Wednesday, 19 December 2012

The information you don't hear about going on a safari

So you have always wanted to go on safari!?!?

Who hasn’t… the land that time forgot where animals that we admire in local zoos or on the Animal Planet roam free and live as they were intended. What a fantastic opportunity for anyone with a camera to visit. It’s just not the wildlife, its also the landscape photography opportunities… from the majestic waterfalls in Botswana, to Mount Kilimanjaro and the iconic Serengeti in Tanzania, the Atlas mountain range in Morocco and the red sand dunes in Namibia; Africa offers the photographer the opportunity to photograph vistas that one just cannot capture at home…
 
But after you read the propaganda and see the photos that draw you in, travellers to Africa should make sure they are prepared for a visit to the Dark Continent. Don’t get me wrong… its worth any amount of planning and preparation to get this once in a lifetime chance to see this part of the world… I just believe in being prepared and I believe in full disclosure with my clients…

Travel time – this isn’t a quick puddle jump flight. Be prepared for a trans-Atlantic flight with at least one stop, sometimes two, depending on your end destination. A typical flight to Tanzania in eastern Africa for me in Toronto, Canada will have me departing later in the day and arriving in Amsterdam, Frankfurt or London the following morning. From there you will have a layover from anywhere from 2 hours to 4 hours before your flight to Africa. My next flight will see me leaving in the afternoon of day one and arriving in Arusha, Tanzania at 7:30pm the next day.

Like I said before though… it’s worth it… stepping off that plane and being driven out to your safari is an absolutely awesome feeling!



Getting your shots – Like the boy scouts say, “Be Prepared”… but remember this… DO NOT get all your shots at once. Spread them our over a period of time and consult your physician. Depending on where you are coming from will determine what shots you need to get… but I highly recommend them to ensure you have an awesome time on your safari.
Safety on Safari – You may hear about robberies, or even worse… but let me say that the media does tend to exaggerate. I am not professing that tourists do not get robbed, or people do not get killed… but you just have to be smart. Would you walk around Toronto, L.A. or N.Y.C. with thousands of dollars in camera gear, alone after dark in some strange alley? Probably not… it’s really common sense. Stay in the populated areas, do not go out alone at night and take taxis instead of walking in strange areas. Tourism in countries like South Africa, Botswana, Tanzania, Kenya, and others is a very large part of the local economy. These countries have a vested interest to make sure you are as safe as they can make it… It is not an unsafe destination when you are visiting the more well known countries… Do not let this scare you away from Africa!

“I don’t want to go because I am stuck in a safari vehicle the whole time” – I hear that from people all the time. It’s a valid point… the only photos we ever really see is people in a safari vehicle… smiling and taking photos as they drive through the parks.

It’s really not the case… some tour company’s offer walking safaris. There is nothing more liberating to have stood on the grounds of a national park in Africa… the same area where wild animals roam… If you really wanted you could hire guides that will take you on a walking safari so you can stand and take photos of the wandering animals and unforgettable landscapes…

I would love it if you could join me and my fellow workshop leaders on one of our trips to Africa… it is such an amazing experience that I would love to share with you…

We are headed there in 2013 and multiple times in 2014. See those tours here…

2014 workshops - http://www.photographers-lounge.com/photo-tours/our-2014-photo-tours

Kev