What to wear while on the safari?

A question I have been asked many a times…

This actually according to me is no big deal. One doesn’t have to spend thousands of rupees on clothes before embarking on a safari tour. Look at the attached pic of the Masai . They wear simple clothes with just a simple leather wear. And they are fine! Doesn’t mean you got to wear like them!! But simple regular clothes are good enough.

Kenya Mara

I would suggest comfortable clothing to keep you cool while on the game drives and in the bush and some simple warm clothing in case the evenings get a little chilly. And we might also need a little warm clothing while on the early morning game drives. Fleece pullovers are more than enough.

During the mid morning and afternoon game drives, shorts are pretty good and convenient especially when the day starts getting warmer. Casual clothes are fine for day wear with T shirts, polo shirts or button up shirts being pretty comfortable.
Shoes or sandals are both comfortable while I prefer closed shoes, like the walking shoes. Make sure you carry enough pairs of socks as sometimes you could sweat in the shoes.

During the evenings, long pants with light clothing with a fleece should be more than enough. Make sure you are covered well and use of mosquito repellents is advised. Flat shoes or sandals may give your feet some breathing and rest.

There are no particular colour requirements of your clothing while on a safari. Some guides and portals do recommend you to wear earth colours like the greens, browns and beige. I wouldn’t say no to this statement but it doesn’t matter what colour you wear unless you are tracking wildlife on foot. Of course light coloured clothes may get dirty.

Pack your bags lightly. Will be more comfortable for you in case you are also carrying extensive photography equipment. Less luggage more comfort! Most of our resorts have laundry services and which are not expensive. And in most cases, clothes picked up in the morning are returned in the evening. So this is more of a comfort than a luxury. However, please note that some safari properties may not wash undergarments. So it is advisable to have a good supply of them.
Do not bring camouflage clothing as it is not considered a fashion statement in Africa!!!

Travel light… travel easy…

Lens for Wildlife Photography…which one is good?

This is another question which is frequently asked…

There are enough and more combinations of lenses that we could take on a wildlife safari. They are of all different sizes, with various ranges of apertures and believe me this will make you go crazy! What is more important is what the requirement is. These lenses often cater to specific photographic situations. And its more wise to decide what we want to shoot rather than picking up a particular lens because ‘so and so’ carries that lens with him or her on safaris. For instance, a 400 mm telephoto lens allows you to get close to your subject while maintaining enough distance to avoid scaring them away. But these larger lenses can be expensive. Alternatively you might look at a 100 – 400mm lens which might fit well in your budget, but will come with a compromise in comparison with a 400 prime lens with regard to the aperture.

Kenya Mara If you can afford one, a lens with aperture that goes down to 2.8 nothing like that as it gives you room for a great and significant versatility. The lower aperture range allows photographers to get many subjects in the frame and more specifically those at different distances from the camera, and all this in focus at the same time. Lenses with Image Stabilizers are the best while on a safari to compensate for the blur as a result of your hands shaking which is quite inevitable. So you should look for lenses with the Image Stabilizing feature.

There is no prescribed lens for wildlife photography. Different situations and applications call for different equipments. What might be useful in photographing animals may not be sufficient for bird photography. We also need to remember that more elusive animals such as the leopards and mountain lions may be seen from very long distances for which we would requires larger zoom lenses. Whereas if you are just planning on shooting wildlife from 50 meters or so, a 300 mm or even a 200 mm lens would probably be enough. So situation and application is the best judge in selecting our tools!

One thing for sure with cameras is, you get what you pay for! And most bargains come at a price in terms of compromised quality. If someone said ‘this is the cheap and best camera’, remember he is only interested in selling the camera to you. Think and buy what suits you the best with regard to your requirement.

What is most important is whenever you are out to photograph wild animals, remember that light and motion are going to be critical factors which come into play and this means you will need machines with a wide array of abilities. And these days, the machines which nearly satisfy your needs are pretty expensive. The more sophisticated the lens or the body, the more you would need to spend. But the good news is, we don’t have to invest such enormous amounts of money these days on lenses and bodies as there are guys out there who have invested on your behalf and are happy to rent out their equipments for your tours and safaris. In my thought I think it is sensible to just rent out what you require, go on the trip that you always longed for and shoot happily!!!

Happy shooting!!!