Photography has always been an integral part of the safari experience, and when faced with some of the best material you might ever fix your viewfinder on the stakes are high to capture that hero shot. Here, we’ve picked out 4 safaris that will help you do just that - whether it’s thanks to their state-of-the-art equipment, specialist input from wildlife photographers, or simply the unique opportunity they offer to get close to your subject.
Londolozi, Sabi Sands, South Africa - Best for State-of-the-art Equipment
Often, on safari, the thrill of capturing that magic moment is followed by a long wait till you get home to see if your photography skills did it justice. At Londolozi Pioneer Camp, the results are more immediate as you head straight from your game drive to the media centre where every detail is taken care of, with computers to edit your images and dedicated staff to offer assistance. You can even print out a canvas of your favourite shot – souvenirs don’t come much more personalised than that. If you really want to make sure you get that ‘money shot’, opt for the Specialist Photographic Excursion. A Land Rover custom-fitted with swivel seats allows you to capture every possible angle while state-of-the-art equipment such as illuminating night vision goggles and a stargazer laser pointer will help you master those tricky night-time shots.
What you can expect to photograph: Leopard are the main draw to Londolozi, and can be spotted with relative ease along with the rest of the Big Five.
Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge Photographic Safaris, South Africa - Best for Novices
Now on to Sabi Sabi Private Reserve - one of South Africa’s original and best – photos taken here have graced many a coffee table book. Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge’s new photographic safaris offer personal tuition from a professional photographer who will tailor your experience to your level of expertise and your own objectives. Setting out in a private vehicle, the aim is not to see as much wildlife as possible, rather allow time to get close to your subject and set up the perfect shot. First-timers need not worry if they haven’t invested in the full kit as cameras and lenses can be supplied. After your safari, your instructor will review your shots and talk you through post-processing. The Telegraph recently sent Stephanie Plentl – herself a camera novice – to experience the photographic safari first-hand.
What you can expect to photograph: If you’re lucky you’ll come across some of Sabi Sabi’s wild dogs, a very special sighting considering how elusive they are.
The Mobile Walking Safari, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia - Best for a Different Perspective
If you’re the type of person that would always opt to read the book over watching the movie, the Mobile Walking Safari could be for you. It is for those looking to truly immerse themselves in the wilderness without compromising on comfort. Walking approximately 10km per day, you will cover terrain and encounter wildlife that you wouldn’t get close to in a vehicle, making for some exceptional photo opportunities as you discover the many facets of the African Bush. Your mobile camp is fully serviced and each day, your belongings and mobile camp will be waiting for you so the only thing you need carry with you on your walk is your camera. From ants to buffalo, bird’s nests to tracking a lion, the diversity of your encounters will keep your camera busy.
What you can expect to photograph: The Little Five – not to be dismissed, these tiny creatures will make you appreciate nature in all its sizes. Snakes are also easier to spot when walking, and there are many species in the South Luangwa.
Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, Rwanda - Best for Dramatic Photos
Situated just moments from the headquarters of the Parc National des Volcans, the aptly named Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge is a perfect base for gorilla trekking. To come face-to-face with a family of wild gorillas and watch them eat, play and socialise in their natural habitat is perhaps one of the rarest moments you could hope to capture on camera to share with others later. These gorillas are used to human encounters and will often cheekily play up to the cameras. Be warned, though, the hour you have with the gorillas is all too precious so don’t forget to put the camera down from time to time and savour the moment and, of course, avoid anything that might unsettle the gorillas, such as flash photography.
What you can expect to photograph: Whilst your shutter will be in overdrive during your hour with the gorillas, there is plenty more material to be derived from the dense misty forest you will trek through and the dramatic views across the volcanic terrain from the lodge.
If you're interested in planning your own African photography experience, please don't hesitate to contact us on 020 7943 3500 and one of our experts can help you build your personal itinerary.
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