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| p.1 #7 · African safari & 300 f2.8 |
Take care with how you travel. Each African destination varies, and I think the private reserves around Kruger offer some of the best viewing and photo opportunities. National Parks come with a lot of rules such as not being able to drive off tracks and starting after sunup and back in camp before sunset. The private reserves such as Mala Mala have a much freer hand and can get you within a few yards of lions and leopards, with a bit of night viewing as well. Also each area has its own environment and game varieties. Some have very few cheetah while at others leopards are very rarely seen and so on. Research and stoppig off at different camps is important if you wish to get a good variety of animals. Animals are seen at all distances from a few yards to a hundred or so yards. While a good prime wll make those whiskers stand out a 100-400 will enable the same shot to be taken over a much greater range of distances. Changing converters "on the go" is a pain, often there is very limited time in which to get the shot, and it is difficult to know what is coming up next. There is a reason why even with primes, most photographers have a 100-400 mounted on another body.
The type of vehicle used is also important, an enclosed vehicle such as a car or minibus is difficult to shoot from as access is need on both sides. The landcruiser with an open top provided by the camps is ideal.
For first timers I would recommend the reserves to the west of Kruger for, say 3+3 nights, and then hop to somewhere copletely different, the open plains of Tanzania or Kenya depending on the time of year for another 3+3.
Finally don't plan on staying 2 days and hoping to see everything, it doesn't work like that, the more time on the ground on drives the greater the chance of seeing the best action, so plan to stay at each location for 3 -4 nights, and something like 10-14 days total (after which i'm prettyy well animaled out)..