Here are five reasons why an African photographic safari is a must. If this is not on your bucket list, go add it as soon as you have the time!
1) Experience African wilderness
Africa’s open savannah. The great migration. Up to ten million straw coloured fruit bats converge upon Kasanka national park. Thousands of sardines darken the east coast of South Africa. Elephant rise on their hind legs reaching for the high leaves in the famous Mana pools in Zimbabwe. Oryx and brown hyena kick up sand as they traverse the sand dunes of the mighty old Namib desert in Namibia. The jewels of Africa are endless. The landscapes are vast. The people rich in cultural heritage. This is where it all started.
Africa is rich in wildlife and raw untouched beauty. A photographic safari to Africa will leave you mesmerized and wanting more. Be it the northern parts showcasing Ethiopia and Egypt, be it eastern Africa with Kenya and Tanzania, maybe Silverback gorillas in Uganda or Rwanda. All the way to the southern parts where lion and leopard roam the free land. Not to mention the great rivers of Africa, Zambezi, Chobe and the great Nile, where the sound of the fish eagle greets you and sets you of for a once in a lifetime adventure.
In the end, photographer is general are deep rooted conservationists and can all appreciate what we have in a beautiful continent like Africa.
2) Help conservation efforts
This is of utmost importance in these times we live in, looking at poaching stats, more than a 1000 rhino’s killed in 2014 by illegal killing and trading rhino horn. The African elephant faces the same dilemma every day and eco-tourism can become a crucial part for future generations.
By supporting organisations such as the David Sheldrick Wildlife trust, you can help save Kenya’s elephants. By supporting the Great Plains conservation effort (Duba plains for instance), you can help save lions of Botswana and beyond.
3) Improve your photographic skills
Because of the diverse fauna and flora on the African continent, this is the perfect place to improve your technical skills and experience. This goes for both landscape and wildlife photography.
While visiting Amboseli national park, you can photograph the biggest elephant in Africa with mount Kilimanjaro as a backdrop…
While driving in the Sabi Sands game reserve in the greater Kruger park, you can photograph 5 to 10 different leopard on a 5 day stay…
While on a landscape photography trip to Namibrand in Namibia, you even see springbok grazing the open plains of the savannah…
While visiting the Chobe river to photograph this 460+ bird specie paradise, you come across hippo’s fighting and lion drinking from the shallows in the background…
This is why Africa is such a popular destination. This is why people visit Africa from all four corners of the world: to explore a rugged beauty. To experience what Sir David Livingstone spoke about when exploring Africa from east to west and hearing Africa’s soul in the Smoke-that-thunders, the Victoria Falls.
4) Explore a multitude of cultures
Whilst so many people come to Africa to photograph the landscape and animal encounters, there is a rich cultural heritage just waiting to be explored. This includes tribes like the San: one of the oldest inhabitants of Southern Africa, the Maasai farmers/warriors from East Africa, the Taureg people of the Sahara desert, the Berber people who lived on this continent since 3000 BC. These are only to name a few of the rich heritage shared by so many on this marvelous and diverse land.
5) Remember Africa
Even though so many come to Africa every year, how often do we forget the Africa outside the five star lodging, an Africa in need of so many basic supplies like water, food, education etc. If people can remember Africa as they return to their destinations, if people can talk about Africa, if they can portray the true Africa to their friends and family, this is a great starting point for future input into this beautiful, yet fragile land. A continent where people and animals alike fight a daily battle for survival, on ground they love, deep-rooted as they traverse the dust path, the desert sand, the muddy swamps and the streets of African cities.
In the end, it’s easy to see why Africa will always be a gem as a photographic destination, where photographers realize they are part of something bigger as they set foot on the Dark continent.
I sincerely hope you will have an opportunity to be welcomed in old Africa once in your life, to share in an African sunrise in a sapphire sky and be put to sleep by the majestic roar of lion in the distance.
My main philosophy to photographers would first be to appreciate before shooting. By appreciating the natural elements, you get to see things you never saw before, and therefore shoot things you never shot before, and ultimately this would influence your composition, colour and feeling you carry over to the viewer.
What gear I use:
- Canon EOS 1Dx
- Canon EOS 5D Mark 3
- Canon 500mm f4 IS USM
- Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS
- Canon 1.4 teleconverter
- Sandisk and Lexar memory cards
- Canon 580EX II Speedlight
- Battery chargers for both cameras
- Manfrotto monopod
- Badger Bean bag
- Tamrac Expedition 9x camera bag
- Soft cloth lens cleaners
- Apple Macbook pro and Lightroom 5 as travel computer and software
- Lacie Rugged portable hard drive