Photography Safaris

Kenya is among the best locations for wildlife photography in the world. There are many national parks with plenty of mammals and birds that do not exist in the wild outside of Africa. In particular, the Masai Mara National Reserve in southern Kenya, along the border with Tanzania, is generally regarded to be the best of the best. From the US, there are photography safaris which dedicate entire two-week trips to the Masai Mara. However, for first timers, it is probably better to visit several parks and get a flavor from different locations. The disadvantage of visiting too many parks is that one would be spending a lot of time packing and unpacking as well as traveling among destinations, thus cutting into the time for wildlife photography and viewing. Moreover, some the roads in Kenya are in very poor condition. It takes a major toll on the vehicles and gives the passengers a very unpleasant ride.

Please keep in mind that this article is written from the point of view of a serious amateur photographer. If your objective is to shoot high-quality wildlife photographs, in my opinion you need to bring some long lenses and join a photography-specific tour that go out early in the morning and stay till early evening (with a long break at noon when the light is harsh). Moreover, since one will be photographing from safari vehicles most of the time, it is important to have no more than 3 or 4 photographers in each vehicle; otherwise, they will be interfering with one another. There are more economical ways to travel to East Africa on a more leisurely pace; you can still have a great time and take some good pictures with a point-and-shoot camera. In fact, my favorite lion photograph from my trip was taken at 10am with a 80-200mm zoom lens hand held from a vehicle cramped with ten passengers. You can get lucky occasionally, but the odds are against you under those conditions.

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