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Articles on how to go about planning your safari.

  • OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Victoria Falls

At the end of our Wild Waterways Photo Safari this year we spent two nights in the town of Livingstone, Zambia which is very close to the Victoria Falls (about 10 minutes by car). The Victoria Falls are an amazing sight. While we were there I could only imagine the [...]

By |31st October 2014|Safari Planning, Trip Reports|Comments Off on Victoria Falls
  • Zambezi Voyager

My camera gear for Wild Waterways Of Botswana

This year our feature photo safari takes us to the Chobe region in the north east part of Botswana. Here is my thinking on what gear to take. Botswana is an amazing country. It’s blessed with unimaginable beauty in the form of Africa’s most exciting rivers for wildlife and adventure, [...]

By |28th March 2014|Equipment, Safari Planning|Comments Off on My camera gear for Wild Waterways Of Botswana

8 things to bring on an African photo safari

Here are 8 things you should bring on one of our African Safaris: 1. A laptop. There's a school of thought that suggests that when you're on holiday you should leave the trappings of modern life behind (ie. things that could potentially distract you from the business of relaxing). There's [...]

By |23rd July 2013|Equipment, Photography, Safari Planning|Comments Off on 8 things to bring on an African photo safari

Lens options for the Big 5 Safari

What telephoto lens should I bring to use on your Big 5 Safari? This is one of the most common questions I get from people interested in joining this amazing wildlife safari. There are a few options open to you and I suppose it depends on just how big your budget is and also what camera system you use. Fast Primes  [singlepic id=290 w=320 h=240 float=right]Most of the time the best wildlife photos are obtained with the use of a fast prime lens, something like a 300mm f/2.8 or a 400mm f/2.8. These lenses offer the best possible image quality, mainly because the light they capture passes through fewer glass elements than a zoom lens, so what you get at the business end of the sensor is light that is “purer” in a sense. You also get superb subject isolation at the widest apertures and the bokeh (out of focus background highlights) is as good as it gets with a telephoto prime lens. If you’re going to bring a prime lens I would recommend a 300/2.8 with a couple of teleconverters. This will give you some good options for range. The 400/2.8 would be good too, but I think it will be more difficult to travel with than the 300mm. Fast Telephoto Zooms A drawback to using fast primes at a place like Sabi Sabi though is that sometimes you might find yourself too close to the action for your chosen focal length to provide effective framing options. For this reason exotic fast zoom lenses like the Nikon 200-400mm f/4 VR or the Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 OS are ideal. They both offer a very useful zoom range as well as very acceptable bokeh. Most of our Big 5 safari guests who shoot Nikon have brought out this lens and none have been disappointed with it. On our last trip in 2012 I used the Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 OS almost exclusively and was very happy with the results. You can read my full review of the lens (kindly supplied by Tudortech) here. The one good thing about the Sigma is that it is available in all the major manufacturer mounts, including Canon, Sony and Sigma’s own proprietary mount. […]

By |13th May 2013|Safari Planning|Comments Off on Lens options for the Big 5 Safari

Preparing for the Namaqualand to Namibia safari

Back in the late 1980’s, when I wasn’t even old enough to grow much of a beard, travel opportunities to Namibia for men of my age were not only free, but they included board and lodging as well as an entire outfit of clothing. This came courtesy of the South African Army. Included in their irrefusable offer were two pairs of boots, socks, underwear, pants, shirts, jackets, blankets, eating utensils, bags to carry everything, food, an R4 assault rifle and enough propaganda to rearrange the thinking of even the most liberal minds. Somehow I managed to avoid the government sponsored tour of what was then known as South West Africa and did my national service in South Africa packing stores and driving trucks near army HQ in Pretoria instead. We supplied most of the hardware being used by our compatriots up on the border between South West Africa and the Cuban/Russian funded country of Angola. Everything from beds to biscuits and bullets came through our stores and got sent up to the border by truck. A lot of my friends served there and apart from one guy who lost an arm and suffered multiple other injuries after a mortar exploded in the armoured vehicle he was riding in, they all had the same thing to say: the place was indescribably beautiful. The soldiers who served there had a much easier time of things than we did. They grew their hair long, played volleyball all day, spent a lot of time drinking beer and turned their skins brown under the abundant South West African sunshine. All while suckers like me who served in the Ordnance Services Corps often worked 18-hour days loading and off-loading trucks. Going to SWA, whilst fraught with danger, seemed to be a better deal even if it meant you’d only see civilization once or twice in a two-year period. Fast forward some 25 years, South West Africa is now Namibia and I find myself provisioning another trip to the place of the big skies. Except this time the packing and provisions are totally different. No more tent pegs and guide ropes, or rifles and bullets. The packing I’m doing now is for our safari to Namaqualand and Namibia. I get to go there for real this time. Happiness! We’re also spending a few days in Cape Town prior to heading up the road to Namibia, which is great because I haven’t been there since circa 2000. […]

By |4th April 2013|Equipment, Safari Planning|Comments Off on Preparing for the Namaqualand to Namibia safari

Trip report: The 2012 Ultimate Big 5 Group Safari – part 2

I get asked a lot by people wanting to come on safari about the difference between the Kruger National Park (KNP) and Sabi Sands. For the uninformed, Sabi Sands is a private reserve that adjoins the greater KNP. It is named after the two rivers that run through and along one of its borders, namely the Sand River and the Sabie River. The reserve is populated by dozens of privately owned lodges and camps, each of which has their own boundaries. Some of the camps have traversing rights on each other’s properties, but for the most part you’re unlikely to encounter much traffic from neighbouring private reserves when you’re there. There are no fences between KNP and Sabi Sands, so animals are free to roam between the two parks, generally oblivious to the fact that we humans regard these as two different places. The total size of the Sabi Sands reserve is approximately 65,000 hectares, which put into perspective is just shy of 3% of the total size of the Kruger National Park, or if you prefer to put it into human habitat perspective, a shade over half the size of New York City’s 5 boroughs combined. The Kruger Park itself is about the size of Hawaii, or close to the size of Switzerland if, like me, you have no idea of how big Hawaii actually is. One of the interesting statistics about the Sabi Sands is that it has the highest density of leopards to be found anywhere else in Africa, and ergo the world, for that matter. They practically fall out of trees here. On our first safari there in 2010 we saw leopards more often than we saw lions. It was somewhat different this last time around, mainly because the Southern Pride of lions has established the area of Sabi Sabi as its main hunting territory. That pride is now over 20 strong and if you follow Richard DeGouveia’s (RangerRich) and Ben Coley’s blog you’ll be able to read a lot more about how this pride is changing over the years. There are constantly territorial battles being fought between themselves and other male lions that want to move into the area. Fascinating stuff, to which we were witness during our week long stay there at the beginning of October. […]

By |5th February 2013|Safari Planning, Trip Reports|Comments Off on Trip report: The 2012 Ultimate Big 5 Group Safari – part 2
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