Plan a photo safari to Africa!
1. Do your own trip investigation and analysis: a safari requires extensive planning as much as twelve months ahead for bookings. Do not trust a travel agent who may be, in fact, booking his first African trip. Read about the different countries and decide what might appeal to you. For instance, trips to Namibia and Kenya required long car journeys over poor roads, not an adventure for everyone. Our destinations, however, were well worth the drive.
|Elephants in Mist, South Africa|
2. The countries of Africa are very different in geography, abundance and variety of animals, and rules for engaging them. For instance, some only allow game viewing from park roads, which is understandable from a conservation viewpoint. The alternative offered by private lodges such as those next to Kruger National Park in South Africa, is off road viewing. The difference is profound. In the former, the action might only be viewed from a great distance with a long telephoto lens, unless you are lucky. The latter, far preferable, gives the true feeling of Africa. The driver and tracker not only take you to the animals, but it is possible to follow them. Since they have never been hunted, they have no fear of the vehicle and its occupants. Amazingly, the animals often proceed with their eating, hunting, or other activities as if unobserved. Following a pride of lions on a hunt and kill is an unforgettable experience.
|Lion Cubs, Kenya|
|Namibian Dunes from the Air|
3. Investigate the airline services: an older person with orthopedic problems cannot fly coach class for sixteen hours plus with ease. Explore upgrades with miles or stagger the trip by flying coach to Europe (6 hours), enjoying several days in Amsterdam or another major European city, and then continuing on.
4. Look at the type of tour. For the serious photographer, a tour led by a professional photographer who has done it before is a safe bet for success. Riding in an open vehicle packed like sardines with eight other tourists does not lead to good work. Ideally, three shooters per vehicle is perfect allowing one row per photographer.
5. Know your equipment and make sure you have what is needed for this once in a lifetime trip.
I gave a talk on this subject Saturday, November 5, 9:15 to 11 am at HUNTS Photo and Video in Melrose, MA . 781 662-8822 Will be also doing at talk at the Newburyport Art Association at 7:30 pm on Monday, November 14th. Hope to see you there.