Attractions

  • What camera to bring on safari

    Giulia
    March 30, 2021

    If you are wondering what camera gear to pack for your safari experience, look no further! Here is the comprehensive list of all the camera equipment and accessories you will need for your safari.

    This photography gear list is brought to you by our resident photographer Giulia Cimarosti, safari specialist at Shadows of Africa and professional photographer. Guilia also leads groups on our special photographic safaris in Tanzania.

    Generally speaking, depending on the device you use you can expect different results. Let’s go through some options:

    Mobile Photography on Safari

    You don’t have to own super pricey, professional equipment, however it’s quite safe to say that using a mobile phone to take photos during your safari won’t make good close-up images of the wildlife possible, no matter the phone’s model or quality.

    Mobile phones tend to have very poor zooming capabilities, however they can be great for African sunsets, photographing a herd in the landscape, and of course to take the occasional short video for social media, when a curious cheetah decides to climb on the vehicle!

    Keep in mind though that during your safari you won’t always get very close to the animals, so the best way to frame the subject is to use a zoom-telephoto lens on an actual camera.

    Cameras and Lenses on Safari

    If you want to take really good photos on your safari, make sure you bring your DSLR camera! A digital single lens reflex camera will allow you to use manual settings, adapting them to the lighting situation, the distance to the subject and the effects you want to achieve.

    Now you may be wondering what camera body is the best one, but the answer is not an easy one. There are cameras of all formats and brands, but they all have one thing in common: manual settings!

    The thing you need to concentrate on, when thinking about the right photography gear for safari photography, is what lens - or better, lenses - to bring.

    Zoom lenses

    The must-have kind of lens for safari photography is a zoom or telephoto. This is the kind of lens that allows you to zoom into the subject, making it appear closer. There are countless zoom lenses on the market, but make sure your telephoto lens has a focal length of at least 200 mm.

    • Budget
      28-300 mm or 70-300 mm lenses are good budget options for beginners.
    • Medium
      A 150-600 mm lens will allow you to shoot almost anything in daylight, taking your photography to the next level with a reasonable investment.
    • Pro
      A 70-200 mm f/2,8 prime lens, although the focal length is not extreme, is an excellent lens that will not disappoint.
      There are other lenses such 400 mm f/4 or even f/2,8 prime lenses which are top choices but at an extremely high price tag.

    If there is a lens worth an investment when planning to go on a photographic safari, it has to be the zoom!

    Medium and Wide Angle Lenses

    Although zoom lenses are the first ones that come to mind when thinking about safari photography, a wide angle lens also goes a long way when it comes to shooting the animals in their habitat, dramatic African skies and sunsets, and large herds moving during the Great Migration. Make sure you pack a wide to medium lens too!

    • Budget
      The 18-55 mm “kit lens” that comes with most camera kits works perfectly for this kind of photos. As a budget option, any kit lens works perfectly, actually!
      Lenses in the 10-24 mm range are much wider - another good option that will allow you to take creative photographs during your safari.
    • Medium
      A 15-30 mm f/2,8 wide lens is a high quality choice for landscape.
    • Pro
      The 24-70 mm f/2,8 is a “classic”, very sharp lens that never disappoints, allowing you to shoot landscapes (or good quality files to stitch in panoramas later on) and zoom into the subject too.

    Bear in mind that a good wide angle lens also allows you to take wonderful nocturnal photos of the clear skies of the savannah.

    Other accessories

    Now that you know what to use to shoot your safari photographs, let’s think about the accessories you shouldn’t forget:

    • Spare batteries. Although all our vehicles have charging stations to recharge your batteries during the game drives, having one or two extra batteries is always a good idea to keep shooting without a single worry!
    • Memory cards. Believe it or not, I can guarantee you will find yourself shooting dozens and dozens of photos to the same animal or scene. It’s easy when you have lions posing for you, or a hunting scene taking place. So pack extra memory cards!
    • Battery charger. There are regular battery chargers and also double battery chargers that work with USB and/or car power outlets. I like these, as you can charge 2 batteries at once.
    • Protection for your camera gear. The savannah is dusty, and dust is the real enemy of cameras and their sensors. Try to keep everything protected from dust except what you are using. Camera bags or pouches/cloths will work great.
    • Cleaning kit. A full kit includes the sensor cleaning kit and tools to remove dust and clean the camera. Try to keep everything clean by gently removing the dust every day after the game drives. Please note: the sensor tends to get dirty with all the dust of the safari, but at the same time cleaning the sensor is a very delicate task so don’t risk it if you are not sure how to do it!

    Are you ready to embark on your photographic safari adventure? Please let us know if you need more suggestions and information about what camera gear to pack for your safari. We look forward to having you travel with us!

  • Why is Tanzania the Top Safari Destination in Africa? 10 Reasons to Visit Tanzania in 2020

    Chris
    February 10, 2020
    Tanzania is Africa's foremost safari destination, and there are so many reasons for this. Here are the ten most appealing reasons to visit Tanzania in 2020.
  • Things to do in Arusha: Tours & Day Trips from Arusha

    Chris
    November 11, 2019
    Tanzania's safari capital is far more than just a place to overnight before your safari. The home city of Shadows of Africa is a diverse city of cuisines and cultures just begging to be explored.
  • Take a Cultural Safari with the Tribes of Tanzania

    Chris
    June 10, 2019
    Whatever the length of your trip, a chance to visit with the many tribes of Tanzania is a great way to add a fun, cultural element to your Tanzania trip.
  • The Big Five, Small Five, Special Five, and Big Seven: What Are They?

    Chris
    May 24, 2019
    Everybody on safari talks about spotting the Big Five, but do you know what they are? What about the Special Five, Small Five, and Big Seven?
  • Ten Amazing Things to do in Serengeti National Park

    Chris
    May 6, 2019

    Ten Amazing Things to do in Serengeti National Park

    Serengeti

    The very name conjures up a wealth of images, doesn't it?

    Wide open plains dotted with wildebeest, zebras, and antelope as far as the eye can see.

    A pride of lions painted red-gold by the rising sun as they prowl through the tall grass in search of a morning meal.

    The chortling of hippos as they wallow in their pools to escape the heat of the midday sun.

    Brightly colored hot air balloons floating lazily in the crisp, clear morning air.

    Tanzania's Serengeti National Park is one of the world's most beloved and recognizable wilderness areas, and there is so much more to do than 'just' go out on game drives.

    Are you planning a safari to Tanzania's Serengeti National Park? Here are the top 5 things you need to do on a Serengeti safari trip in Tanzania! #serengeti #safari #tanzania #travel

    10 - Go on a Nature Walk

    Walking safaris are not as common in East Africa as they might be in South Africa, but there are still opportunities to stretch your legs.

    Depending on where you are staying, you may have the chance to take a guided nature walk.

    While not technically a walking safari, these nature walks give you a chance to learn about local flora and fauna and soak in the utter quiet of the Serengeti plains.

    Ask your Shadows of Africa safari expert how you can ensure your tented camp or lodge offers guided nature walks.

    9 - Enjoy a Bush Dinner

    Regardless of where you are staying, your meals on the Serengeti are going to be something special. From BBQ buffets to traditional cuisine to succulent Chinese or Indian meals, you're not going to go hungry!

    If you're looking to have a romantic dinner for two, many properties offer a bush dinner away from the main restaurant.

    Little by candles or a crackling fire, you'll dine under the stars with table service as if you were in a five-star restaurant. A bush dinner is a great way to add a little extra romance to your Serengeti safari.

    serengeti-angata

    8 - Camp Under the Stars

    While we're on the subject of stars, there is something primal and magical about pitching a tent out on the Serengeti and falling asleep to the sounds of the wilderness.

    Shadows of Africa are experts at arranging camping safaris. We not only provide all of your camping equipment but send along one of our staff chefs to ensure you're eating well. Got a dietary requirement? Don't worry: our chefs have you covered!

    Camping on safari can be a great way to conserve your budget as well, although we don't advise it during a rainy season safari.

    7 - Take a Night Game Drive

    Night game drives are not allowed within Tanzanian National Parks and that holds true of the Serengeti, but it is possible to take a night game drive in one of the neighboring conservancies.

    If seeing the Serengeti by moonlight and spotlight is on your bucket list, you'll need to be staying at Buffalo Tented Lodge. Buffalo Tented Lodge is one of the only properties in all of Tanzania who can lead night game drives.

    You can also take a night game drive as part of your visit to Tarangire National Park, with a number of properties offering the experience.

    6 - See the Moru Kopjes

    Scattered around the heart of the Serengeti's Seronera region are towering piles of stones known as kopjes. Popular with lions who like to stretch out on them to soak up the sun, they are a distinctive feature of the Central Serengeti.

    No game drive to the Serengeti would be complete without observing a lazy pride of lions stretching, playing, and relaxing on the stones that inspired The Lion King's Pride Rock.

    It is even possible overnight close to these impressive structures, with tented camps such as Kisura Tented Camp and Ole Serai Moru Kopjes built in the shadows of these massive rock formations.

    Sasakwa-Pool-singita

    5 - Relax by the Pool

    After a long and dusty day out on safari, there are few feelings more heavenly than slipping into a deliciously cold pool and soaking in the last of the sun's rays. While not all properties on the Serengeti can boast a pool, those that do are great for families on safari with children.

    Properties such as Melia Serengeti and the Four Seasons Safari Lodge boast truly impressive infinity pools from which you can indulge in a little game-viewing, with poolside service of cocktails a great way to finish your day.

    Relaxing by a Hippo Pool

    Of course, tourists aren't the only ones who enjoy a good soak on a hot day. The Serengeti's resident hippos love a good wallow!

    The Retina Hippo Pool is located in the Seronera region of the Serengeti and is a great spot to photograph yawning hippos from the safety of your safari vehicle.

    tanzania-serengeti-cheetahs

    4 - Take a Sunrise Game Drive

    Many of the Serengeti's animals are most active during the cooler morning and evening hours, making a sunrise game drive the perfect opportunity to spot leopards, lions, cheetahs, hyenas, and other crepuscular animals on the move. If you're intent on seeing African Wild Dogs, this is also the best time to spot the elusive pack hunters.

    Shadows of Africa allows its clients unlimited game drives between 06:00 and 18:00 (park operating hours), so all you need to do is let your driver know that you'd like a sunrise game drive and he'll make it happen.

    Whether you take a picnic breakfast with you or return to your lodge to take full advantage on the buffet, a sunrise game drive is an invigorating way to start your day. Just don't forget to bring a coat!

    3 - Stay in a Luxury Tented Camp

    There's something magical about falling asleep to the sound of lions roaring and Wildebeest... doing whatever it is they do.

    Pitching a tent at the heart of the Serengeti isn't everybody's cup of tea, so the luxury tented camps of the Serengeti offer a nice balance between creature comforts and, well, creatures.

    Offering the perfect blend of modern comfort and closeness to nature, the luxury tented camps of the Serengeti are hugely popular year round. Budget tented camps such as Thorntree and Kisura are the entry-level properties on the Serengeti, but luxury options like Ole Serai, Kubu Kubu, and Lemala Nanyuki are redefining the glamping experience.

    Whatever your budget, it wouldn't be a visit to the Serengeti without at least one night in a tented camp. However, if you're visiting Tanzania during the rainy season, a brick and mortar lodge is the best option.

    Serengeti_Air_Ballon

    2 - Take a Hot Air Balloon Safari

    For a little added romance on your trip, you should consider adding a hot air balloon safari.

    Nothing can compare to the feeling of soaring several thousand feet above the plains of the Serengeti at sunrise. You're afforded a completely unique view of the Serengeti and its inhabitants, and the silence is utterly remarkable.

    Once you touch down on the open plains, you'll enjoy a decadent champagne breakfast out in the wilderness. It's the perfect way to celebrate a birthday or anniversary. We've even had several clients pop the question after their hot air balloon safari!

    wildebeests-migration-tanzania-serengeti-np

    1 - Witness a River Crossing

    The #1 attraction in all of East Africa, the annual Wildebeest Migration sees more than a million wildebeest and zebras making the arduous journey north onto Kenya's Maasai Mara. The Serengeti plays host to the migration for much of the year, but from July to September each year, you can get front row seats to the high drama of a river crossing.

    Speak with your Shadows of Africa safari expert about the best time to see the river crossing and they'll arrange for your trip to take you into the Kogatende and Lobo regions of the Serengeti.

    Our six-day River Crossing Safari and five-day Flying River Crossing Safari are the most popular options for seeing a river crossing, but any of our itineraries can be modified to include a visit to the Northern Serengeti.

    If time allows, you should also consider a cross-country safari to both Kenya and Tanzania. This way, you'll have the chance to see a river crossing from both sides!

    Here are the five things you need to add to your Serengeti safari itinerary! If you're heading to Tanzania's Serengeti for a safari trip, don't miss out on these five adventure activities! #travel #safari #serengeti #tanzania

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    A Wealth of Options

    As you can see, there is no shortage of things to do in Serengeti National Park.

    Speak with your Shadows of Africa safari expert about how to maximize your enjoyment of your Serengeti safari.

  • Tinga Tinga: A Uniquely Tanzanian Art

    Chris
    April 15, 2019
    Looking for a fun gift to bring back from your trip to Tanzania? We delve deep into the Tinga Tinga artform.
  • Shadows of Africa's Top 10 Most Popular Safari Itineraries

    Chris
    March 17, 2019
    With so many safari itineraries to choose from, it can be difficult to find the right one! Here are our most popular safari itineraries all in one place!
  • What is the Best Time to See the Wildebeest Migration?

    Chris
    February 11, 2019
    Wanting to know what the best time to see the Wildebeest Migration is? We've got a detailed, month by month guide to help you plan your dream safari.

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