When is an African Photo safari more than just a safari? When it’s an African Wildlife Photography Tour, that’s when. Not only will you get the opportunity to see some of the most incredible wildlife imaginable, but it will be from the comfort of a safari vehicle specifically designed with photographers and their equipment in mind.
If you’re used to solely using your camera for holiday snaps and pictures for the family album and think you might not have enough experience to capture amazing images, worry not. Each African wildlife photography tour has a professional photographer on board to help with equipment, composition, and any other query you might have. If you’re an experienced photographer, you will still be able to pick up some tips as your expert uses their extended knowledge to get you into exactly the right places at the right times of the day.
What to expect from an African Wildlife Photography Tour
With many companies, a tour is very time-specific. “We will be a point A for 20 minutes
before moving on to point B for a further 10 minutes….” Wildlife doesn’t work like that and doesn’t adhere to an itinerary!
The best tours are guided, but not rigid. If there’s somewhere you’d like to go, mention it to the guide, and they will try to accommodate you. If you want to stay longer in a particular setting, you only have to say, the day is long, and we wouldn’t want you to miss a thing.
What Are the Basic Requirements for Photographing Wildlife on a Photo Safari
It is important to be aware of what you are photographing before taking your camera outside.
In order to capture great safari pictures of wildlife in their natural habitat, it is important to have the right equipment. A good camera is essential, as is a telephoto lens for getting close-ups of animals. It is also important to be familiar with the wildlife you are trying to photograph, as well as the local laws and regulations governing photography in national parks and other protected areas.
It is important to use the right lens. This will help you capture the beauty of Africa’s wildlife. you’ll want to protect yourself and your gear from the elements. This means dressing in layers and bringing a rain jacket, sunscreen, hats, and insect repellent. Additionally, make sure your camera is weather-sealed and that you have plenty of memory cards and batteries.
You must be intimate with the camera, knowledge of where are all the dials, and what they do is a must before heading out on your first African Photo Safari. You must use the right camera settings. This includes using a fast shutter speed to capture movement and a large aperture to blur the background. You should also use a telephoto lens to zoom in on your subject and get close without disturbing them.
It’s not all about the wildlife
Alright, it’s mostly about the wildlife, but there is so much more to be amazed by in Africa.
You will have the unique opportunity to take panoramic shots of deserts and dunes, stunning coastlines with clear blue skies, and the most incredible sunrises and sunsets imaginable.
There will be an opportunity to meet with and, with their permission, photograph the fascinating bush people and the locals in their colourful settings.
Each tour brings a whole new list of possibilities. You could shoot the sparse salt pans of Deadvlei, red dunes of Sossusvlei, the busy watering holes of Etosha, or the mountainous ranges of Spitzkoppe.
No two tours are the same, in fact, no two hours are the same, with the ever-changing ecology as the seasons cycle.
Each day your experts will guide you to the most superb settings and help you to achieve photographs that National Geographic would be proud to share.
Africa is teeming with awesome wildlife, most of which you will hopefully see, up close and personal.
Expect your pro’ photographer to be a never-ending source of information. They truly are experts who, over several years of practice, have developed an innate sense of which
animals like to visit particular parts of the park at certain times of the day.
Trust in their judgment and it won’t be long before you’re spotting elephants, zebra, giraffes, cheetahs, rhinos, and lions.
Your photographer knows how to garner the best shot, what angle flatters the creature best, the composition of a group or solitary animal, the best lighting.
Pick the time of your safari wisely, differing seasons affect what you might expect to see as food, vegetation, and water either become more sparse or more plentiful.
How to Photograph Animals in the Wild While on Tour
When photographing animals in the wild, it is important to always remember that the welfare of the animal should come first. This means being patient and waiting for the right shot, by not disturbing or harassing the animal, and respecting their natural behavior.
It is important to maintain a safe distance and to observe them quietly. This will allow you to take photos that capture their natural beauty without disturbing them or putting yourself in danger.
I always prefer to photographing animals in their natural habitat, it is important to remember that they are wild creatures and as such, are unpredictable. Do not rush your shots; take the time to observe the animal’s behavior and wait for the perfect opportunity to capture a great image.
Tips for Photographing Wildlife While on a Photo Safari
- Choose a Fast Shutter Speed.
- Put Your Camera in Aperture or Shutter Priority Mode.
- Choose Auto ISO.
- Use a Long Lens.
- Use a Wide Angle Lens
- Use Auto-focus.
- Use a Sturdy Tripod or Monopod.
- Be Patient and Prepared
- Compose a Good Photo
- Know your Subject
- Put yourself in the Right Spot and time of day
The Safari Vehicle
Spacious Jeeps are vital on an African wildlife photography tour. Most groups consist of no more than 8 people and there is plenty of room for them and their equipment.
Getting the best shots, whether it be of the landscape or the wildlife, often entails moving around quickly. The best vehicles allow for this, along with plenty of legroom to stretch out and relax as you travel from 1 site to the next.
You will soon find that those that began a tour as strangers, usually finish as friends. Swapping tips and photography advice over a beer or 3 back at camp is the perfect way to end off a successful safari.
Popular Destinations for Photography Safaris
The popular destinations for photography safaris are:
- Kruger National Park,
- Masai Mara National Reserve
- Erindi Private Game Reserve
- Sabi Sand Game Reserve
- MalaMala Game Reserve
- Okavango Delta.
Best National Parks in Africa for photographic safari
- Chobe National Park, Botswana
- Kruger National Park South Africa
- Serengeti National Park
- Bwindi National Park, Uganda
- Etosha National Park, Namibia
- Namib-Naukluft National Park, Namibia
- Hwnage National Park, Zimbabwe
- Ngorongoro National Park, Tanzania
- South Luangwa national Park, Zambia
- Okavango Delta Botswana
- Lake Nakuru National Park, Kenya
An African wildlife photography tour is possibly the best way to see the multiple delights of Africa. A dedicated photographer and guide will explain all the landscapes, wildlife, and habitats, and help you to capture incredible photographs that you can treasure for a lifetime.
Just don’t hate them when you get your early morning call as the sun is about to rise; they know that this is easily the best time to catch Africa as it wakes and provide the tourist with the most amazing picture opportunities.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best F-Stop for Wildlife Photography?
The best f-stop for wildlife photography depends on the type of camera being used. For DSLRs and mirror-less, a lower f-stop like 8 or 11 is recommended to get less depth of field. However there are always exceptions to the rules. IE if you doing a close-up an F2.8-F4.6 will separate your subject and the background.
Which Camera Mode is Best for Wildlife Photography
Often Pro wildlife photographers prefer to shoot in manual mode with the ISO set to Auto. This entails slowing down your shutter speed and, in most situations, using the largest aperture on your lens to capture as much light as possible. The camera will then adjust the ISO based on how the light changes.
How Can I Get Tack Sharp Wildlife Photos
- choose the best shutter speed for the situation
- correctly choose the best aperture setting
- Use Auto ISO
- With a telephoto lens if possible use IS or a good tripod