Preparing for Your Safari
Choosing a Safari and When to Travel
Which is the Best Season to Travel to South Africa on Safari?
Since we host safaris in both April/May and September/October we get asked frequently which is the best choice for a photo and wildlife safari . The short answer is that they are both great times to visit South Africa. Given this, there are differences. Weather, Animal Behaviour, Changes in Landscape, and Travel are discussed.
What is the best Country for a Photo Safari?
When you decide on a safari, which country is an important decision. South Africa offers unequaled wildlife in quality parks and reserves with a great range of accommodations to choose from. Here are 5 reasons to choose South Africa.
Is a Photo Safari Right for Me?
You don't have to be a serious photographer to enjoy a photo safari: if you love to watch wildlife and be active on yoru travels, you should consider this option for safari. Advantages and disadvantages are discussed.
Packing for Your Safari
Safari Clothing: Dress for Success
Over the years I have assembled a wardrobe of trusted and proven clothing favorites that go with me on every safari and many of my other trips. These shirts, pants, and shorts are comfortable to walk and ride in and stand up to the thorns and hand washing. Some of the pieces were not cheap, but they last forever. Here I would like to present themes for you to keep in mind when assembling your safari and travel wardrobe.
Currency and Tips
You will need a moderate amount of South African Rand while on your safari. You may want to use cash instead of a credit card when buying souvenirs. Cash is also best for tips as most places are remote and without credit card machines.
Communication While on Safari
South Africa has a proliferation of cell phones, but the best coverage will be in the towns and cities. Some lodges offer internet at a cost and at others you must rely on your phoen signal.
It is very important to insure your investment in a safari. Unfortunately bad things happen which prevent guests from traveling on trips they have been planning for years.
Photography Equipment on Safari - What to Bring
Include Binoculars in Your Safari Bag
Even with a full bag of long lenses and other camera equipment, binoculars are still a great thing to have with you on safari. I use my binoculars for finding animals as they are easier to maneuver than my rig and they are great for spotting birds and animals hidden in the grass. Often my camera is clamped down so the freedom of movement of the binoculars is just what I need.
My Favorite Lens for Safari
While on safari I like to keep my equipment streamlined and light. Over many years photographing in South Africa, my Canon 70 - 200mm f2.8 has taken the bulk of my wildlife images.
Monopod: The Right Camera Support for Safari
Choosing a support for your camera equipment to use while on safari is important especially if you are bringing large lenses of 300mm - 600mm. Over the years I have learned to keep my photography equipment light and versatile. For many years I used an aluminum monopod and a homemade mount. It had seen too many safaris - I replaced it with a new monopod system.
Camera Support Systems
Our safari guests often ask me for a recommendation on how to support long lens in safari vehicles. Over the years I have tested many methods, some worked and other didn’t. A few basic support items in my travel bag can be used singly or in combination to support my camera while allowing for necessary tracking.
Using UV Filter as Lens Protection
To use or not use a filter as protection on a lens is a polarizing issue (pun intended): many are dead against it and many see logic in using them. When I am in Africa I use a UV filter on my 70 - 200 mm lens. I was taught to do so by my mentors back in the dark(room) ages and I continue to do so because it saved my much loved workhorse lens.
Better Beamer Flash Extender
This simple product gives your strobe the ability to reach out to your subjects when using a long lens. If the subject is at a distance which requires a telephoto lens, the light from a small strobe could be pretty diffuse by the time it gets there having little or no fill flash effect, but the Better Beamer's light concentrating ability helps with the distance problem.