African Photographic Safaris – Where To Go

For a keen photographer, being able to go on a photographic safari is surely top of the bucket-list. And Africa, with her range of light… from the soft light hues at dawn to the golden explosions of colour at sunset (never mind the incredible variety of fauna and flora), is truly a photographer’s paradise! In recent years we have seen a sharp rise in requests for photographic safaris and guides.  Travellers today want to take quality photos to record their safari experience as well as share where they were on social media.

Elephants sunset Photo Credit Sabine Stols

Spectacular sunsets and incredible animals in the same frame! Africa is blessed with incredible photographic opportunities (Photo Credit and Copyright: Sabine Stols Photography)

One of our preferred partners, Pangolin Photo Safaris have some of the best photographic guides in the industry and offer workshops for both beginners and seasoned photographers. They have perfected photographic safaris by cleverly adapting safari vehicles and boats that provide photographers with ‘front row seats’ to best capture thrilling wildlife moments. To get your creative photography juices flowing we’ve put together a list of our top photographic destinations and photographer-friendly lodges.

1. Botswana

Botswana is Africa’s premier wildlife-wonderland, and offers visitors some of the finest nature photographic opportunities in the world. Very few countries can rival the diversity in landscape (from the wetland delta to rivers, saltpans and the desert) or wildlife found here. Each region offers its own magical photo opportunities: think big cats stalking their prey in the estuaries of the Okavango Delta, or hundreds of elephants crossing the Chobe River.

Chobe National Park offers photographers the perfect canvas for capturing  that ‘perfect time, place, light and angle moment’ and is a favourite location for wildlife documentaries. Known for its remarkable elephant concentrations (the highest in Africa) its riverbanks are rich in buffalo and other antelope as well as all the large predators such as crocodiles and of course the lions that hunt them. The weather, sheer plethora of wildlife, and the use of customized riverboats or safari vehicles makes the Chobe one of Africa’s most desired photographic destinations. We recommend cruising the Chobe River on the Pangolin Voyager Houseboat. 

Pangolin Chobe River

Travel along the Chobe River in Pangolin Safaris’ boats – customised for photography

Baby elephant Janine Wildlife Photography

Can you imagine getting this close up to elephants in the Chobe?  This talented photographer was facilitated by Pangolin Photo Safaris  (Photo Credit and Copyright: Janine Krayer)

Okavango Delta needs little introduction and has UNESCO World Heritage Site status. Renowned for its incredible variety of wildlife and wetland ecosystem. Glide silently through the water channels in a mokoro (traditional canoe) or aboard a customized boat to get the best vantage point of rare birds and water adapted animals. We recommend Pangolin Khwai Camp located in the Delta’s northern finger of the Khwai Private Reserve.

Photo Safari Photo Credit Guts

Specifically modified boats perfect for shooting the spectacular beauty of Botswana’s watery wilderness. (Photo Credit and Copyright: Gerhard Swanepoel)

Hippo Photo Credit Charl Stols

One of the Delta’s most impressive inhabitants perfectly captured on film. (Photo Credit and Copyright: Charl Stols)

The Savuti Game Reserve (a remote region of the Chobe National Park) is another top Botswana photographic destination because of its abundant game and open woodland, perfect for capturing the big cats, buffalo, giraffe, large antelope and a variety of interesting predtors. The aridness of the Savuti also lends itself beautifully in contrast to the lush wetlands of the Okavango Delta. Stay at Pangolin Mobile Camp situated deep within the Savuti Game Reserve for a truly authentic experience ideally suited to landscape and wildlife photography.

2. South Africa

Colourful South Africa is legendary for its photography opportunities.  It is blessed with incredible landscapes, vibrant culture, interesting architecture, plenty of wildlife and a sunny, light-filled climate. The Kruger National Park region is easily accessible and renowned for up close Big 5 sightings, whilst the malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve offers ardent photographers stark, yet achingly beautiful red sand Kalahari landscapes.

One of the most scenic, and consistently rated as one of the world’s most beautiful cities, Cape Town is undoubtedly a firm favourite with photographers. There is a myriad of beautiful beaches, bays and valleys to be discovered, not to mention the spectacular sunsets best seen from the top of Table Mountain or Lions Head. The Mother City is also a melting pot of diverse cultures and colours.

Photo Safari Cape Town

Cape Town’s iconic beach bathing booths at Muizenberg Beach are a favourite  subject for photographers on the way down to Cape Point.

Situated on the border between South Africa and Botswana, the Madikwe Private Game Reserve is renowned for its spectacular Big 5 and wild dog sightings. We recommend staying at Jaci’s Lodges which offers photographers the chance to hone their skills at the newly built Terrapin Hide, ideally placed for hide photography as it offers optimal lighting conditions and a water perspective due to its position submerged in a busy watering hole.

Bordering the world-renowned Kruger National Park, Sabi Sands has some of the finest wildlife photography opportunities in Southern Africa, with unsurpassed game viewing, especially of the big cats. It is particularly well-known for its large leopard population making it a sought after destination for serious wildlife photographers.

Leopard Janine Wildlife Photography

Only a lucky few manage to capture the intricate markings and elusive beauty of a leopard. (Photo Credit and Copyright: Janine Krayer)

Giraffes Photo Credit Sabine Stols

South Africa is a fantastic destination to hone your photography skills as there’s so much wildlife to photograph. (Photo Credit and Copyright: Sabine Stols)

3. Kenya

Few countries in the world are blessed with photo opportunities around every corner as much as Kenya. From one of nature’s greatest spectacles, The Great Migration, to the m endless savannah grasslands where cheetah roam, to the stark contrast of a lone traditionally dressed Masai warrior surveying the vast wilderness.

For one of the greatest natural wildlife extravaganzas in the world visit the annual wildebeest migration in the Masai Mara where millions of wildebeest and zebra migrate to sweeter grasses.  We are familiar with excellent safari camps located in the Masai Mara conservancies that are perfectly situated to capture the migration action away from the crowds.

Migration Janine Wildlife Photography-1-386

Few places in the world offer as much wildlife and photographic action as one of the biggest wildlife spectacles on earth – The Great Migration. (Photo Credit and Copyright: Janine Krayer)

Malachite Photo Credit Sabine Stols

Capturing the bright metallic blue of the Malachite Kingfisher is no small feat as these  tiny birds are very shy. (Photo Credit and Copyright: Sabine Stols)

Samburu is one of Kenya’s photographic gems where you’ll have the opportunity of photographing and interacting with the splendid Samburu warriors, as well as an array of fascinating landscapes, plants and animals including the ‘Samburu Special Five’ which includes rare animals such as the Grevy’s Zebra, Reticulated Giraffe, Generuk, Beisa Oryx and Somali Ostrich.

4. Namibia

Namibia is another African country blessed with immense imagery potential. Famed for its vast open landscapes, abandoned towns, spectacular desert scenery, desert-adapted animals, and massive crimson-coloured sand dunes that stretch as far as the eye can see, this is a dream location for anyone who is passionate about photography.

Pangolin Photo Safaris also offer safaris that include famous Namibian destinations.  We recommend a scenic photographic train journey aboard the Pangolin Express (in partnership with Rovos Rail) for a relaxing photographic adventure to some of Namibia’s most iconic locations such as the Fish River Canyon, the ‘Ghost Town’ of Kolmanskop, the red dunes of Sossusvlei, Luderitz, Spitzkoppe and Swakopmund.  The dates in 2019 were specifically chosen to coincide with a New Moon, which allows for breathtaking star and night photography.

Baobab_Star Trail-Photo Credit Sabine Stols

A stunning example of twilight photography shot with a long exposure.(Photo Credit and Copyright: Sabine Stols)

Lion Charl Stols

Photography enthusiasts are spoilt for choice in Namibia with its range of arid landscapes, striking sunsets, and desert-adapted animals. (Photo Credit and Copyright: Charl Stols)

If the idea of a photographic safari vacation excites you, have a look at our Photo Safari In Southern Africa which takes you through some of Africa’s most iconic and captivating destinations such as Cape Town, Victoria Falls and the Chobe River Front. This itinerary is ideally suited for a group of six people looking for a great-value photographic safari.

Our chosen safari camps, lodges and suppliers welcome the opportunity to host keen photographers and offer photography-friendly benefits such as private vehicles with specialist photo guides, media rooms, and battery recharging stations.

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