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A Photography Safari in SA

Africa's best authentic tailor-made safaris

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A Photography Safari in SA

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By Andre Van Kets

Co-founder, Discover Africa

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Photographic tour in Sabi Sands National Park Certain camps and lodges offer guests professional photographic equipment for hire | Credit: Sabi Sands, Kruger National Park

South Africa is a highly photogenic country, especially in the summer months (November-April) when the air is least hazy, and landscapes are at their greenest.

The coastline and mountains all make great subjects. Still, the country’s most popular venues for photography are its game reserves, with their magnificent array of wildlife, which tends to be better for photographing during a winter safari.

For dedicated photographers, it’s worth weighing off the pros and cons of a guided safari in a private reserve such as Sabi Sand or a self-drive trip in a public reserve such as Kruger.

wildlife photography in south africa lioness Close-up of a lioness

Private reserves are generally much more costly to visit, and guides tend to focus strongly on the Big Five rather than less glamorous but equally photogenic subjects such as birds and antelope.

In addition, people with long lenses may find the seating arrangements in the open 4x4s rather cramped unless they arrange private game drive safaris in advance.

On the other hand, most private reserves offer far superior sightings of lions, leopards, and other photogenic predators that you can hope for in public reserves.

Also, the ability to drive off-road means you can stick with the subject for longer and usually get far closer to it and line up better.

A photography safari in South Africa_Kommetjie beach Stunning landscape shot of Kommetjie beach in Cape Town | Credit: Juan Wernecke

First-time safari goers should also be aware that wildlife photography requires faster and higher-magnification lenses than most other subjects.

The ideal lens combination would be a zoom that goes up to 300 together with a fixed 400, with a fastest f-stop of 4 or better, 2.8.
A beanbag to rest your lens and minimize camera shake risk is a vital accessory.

To save weight, you can travel with an empty bean bag and fill it up with rice or something similar upon arrival at your destination.

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