The thrill of seeing African wildlife never lessens. For those who venture onto the Serengeti and expansive plains of the great continent never leave without having an experience indelibly engraved on their souls. Not only is the wildlife endlessly forthcoming in its magnificence, the scenery is often jaw dropping. As a photographer, when visiting Africa, I always find that magnificence with little to no effort.
My first trip to Africa was memorably the best. The first of most life changing events has a special impact that launches them into a category of their own. I was on a photo safari with 9 other people. I was the novice in the group which meant I had mentors – willing or not – around me the entire trip. Our lodging came with all the amenities of luxury camping. Other than a minor glitch requiring shower repair while out in the bush, I couldn’t have been happier if I were in a 5 Star Hilton.
Photo safaris are the best way to get the shots of a lifetime. Geared to bring you literally face to face with the big seven, a reputable outfitter is the best way to initially get acquainted with the “Dark Continent”. Being safe is of primary concern. Even the most outstanding shot and there are so many – is not worth capturing if putting a life in danger. After all, that would be such a buzz kill.
The tour operators that I highly recommend keep safety first. These are my favorites:
This outfit has been around for 35 years. They under promise and over deliver. I suppose Tanzania’s Serengeti has something to do with it, along with their attentive staff and knowledgeable guides. Thomson has brought the experience of a lifetime to as many as 25,000 photo buffs and professional photographers alike.
Tip: If you want to see lions, elephants, water buffalo and a variety of wildlife book your trip during the migration periods. Large and small game such as hippos and hyenas, crocs and zebra are all on the move as the weather patterns dictates their survival.
Dark Continent Employer
Started by US Adventure Biologist and photographer Wade Nolan sixteen years ago, DCE offices are located in the US. They specialize in customizing trips through Southern Africa depending on the wishes of the client. Arrangements are made by the expert, first-hand experience of Wade and his knowledgeable staff. Game drives and bush walks are both available to the adventurous. Safety is the number one concern and trained guides who know how to handle any situation are always at hand. While in camp, a guide will be attentive at all time and even accompany you as you walk from your tent to the privy.
Learn your way across Botswana while enjoying the eyes-on expertise of Andy Biggs’ photo workshop. Andy Biggs takes his students – who may be beginners to the more advanced, into the raw, lush environments of Botswana and the Okavango Delta. Traveling in the company of a professional photographer who knows light and the nuances of the area guarantees a rich and rewarding experience. Andy has taught his African safari workshops but recently announced that his company is expanding to include Greece, Italy and Egypt. Andy only employs top notch instructors who provide the same level of expertise and guidance, but if you want to get on one of Andy’s personal adventures you’ll have to do some delft finagling.
What has been your most exotic photo safari? If not Africa, then where have you gotten your best shots? Leave a comment below and share your story.