your are not at the right place, this is not the safari feeling you came for.
I other words, be careful where you are going, inquire carefully about the national parks you are visiting and what you can expect to see. Only the private game reserves can provide the undisturbed safari experience, but also parks like the Masai Mara are great. Often national parks close to big cities are used for excursions for schools or big groups of tourists. Keep that in mind when you plan your trip.
Enjoy the wildlife and have fun with your photography.
Join a reflection on a day on a photographic safari in the Masai Mara in Kenya from the early morning with the warm colors of the sunrise to the lunch picnic in the bush and the dinner in the camp. It is just an ordinary day, yet a wonderful day.
We were doing a wildlife photography course in the Masai Mara and we had spotted a pride of lion moving towards a herd of impala. One lioness was leading the group, the impala constantly in her focus. It could have been a wonderful sighting, but we were not the only vehicles that had spotted them and not all behaved well. Unfortunately meanwhile about 8 vehicles had arrived, all following the lion in their attempt to hunt, with in the vehicles people hunting for photographs. Most of the vehicles kept a good distance to the lion to give them space and not to disturb, but one vehicle spoilt the whole thing. The driver of the vehicle followed the leading lioness and always drove in front of her, so that she had to look in the camera of his guest. But she was only looking in his camera when the vehicle was standing in front of her and that meant that she had to stop walking, the vehicle was standing in her path. The lioness had to stop and think what to do next to get to continue her hunt and she changed twice her direction to approach the impala and twice the vehicle drove again in front of her. When it happened for the third time she gave up, walked to a shady bush and settled there with the rest of the pride for the day. There was not chance for her to continue the hunt and the one person had spoilt it for the lion and the other photographers.
Unfortunately there is no way of getting out of the vehicle and tell the other to stop doing it, there are lion around, and that can be very frustrating, but fortunately this does not happen often.
Be conscious where you are and how the animals behave in order to let them do their thing. Otherwise you will not get the photographic opportunities and great sightings you are coming for.
Keep enjoying photographic safaris and mind the animals.
You made the choice of a team building photographic safari and the entire team is looking forward to it in excitement of being out on a fantastic safari destination with great wildlife sightings. To make sure your experience becomes what you wish it to be, talk to the presenter of the team building about your expectations. What is the purpose of the team building? Do you want to have a fun event with wildlife photography course or are there specific things you want to achieve with the team building or is the purpose a relaxed safari to recharge and recalibrate or is it a bit of all? Reflecting about that in advance will make your team building an even greater success than just going and seeing what happens. Your assigned presenter will help you with that to make sure you get the most benefit out of the event.
Besides that, also talk about practical things like expected weather, what to wear and what to bring and your team building will be only fantastic.