Equipment, equipment, and more equipment. That’s the name of the game when you go on an African Photo Safari.
But, what do you take?
Perhaps I can give you some insight as to what “equipment” I have found to be useful to bring along. All learned from my last ten trips to one of the most awesome places on earth for getting wildlife shots.
Certainly, everyone will have their own preference….but this is a start.
First, I always hand carry my camera equipment on board as a carry on and I store it in the overhead compartments. On some airlines it is sometimes a tight squeeze. I start with a well built and sturdy case. I use one from,”Think Tank.” In tough conditions, it has performed flawlessly. It is a sturdy bag that handles well, from the airport corridor to the back of a Land Cruiser.
Camera bodies are of a personal choice, but for lenses, I usually take the following. I like a 24-105 for somewhat close-up cultural shots. Then I use a 70-200 2.8 for shots where I really want to get detail. Like a shot of an elephants eye where the elephant is standing 20 yards away and I want to get details of the elephants eyelashes. And yes, you will routinely have big animals like that, frequently, that close. Of course, the guide and driver of your vehicle is intensely watching the behavior of the animal in case a quick exit has to be made, allowing the photographer to give full attention to taking wildly good images. I also use a 100-400, but for reach, I rely on a fixed 500mm. Best of all, all of this package fits neatly in my travel camera bag.
I virtually never handhold and I rely on a “Really Right Stuff” tripod for a wonderfully solid base and I often use a “blubb” bean bag for the window of the Land Cruiser. I simply take an empty bag over and I ask the outfitter to buy 16 pounds of beans ahead of time and then fill the bag with the beans when I get there.
Again, everyone will have their own preferences with equipment, but so far, this list works, although, part of the fun of all of this is constantly experimenting with new and interesting pieces of equipment.
I have the pleasure of organizing amazing Photo Safaris through KOLOBE SAFARIS in South Africa. If you have ever had an interest in learning more about the possibility of going on your own African Photo Safari adventure, I would be happy to answer any questions or give you additional insight. A trip like this will make a lifetime memory and the images that you take will be cherished forever.