Destinations

  • 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!

  • Personal information for your safari booking

    Vika
    February 18, 2021

    On the 1st of January 2021 TANAPA — the Tanzanian safari parks authority — has implemented new administration rules. The updated regulations require that a copy of the passport of every visitor is digitally registered before visiting. This regulation is aimed at minimizing corruption and increasing efficiency.
    This requirement is at odds with European laws on privacy and personal data — which do not allow you to send full passport copies. But of course, we want to spare you administrative delays at the park entry. Who wants to be stuck right at the edge of a National Park waiting for paperwork - while you could already enjoy a game drive?
    So, therefore, we ask only the demanded information - with unnecessary information blocked out, to spare you delays at the gate of your chosen safari park — while not jeopardizing your privacy.
    Tanzanian authorities require the following information to be visible:

    1. Passport number
    2. Age (birthdate)
    3. Name
    4. Photo

    You can make a standard copy at home and blacken all the additional data and then scan & send that in a pdf to us.
    Alternatively, we recommend this app, that works on Android supported phones:
    KopieID.
    With this app you can take a photo of your identity document, cross out privacy-sensitive information. In the picture you can indicate who the copy is intended for and for what purpose. This text and the date are added on the copy as a watermark. You can now send the copy, print it or save it safely for later use. Saving the copy is only possible if you have crossed out something.

    We want to thank you for your cooperation, and we are looking forward to welcoming you in Africa!

  • Get your PCR & Rapid Covid Test in Arusha, Zanzibar and the Serengeti!

    Vika
    February 3, 2021

    Latest update!

    Since 26th of January 2021 KLM requires a Rapid Covid-19 test as an additional obligation to the PCR test. This rapid test must be taken no more than 4 hours before departure. Rapid testing is performed on all airports that KLM flies from and to: Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam.
    The cost for this test is 25 USD per person/test. To be paid in cash at the airport.
    Reserve enough time for this test to prevent any issues, and arrive at the airport at least five hours before departure.

    Where to get a PCR test in Arusha

    A PCR test can be taken in Mount Meru Regional Hospital

    and in Arusha Lutheran Medical Centre

    Where to get a PCR test on Zanzibar

      The Ministry of Health Zanzibar has currently designated three locations for Covid PCR tests:

    • Emergency Operation Centre in Lumumba
    • Global Hospital in Vuga and
    • North Valley Hospital in Nungwi

    What's the cost

    The cost of the test is 100 USD.
    In Zanzibar private hospitals charge 150 USD.
    In the Serengeti the cost are $100 for the test and $17 for the handling fee

    Where to get a PCR test in the Serengeti

    To be able to get the PCR test in the Serengeti you also have the register via the normal website: https://pimacovid.moh.go.tz
    After registering, a control number will be generated. Pay the test fee, which is equivalent to 100$ in TZS, following the instructions provided when the control is generated.
    For taking a test in the Serengeti there is a small extra handling fee covering the extra cost with taking a test in the Serengeti. Pay the handling fee via Mpesa, through Vodacom pay ‘Number 5106362 Tanzania Association of Tour Operators’. Shadows of Africa can assist with this. The handling fee is 40,000 TZS or roughly $17
    Go to the Testing Center in Seronera between 8AM and 12AM. No appointment needed.
    The test will travel to Dar es Salaam for the physical testing. The results take 48 hours to be delivered to you via email, WhatsApp - like with tests taken in Arusha & Zanzibar.

    How to take a PCR test in Arusha or on Zanzibar

    Since 4th of January 2021 new rules have been implemented by the Tanzanian government.
    You need to register on the official test site: https://pimacovid.moh.go.tz, with your passport and telephone number. You should do this 5 days before you plan to take your test.

    Choose a hospital, pay and get tested.
    Roughly, this is the procedure on arrival in the hospital:
    Get in a line to pay for the test. Cash is preferred, although cards are accepted. Using cards to pay might cause some trouble or delay. After paying, you'll receive a receipt, which is also a necessary document when leaving the country, so don't lose it!
    You'll then proceed to another line. You'll present your paid receipt and submit your personal information and flight details. In the third line, you will then declare how you want to get the results, on-line via WhatsApp or email or a printed copy. We suggest the latter since you will need a printed result to present at the airport.
    You will then receive a control number, and when it's your turn, you get tested. The samples are taken from your throat and nose.

    How long does it take to get the result?

    It will take up to 48 hours to get the results since the samples are sent to Dar es Salaam for testing. If your airline has strict regulations regarding the validity time of the certificate make sure you perform your sample taking in the morning - so it can be sent to Dar es Salaam the same day of the sample taking.

    Will I get the results on time to comply with the requirements of the airline or the country I'm travelling to?

    The date stated on your certificate is the date the test was performed in Dar es Salaam, not the date the sample was taken. So in short, yes you can meet all requirements

  • Travelling to Tanzania during Covid-19 pandemic – all you need to know

    Vika
    January 4, 2021

    Travelling in the times of the pandemic can be tricky. The key to successful travel is good preparation, which starts with credible information. Let's start with some facts:
    The Government of Tanzania is collecting tracking information for all international passengers arriving in Tanzania. Temperature scanning for all international passengers arriving in Tanzania is implemented. If you show symptoms of Covid-19 upon arrival, you may be required to take a test. And, of course, you should comply with any additional screening measures instituted by the authorities.

    There are some sanitary regulations and restrictions, like recommended wearing of face masks, disinfecting your hands and keeping social distance, just as almost everywhere else in the world. They are strictly obeyed, and most accommodations have their own Corona coordinator, to keep you and the Tanzanians safe and healthy. You may also like the fact, that there are no significant numbers of sick people, that the average age of the population is 18 years, and they are generally very healthy.

    Life in Tanzania is (close to) normal, public transportation is operating, restaurants, cafes and bars are open, as well as non-essential businesses and attractions. And once again, this pure piece of Africa has everything to offer and the Tanzanians are overjoyed to be able to show you their beautiful country again.

    The natural parks currently host much fewer visitors, thus the animals are being very curious. Our guides report of doubled spottings and much longer observing time for the visitors, so your experience can be really unique and also quite intimate. And remember, the visitors protect the animals from poachers! Equally unique and intimate can be any trekking experience; imagine Kilimanjaro or Ngorongoro with your group only. Or a long sandy beach caressing you while resting alone…

    As for the cherry on the top, all these jewels can be enjoyed for a very, very reasonable price. A slow flow of tourists because of the pandemic pushed the prices low, but don't rely on them staying there.

    So, to summarize: Tanzania implemented precautions due to Covid-19 situation, people understand and obey them, lodges and hotels take special care of hygiene and sanitation, wildlife and nature are even more amazing and the prices are historically low. A great melange for the best travel ever. Experience it with us!

    Source on travel restrictions: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/tanzania/entry-requirements
    Last update: 1 day ago.

  • Money Tips for Travel to Tanzania

    AdminSoa
    April 27, 2020

    Below are few good to know insider money tips for travel to Tanzania that can turn out useful knowing them prior to arrival to the country.

  • What is the Best Safari in Kenya?

    Chris
    January 23, 2020

    Where Can I Have the Best Safari in Kenya?

    When it comes to planning the best safari in Kenya, logistics makes things a little bit confusing.

    Unlike Tanzania, where the entire Northern Circuit can be packed into a five-day itinerary, Kenya's diverse landscapes mean that you'll often be forced to choose between parks. Will you see the red elephants of Tsavo or the Special Five at Samburu.

    In a perfect world, you'll have the time to just visit all of them. We know that isn't always realistic, especially if you're planning a safari on a budget.

    To make the decision easier, we've selected the highlights of each of the major Kenyan national parks. You can mix and match with your safari expert to design the perfect itinerary!

    Are you planning a Kenya safari? Here is the best safari in Kenya to help you plan your Africa safari trip! #kenya #safari #africa #travel

    The Maasai Mara

    No visit to Kenya would be complete without a visit to the world-famous Maasai Mara. Home to the Wildebeest Migration for 3-5 months of the year, the sprawling Maasai Mara is the quintessential safari destination.

    As Kenya's most popular safari destination, the Maasai Mara is home to a huge variety of accommodation. From budget tented camps on the outskirts all the way up to luxury lodges on the Mara River, there truly is something for all budgets.

    Even if you aren't visiting during the Wildebeest Migration (August - October), the Maasai Mara remains one of the best places in the world to spot the Big Five. You might even get lucky and spot African Wild Dogs!

    Private Conservancies

    While the Maasai Mara is a massive park in its own right and has a wealth of accommodation options, those looking for a more luxurious, secluded safari may want to consider the various private conservancies in the area.

    Many of the lodges and camps within these conservancies offer game packages inclusive of game drives, activities, meals, and alcohol. You can even purchase these packaged with flights to and from Nairobi.

    While you'll get an undoubtedly unforgettable luxury experience in such conservancies, it's important to note that even private conservancy guests will need to enter the Maasai Mara proper in order to see a river crossing on the Mara River.

    flamingos lake nakuru lake bogoria kenya

    The Lakes (Lake Nakuru, Lake Naivasha, and Lake Bogoria)

    Often combined with the Maasai Mara due to their placement between Nairobi and the Mara, Naivasha, Bogoria, and Nakuru can be combined into a two night/three-day extension that can add a lot of depth to your trip.

    Lake Nakuru National Park is the only one of the lakes to be a true national park. While it is no longer home to the flamingos that once made it famous, the park is nonetheless an excellent place for a game drive - especially if you're interested in seeing rhinoceroses.

    Remember those world-famous images of massive flocks of flamingos on Lake Nakuru? The flock might have moved on, but it can still be seen in Lake Bogoria. You won't find a lot of big game here, but Lake Bogoria's resident flamingos are a drawcard all of their own.

    Last, but certainly not least, Lake Naivasha is one of Shadows of Africa's favorite places. Overnighting on the shores of Lake Naivasha gives you the chance to take a boat safari and/or a walking safari in nearby Crescent Island Game Sanctuary.

    Hell's Gate National Park

    Located a short drive from most Lake Naivasha hotels, Hell's Gate National Park is a geologically active park with a unique volcanic landscape that is said to have inspired the landscapes in The Lion King.

    With no big game to worry about, Hell's Gate National Park is a terrific place to enjoy a bike ride or hike. You can even go rock climbing here!

    If you're looking for a break from the safari car, a day exploring Hell's Gate is a must.

    amboseli national park mount kilimanjaro kenya tanzania

    Amboseli National Park

    Amboseli National Park is home to the best views of Mount Kilimanjaro you'll find in either country.

    Located on the Kenya-Tanzania border, Amboseli is often used as a bridge between the Tanzanian and Kenyan legs of a safari. Where better to photograph elephants than against the backdrop of the Roof of Africa?

    Even if you aren't visiting Tanzania, it is possible to include Amboseli National Park in a five-day Kenyan itinerary. You can combine it with Lake Nakuru and the Maasai Mara to get a more diverse safari experience.

    Tsavo East & Tsavo West

    Often overlooked due to being a bit more 'out of the way', Tsavo East and Tsavo West lie between Amboseli National Park and the Kenya Coast.

    Combined, Tsavo East and Tsavo West account for 4% of Kenya's total landmass, making them one of the world's largest national parks. While they are home to the Big Five, their isolation and the relative sparsity of wildlife means they aren't recommended for first-time visitors.

    Tsavo West's unique blend of landscapes makes it a surreal place to visit. Extinct volcanoes, swamps, rolling plains, and natural springs combine to create an almost alien environment. While lower wildlife density might be off-putting, world-class birding and the distinctive landscape make it a photographer's dream.

    Neighbouring Tsavo East is semi-arid and can boast better wildlife viewing due to the lack of vegetation. It is here you'll find the famous red elephants of Kenya, whose habit of taking dust baths in the ruddy earth lends them a martian hue.

    If this isn't your first safari or you've got a few extra days, a trip to the twin parks of Tsavo West & Tsavo East can be a great way to add something unique to your trip.

    Samburu National Reserve

    Samburu

    Wild and rugged Samburu is home to Kenya's unique "Special Five". The special five include the reticulated giraffe, Grevy's zebra, Somali ostrich, Beisa Oryx, and Gerenuk. These five animals cannot be seen together anywhere else in the world.

    Samburu is often combined with the Maasai Mara to form a Big Five and Special Five safari. It is ideal for those wanting to get off the beaten track and see something different.

    Buffalo Springs

    Along with nearby Shaba Game Reserve, Buffalo Springs lies in the same ecosystem as Samburu. Boasting the same rugged charm and unique wildlife, it is even more off the beaten track than Samburu.

    Buffalo Springs is usually recommended for those taking an extended safari in the Samburu region, as it does not offer anything that more accessible Samburu doesn't.

    masai people kenya maasai mara

    Ol Pejeta/Sweetwaters

    Ol Pejeta (otherwise known as Sweetwaters) is the ideal inclusion for a family safari in Kenya.

    Part resort and part private reserve, Ol Pejeta Conservancy is home to something for everyone.

    First and foremost, Ol Pejeta is a terrific game-viewing destination. It is home to the highest density of wildlife in Kenya after the Maasai Mara. It is also home to the largest black rhinoceros sanctuary in East Africa. You'll even find two of the last Northern White Rhinoceros in the world here!

    Ol Pejeta is also home to a group of 37 chimpanzees, making it a great place to see our closest living relatives without having to take a trek to Uganda or Rwanda.

    There is also the opportunity to track lions on foot, spot endangered African wild dogs, go hiking or cycling, go horseback riding alongside rhinos, take night game drives, and so much more.

    mount kenya aberdare national park kenya

    Aberdare National Park/Mount Kenya

    An often-overlooked gem in Kenya's north, Aberdare National Park is a heavily forested, mountainous park famous more for its treehouse-style accommodation than wildlife viewing.

    It was here that Queen Elizabeth was vacationing when she became Queen, and the romance of that story still draws tourists to the park. We even offer a Royal Tree safari to recapture that magic.

    The park is technically home to the Big Five but a trip to Aberdare is more about the experience than the quality of game viewing. It offers unparalleled serenity in a unique, mountainous environment not found anywhere else in Kenya.

    Climbing Mount Kenya

    Africa's second-highest mountain isn't quite as famous as Mount Kilimanjaro, but Mount Kenya is worthy of your attention It may even be preferable to Kilimanjaro if you're looking for a more challenging and less crowded experience.

    Climbs range in length from 3-5 days, with different routes offering different levels of difficulty.

    maasai people mombasa kenya coast malindi watamu

    The Kenya Coast

    Zanzibar in Tanzania maybe East Africa's most famous beach destination, but don't sleep on Kenya's coast. There are some who even argue that the beaches of Malindi and Watamu are better than anything you'll find on Zanzibar.

    Accessible by overland transfer (via Tsavo East & West), train, or flights from Nairobi or the Maasai Mara, the Kenyan coast boasts similar white sand beaches and turquoise waters with much more competitive pricing than you'll find on Zanzibar.

    While crowded Mombasa isn't the ideal beach destination, there are gorgeous resorts in nearby Watamu and Malindi made for rest & relaxation.

    Which Kenya safari is the best? Here's how to plan the ultimate safari in Kenya for your trip to Africa! #kenya #africa #safari #travel

    Why Choose?

    Of course, if you've got the time and the budget, it's totally possible to visit all of the above parks in a single itinerary.

    Our ten-day Complete Kenya safari visits the lion's share of the above parks, but speak with your Shadows of Africa safari expert about creating an itinerary that covers the width and breadth of Africa.

  • 5 Differences Between Tanzanian and Kenyan Safaris

    Chris
    November 30, 2019
    What are the differences between Tanzanian and Kenyan safaris? We highlight the five biggest differences between the two safari destinations.
  • 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.
  • How to Spend Two Weeks in Tanzania

    Chris
    August 16, 2019

    How to Spend Two Weeks in Tanzania

    When it comes to experiencing the beauty and majesty of Tanzania, a single week just isn't enough! If you've got two weeks and you're looking for a truly unforgettable African experience, spending two weeks in Tanzania is the perfect way to do it.

    Whether you're seeing wildlife on safari, relaxing on gorgeous beaches, or pushing yourself to the limit with a Mount Kilimanjaro climb, Tanzania really does have something for everybody.

    So, how do you plan a two week trip to Tanzania?

    Don't worry, we've got you covered.

    Week One: Safari

    Unless you've already 'been there, done that', it would be criminal to visit Tanzania for two weeks and not go on safari.

    Regardless of what time of year you're visiting, taking a week to go on safari is always a good idea. While the Serengeti, Ngorongoro, and other Northern Circuit parks are the obvious attraction, repeat visitors will find plenty to amaze them in the often-overlooked Southern Circuit parks such as Selous and Ruaha.

    Shadows of Africa has a number of safaris that fit into a single week. In fact, all of our Wildebeest Migration safaris take just five or six days.

    With a night in Arusha before and after your safari, you have the perfect way to spend a week in Tanzania.

    You can see our full range of Tanzanian safaris on our tours page.

    Week Two: Zanzibar

    The name Zanzibar conjures up images of exotic beauty. It is an island of white sand beaches, turquoise waters, and a charming melting pot of cultures.

    If you've got two weeks in Tanzania planned, taking some time to relax on the picturesque beaches is a great way to unwind after your safari. Heck, you can even start your trip here and then go on safari from Zanzibar!

    While the temptation may be there to spend all of your time on the beaches, the Shadows of Africa strongly recommends also spending some time in Stone Town. It is a great way to learn more about the history of Zanzibar.

    Why not spend a night at Maru Maru or the Park Hyatt, take a guided Stone Town tour, and finish it all with a delicious spice plantation experience?

    You can then head to the beaches of Pongwe, Nungwi, Matemwe, Paje, or wherever tickles your fancy for some oceanfront R&R. Not sure where to go? We've got an amazing guide to Zanzibar beaches to help you make the right choice!

    Alternative: Climbing Kilimanjaro

    Maybe you've been on safari before or you're interested in a shorter safari like our Northern Circuit special.

    Maybe you've got amazing beaches at home and want to try something different.

    Whatever the reason, the other big attraction (pun intended) in Tanzania is Mount Kilimanjaro: Africa's highest mountain.

    Shadows of Africa can arrange climbing packages from the popular Marangu and Machame routes to routes like Umbwe and Lemosho.

    With climbs taking 5-9 days, a Kilimanjaro climb can even be squeezed in between a safari and a Zanzibar escape.

    Planning the Perfect Two Weeks in Tanzania

    Are you trying to plan your trip to Tanzania?

    Why not contact us today and talk to a Shadows of Africa safari expert about how we can plan the perfect two week trip to Tanzania for you.

    Whether it's a two-week safari, a safari/beach escape, or all three - Shadows of Africa has got you covered!

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