A photography safari in South Africa

Sabi sands is ideal for a kruger national park photo tour 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, but 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 winter.

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 one such as Kruger. Private reserves are generally a lot 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 to be rather crammed unless they arrange private game drives in advance.

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

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 upon which to rest your lens to minimise the risk of camera shake 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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Popular South Africa Safaris

These popular itineraries can be customised to match your budget and travel dates

 | Sabi Sands and Okavango Delta Big Five Tour (8 days)

Sabi Sands and Okavango Delta Big Five Tour (8 days)

Explore the famous reserve that offers exceptional game viewing and sight the elusive Sitatunga antelope in the Okavango ...

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South African Midlands Meander (15 days)

Explore the Eastern Cape, Lesotho and KwaZulu Natal...

 | Best of Botswana and South Africa (11 days)

Best of Botswana and South Africa (11 days)

Experience the best of two of southern Africa's gems ...

Mountain Walk | Cape Town, Whale Coast and Victoria Falls Tour (10 days)

Cape Town, Whale Coast and Victoria Falls Tour (10 days)

Experience a safari adventure that combines the very best of Victoria Falls with the undeniable highlights of Cape Town and the Whale Coast....

 | City and Safari in Southern Africa (14 days)

City and Safari in Southern Africa (14 days)

Majestic wildlife and the riches of Africa. ...

 | Two weeks in South Africa - a luxury rail safari

Two weeks in South Africa - a luxury rail safari

Experience the best that South Africa has to offer: it's white-sand beaches, lush green wine-lands and find the Big Five wildlife in the Kruger National Park. ...

 | Forray into the Wilderness of Sabi Sands and Madikwe  (7 days)

Forray into the Wilderness of Sabi Sands and Madikwe (7 days)

Our selection of South Africa's top safari lodges and game reserves are guaranteed to suit every taste and budget...

 | South Africa and Mauritius Island Holiday (12 days)

South Africa and Mauritius Island Holiday (12 days)

South Africa has so much to offer, from spotting the elusive leopard, to exploring Johannesburg's historical sites. Include the tropical island of Mauritius for an even more unforgettable vacation....

 | South African Bush and Beach Journey (10 days)

South African Bush and Beach Journey (10 days)

Explore the magic of Cape Town followed by the Scenic Garden Route and finally the Big Five members at the Kruger National Park...

Exterior view of Ngala Tented Camp | Delightful Cape Town and Kruger Luxury Safari (12 days)

Delightful Cape Town and Kruger Luxury Safari (12 days)

Combine Cape Town and the surrounding Cape Winelands with a safari in the Kruger National Park for a relaxing and exhilarating South African safari...

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