Definite Photo Safari Essentials Guide

wildlife photography on safari tour
African safaris are also photographic safaris with more or less photographic gear from smart phone to point and shoot camera and professional SLRs. Being in the bush and close to the Big Five is an incredible experience for all photography lovers. Safari guests who thought they would only sit and watch start photographing as well to capture these memorable moments of being close to elephants and lions.

This can also be the moment to realize, that the
point and shoot camera is not sufficient for wildlife photography and plans are made to come back with better camera gear and better prepared. It is not only the camera, that makes good images, it is more to photographing wildlife on safari and one realizes that quickly when being on game drives. Anticipating animal behavior, knowledge about the light, the right location to photograph a sunset in the African bush, the right clothes, tips and tricks of wildlife photography and choosing the right safari destination make a successful photo safari.

Ideally one would like to have all essentials in one place and the
Photo Safari Essentials e-Guide provides just that. Including a little field guide to identify the wildlife, information about the game drive routine on safaris, tips what to pack and bring on safari, photo gear and wildlife photography advice and health info make this little e-guide a handy tool when preparing the safari and while being on safari. View and download the photo safari e-guide here.

How to make sure you can go off road on African safari

off road driving during your safari tour
Going off road on African safari game drives is essential for the safari experience. It makes a big difference seeing the lion a hundred meters away or 3 meters away. Not only for wildlife photography lovers, but also for all safari guests, seeing the Big Five through the binocular is not the same than having them sitting next to you.

Be aware, that in general
national parks do not allow off road driving. Also night game drives are prohibited, except for some parks exclusively for their own operations with limited numbers of guests. Safari National Parks are open to the public and it would do severe damage to the bush and animals, if off road game drives would be allowed. To make people listen high fines are in place and guides can loose their license.

The situation is different on
private game reserves. Game drives are regulated and rules for the number of vehicles on sightings are in place. Off road driving is allowed for the Big Five, but not to see an impala close up. Also there the protection of the bush and wildlife is of concern, but due to the private character of the game reserve, the safari experience is so much better. It is an incredible experience to follow a leopard through the bush and being able to witness otherwise hidden wildlife interactions or even a hunt. Private game reserves or private concessions are in all major safari areas like Sabi Sand/Kruger South Africa, Okavango Botswana or Masai Mara Kenya.

Why should you know about flood levels in the Okavango Delta

looking for a okavango delta safari tour
The Okavango Delta in Botswana is one of the Seven Natural Wonders in Africa and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It attracts thousands of visitors every year and is a top-rated African safari destination. Despite being very popular under safari travelers, the Okavango Delta offers remote tranquility, intimate wildlife sightings and a great variety of safari activities, both land and waterborne. A visit to the Okavango Delta is an enchanting African safari experience.

The delta is produced by
seasonal floods of the Okavango River, draining the summer rainfall from the Angola highlands into the Kalahari. The surge flows about 1,200 kilometers in approximately one month and spreads over an area of about 250 by 150 kilometers in size. The water never reaches the ocean. It rapidly evaporates due to the high temperatures in the delta. The flood peaks between June and August and the delta grows to three times of its permanent size. As this happens during the dry winter months, the water attracts wildlife from kilometers away and creates one of the greatest concentrations of wildlife in Africa.

When planning your safari to the Okavango Delta, you should
keep the flood levels at the different times of the year in mind. They have influence on the activities you can engage with at the different safari lodges. Low flood level can mean, that waterborne safari activities are not possible or in the case of high flood level, game drives in certain areas are not possible. Check the location of your lodge or camp in the delta to make sure you can experience all safari activities you would like to join during your tour.

The Okavango Delta is a highly enchanting safari destination year round, yet mind the flood for the safari experience you are coming for.

5 Top Reasons to visit Zambia

visit the victoria falls on safari
Most Southern Africa safari itineraries include Zambia with a visit of the Victoria Falls and that is as far as a safari guest gets to know the country. This is a pity, as Zambia is a top-rated African safari destination, one should definitely include in a southern Africa safari tour. Here some good reasons for visiting this amazing country:

1. The varied habitats of
Kafue: Kafue, Lufupa and Lunga rivers with adjoining peaceful stretches of riverine vegetation, dambos and wetlands, extensive miombo woodland with seasonal floodplains and swampland create a diversity of habitats, that attract an abundance of wildlife.

2. The Luangwa river is the most intact major river system in Africa and is the life blood of the
South Luangwa National Park’s 9 050 square kilometres. The park hosts a wide variety of wildlife, birds and vegetation. The now famous “walking safari” originated in this park. There are 60 different animal species and 400 different bird species. One special being Thornycroft Giraffe found only in the Luangwa Valley. Some magnificent trees grow in the Valley among the more common are the mopane, leadwood, winterthorn, baobab, large ebony forests, vegetable ivory palm, marula and the tamarind tree. The changing seasons add to the parks richness ranging from dry, bare bushveld in the winter to a lush green wonderland in the summer months.

3. The
Lower Zambezi National Park is still relatively undeveloped, but its beauty lies in its absolute wilderness state. The diversity of animals is not as wide as the other big parks, but the opportunities to get close to game wandering in and out of the Zambezi channels are spectacular. The park lies opposite the famous
Mana Pools Reserve in Zimbabwe, so the whole area on both sides of the river is a massive wildlife sanctuary.

4. The
Victoria Falls are known locally as Mosi-oa-Tunya (the smoke that thunders), due to its towering plume of spray that is visible at a distance. Within this area of the mighty Zambezi River one can engage in wildlife viewing or one of the many adrenalin activities on offer. The 108 m long (354 ft) and 1 708 m (5 600 ft) wide Vic Falls are the largest sheet of falling water in the world.

5. Due to the riverine wildlife areas the light is sublime for
wildlife photography. Colors are crisp and clear, warm and rich. The landscapes of waterways with their distinctive vegetation are stunning backdrops for wildlife photography. The opportunity of photographing big mammals like elephants in and around the water allows amazing wildlife photography. It is simply heaven for wildlife photography enthusiasts.

The wildlife areas in Zambia are best accessible by light aircraft transfer to avoid long drives. A great variety of land and waterborne safari activities are available for a diverse and exceptional safari experience. The best time to visit is from April to November, however, the so called “emerald season” is worth a visit too.

7 Essential Informations needed with your African safari booking

see leopards on big five safaris
Booking an African safari holiday comes with excitement about the safari destination, the Big Five, one wish to spot, the choice of the game reserve and the time of the year for the right weather and best wildlife sightings. During this process questions will be asked about the number of persons travelling, the available budget and more of this kind. When finally the booking is made, some more information is requested and for a good reason.

Travelling comes always with some risk and travelling to the African bush adds the
adventures of the wild. Although professional rangers/guides and lodge staff will look you after, nature can have its surprises. Extreme rainfall can cause floods or in the dry season a bush fire can occur. As said, the professionals will look after you, but there is always a rest risk of the unforeseen.

Besides nature’s moods, you could fall ill during a safari or do a misstep and twist your foot. These things can also happen while you are at home, but there medical aid is in general right at hand. When being at a private camp on a high ranked safari destination like the Okavango Delta, medical aid is not in direct reach. A light aircraft transport will be necessary to get you to a hospital. This is also quick, but costs a bit.

In order
to assist you best in case of an emergency, some essential information is needed:

1. Your passport details for registration with medical/evacuation services.
2. Your travel insurance name and number to cover the costs of medical aid and possible evacuation/repatriation.
3. Your health insurance name and number.
4. Information on possible medical conditions the operator should be aware of.
5. Information on possible allergies and dietary requirements.
6. The name and phone number of a person to be contacted in case of an emergency.
7. Your cell number for operational emergencies like changed transfer/flight times or similar.

By providing this information, safari ground handlers and lodge staff can
efficiently and quick help and organize whatever might be necessary to make sure you are safe. Your African safari should be worry free, also when the unforeseen happens or nature turns wild.