“Everything in Africa bites but the safari bug is worst of all.” – Brian Jackman

It’s always exciting planning your next safari trip. With a good camera and a few essentials, you are ready to take the most amazing photos of the incredible scenery and amazing wildlife you are about to encounter on your safari trip. So it’s time to pack your camera bag!

Our top picks for your next Safari Holiday 1

Suggested cameras for your safari

The most important thing first: you always need a trustworthy camera! When shooting with a camera you are familiar with it gives you the confidence to adjust to the conditions unfolding in front of you. If you don’t own a good camera yet, a safari trip is a good excuse to get one. 😉

The Canon EOS R5 Full-Frame Mirrorless Digital Camera features a newly developed 45MP CMOS sensor, which offers 8K RAW video recording and 12 fps continuous shooting with a mechanical shutter. It’s perfect for photographers who need resolution, speed and video capabilities in one full-frame and portable mirrorless camera. When you’re shooting where the action is the Sandisk Extreme Pro 128GB CFexpress Memory Card will work well with the R5 with read speeds up to 1700MB/s and write speeds up to 1200MB/s.

Sporting a high-resolution 45.7MP FX-format BSI CMOS sensor and dual EXPEED 6 image processors, the Nikon Z7 II Mirrorless Digital Camera is clearly aimed at the detail-obsessed image-maker. The Z7 II retains its overall physical design, however, it has been updated with a new dual memory card slot interface to hold one CFexpress Type B card and one SD UHS-II card for more flexible storage. Have a look at the Lexar 128GB Professional CFexpress Memory Card. This card delivers read speeds of up to 1750 MB/s and write speeds of up to 1000 MB/s, both of which help to improve transfer speeds between the card and your computer, as well as accelerate your workflow.

With a shooting speed of up to 10fps, the Sony Alpha a7R IVA Mirrorless Digital Camera allows you to capture decisive moments, such as the motion of wild animals, with remarkable image resolution. This a7R IVA offers the world’s first 61MP full-frame image sensor, 15-stop dynamic range, continuous bursts up to 10 fps, updated design enhancements, and much more. With such speed, you will need a memory card that will be able to keep up! Capture high-quality images with the Lexar 128GB Professional 2000x UHS-II SDXC Memory Card. This memory card features UHS Speed Class 3 (U3) compatibility ensuring a minimum data write speed of 30 MB/s along with a maximum read speed of up to 300 MB/s (2000x).

Suggested lenses for your safari

Invest in one or two really good lenses. It might seem like a big investment when buying but the quality makes it worth it! If you would like to test the lenses before you consider buying them, you can also rent them from our rentals department.

A zoom lens is great for travelling when space and weight is an issue. It’s highly versatile, allowing you to use it in many different situations. The Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS USM and Nikon Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S lenses are great to get close to the action. The Canon RF 100-500mm is a versatile telephoto zoom lens and the optical Image Stabilisation also helps to steady photos. The Nikon Z 100-400mm covers a broad telephoto range and manages to remain relatively lightweight and compact, making it ideal for travel.

A prime lens offers excellent image quality with incredible sharpness and contrast with minimal aberrations and distortions. Although there’s a lack in the convenience of being able to recompose your image quickly, the quality of the image makes up for that. Here we would suggest something like a Sony FE 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS or a Canon RF 600mm f/4L IS USM lens. The Sony FE 400mm combines a super-telephoto length, bright aperture, and lightweight design. The fast f/2.8 aperture provides great depth of field control for isolating subjects as well as maximising performance for low-light shooting situations. The Canon RF 600mm is a powerful super-telephoto lens that puts wildlife photographers right in the middle of the action.

Top tip:
If you don’t want to change lenses when you’re on a game drive we would suggest carrying two camera bodies, each with a different lens attached. Furthermore, the dusty environment is not very kind to the sensitive camera sensors so eliminating the need to swap lenses is a huge plus! It’s crucial to keep your lenses and camera equipment clean and well maintained. The Zeiss Cleaning Kit is ideal for the road to remove anything from fingerprints and grains of sand to the smallest dust particles on dirty lenses.

Our top picks for your next Safari Holiday 2

Binoculars recommendations

You definitely want to pack a pair of binoculars for your trip. This is especially helpful to spot wildlife as Mother Nature did a good job to camouflage them! The 8×42 or 10×42 allow for sufficient enlargement, sizeable exit pupil and would usually be available in a compact size. 

You can have a look at binoculars like the Zeiss Terra ED 10×42 or the Nikon Monarch M5 8×42.

The Zeiss Terra ED 10×42 binoculars, with their fibreglass-reinforced and waterproof casing, fulfil the high expectations of the outdoor enthusiast. The Terra ED is the ideal companion that weighs little, fits easily into most pockets and is almost indestructible. 

Experience nature, bird-watching and outdoor activities up close with the Nikon Monarch M5 8×42. The optical performance produces a contrast-rich and high-resolution image with true-to-life colour and minimal colour fringing that is received from the extra-low dispersion (ED) glass. The result? Better, more clear and brighter optics to take your adventure to new heights.

Keeping your gear safe

Your bag needs to be high quality, made of durable material and be big enough to hold all your camera gear. Comfortably and securely carry your gear in the rugged Lowepro Pro Trekker BP 450 AW II Backpack. The main compartment of this backpack features an adjustable partition system with 11 dividers that easily fits a DSLR or mirrorless camera with a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, a 300mm f/2.8 lens and three additional lenses.

The Morally Toxic Wraith Messenger Bag is designed for the on-the-go photographer wanting optimum storage for cameras and accessories. Internal dividers inside the bags have built-in pockets, which close with Velcro tabs. These allow users to keep cables, lens cloths, filters, spare batteries, snacks etc. organised and tidy.

Our top picks for your next Safari Holiday 3

Be wise, accessories 😉

You will need a few accessories as well. Seeing as you will be spending a lot of time in your vehicle and the equipment can get quite heavy a Badger Gear Snuggfit Bean Bag will help to keep your lens steady. They can be used to rest your lens on the door, window frame or roof and can easily be moved around as wildlife is always on the move! The Swarovski Bino Suspender Pro Binocular Harness takes the strain off your neck area by evenly distributing the weight of binoculars across the upper body. As well as keeping them close to your body to prevent swinging and swaying. Quick-connection buckles enable the binoculars to be quickly detached at any moment.

Patience is key when shooting wildlife so why not invest in a few good books? This could especially be helpful for the long waits at waterholes. Aardvark to Zebra Animal Guide is the result of 20 years’ research and investigation towards a unique collection of facts about 70 of South Africa’s wild animals. In addition to being used as a hand guide during field trips it also provides interesting reading for young and old who would like to know more about our wildlife. Here is a peek at some of the questions touched on:

  • Why do hyenas smell so bad?
  • Has anyone ever been killed by a tortoise?
  • Do wild dogs pose any danger to people?
  • What signs in the wild betrays the presence or shelter of a porcupine?

Whether you are an avid bird watcher or just getting started, Sappi Birds of South Africa will help you identify all of the birds you’re likely to see in South Africa. The Callfinder pen unlocks a rich learning experience by allowing you to scan the picture and then hear the birds sound through the pen. 

Remember to always have plenty of fully charged batteries. A game drive could provide opportunities for hundreds of shots and you don’t want to run out of battery right before sunset! Some of the most exciting moments happen in the magical light of dawn and dusk.

Our top picks for your next Safari Holiday 4