Experiencing the excitement of witnessing a lion stalking its prey or a leopard carrying its kill up a tree is truly incomparable. Just picture the possibility of capturing these extraordinary moments in a stunning photograph. While wildlife photography is immensely fulfilling, it comes with its share of challenges, requiring patience and dedicated practice. To assist you in maximizing your photographic journey in the African bush, we’ve compiled some valuable tips!

Don’t have the correct equipment for your safari?

You have the option to rent cameras and lenses from local companies such as Africa Photographic Services for the duration of your trip, sparing you the need to purchase the perfect gear before your travels. During your safari, we provide sandbags in our game viewers, specifically designed to fit over the rail. providing you with a convenient way to rest your equipment on them while capturing shots.

Camera and Lenses

In the realm of photography, both the camera and lens are crucial components, but the lens holds particular significance due to its profound impact on image attributes such as sharpness, contrast, and color accuracy, influenced by the quality of lens glass, coating, and construction. Opting for a lens with a fast aperture, like f2.8, proves advantageous in challenging low-light conditions, allowing more light compared to an f4.5 lens.

This fast aperture also contributes to creating a shallow depth of field, as exemplified by lenses like the Canon 70-200mm f2.8. In wildlife photography, precision is key, with most lenses maintaining apertures around f4 or f5.6. When on a safari, a telephoto zoom lens, typically in the range of 100-400mm, is recommended for capturing close-up shots, given the close proximity our vehicles attain with the wildlife. Some photographers also opt for a wide-angle lens, such as the 24-105mm, for scenic shots, while the extra focal length provided by a 500mm or 600mm lens proves beneficial in specialized bird photography.


  • Rule of thirds: when an image frame is divided into 3 equal segments both horizontally and vertically, place important visual elements on one of the horizontal or vertical lines or where two of these lines meet. The point at which the vertical and horizontal lines meet is called a “power point”. This is a good place to place your subject or the horizon. For example, if photographing a portrait of an animal, place the eyes on the top third line. HOWEVER, photography is an art therefore if the rule doesn’t work, then do what looks best to your eye.
  • Pay attention to your angle: try to photograph your subjects at eye level. It makes the viewer feel more connected to the photograph. However, it is not always possible to photograph at eye level if you are photographing from within a vehicle so get creative with unusual angles too.
  • The background can play an important role: e.g. rather photograph the bird that has a clear background than the one sitting in front of many distracting branches. Try blur the background as much as possible by using a wide open aperture such as f2.8 (or as low as your lens allows).
  • Play around with negative space: this is the area that surrounds the main subject. Ideally you always want the animal to look towards the negative space. If there is not enough negative space around the animal it might appear cramped. Similarly if there is too much negative space around the animal, the photo might look unbalanced.
  • Make sure the animal’s eyes are in focus. Using a shallow depth of field (blurring the background) can help make the eyes stand out.
  • Have patience! Animals are unpredictable. It can take some time before the animal is in the right position. Take multiple shots to increase your chances of getting a great image!
  • Often an elevated head is better than a feeding head so wait for the animal to stop feeding and look up at you. This is where patience comes in!
  • Shooting in your camera’s auto mode is often good enough. However it can be limiting in certain situations. That is why many photographers shoot in Aperture Priority whilst on safari (Av or A on your camera’s dial). When in this mode, you select the aperture value (e.g. f4.5) and your camera automatically sets the shutter speed. If your image is too dark or too blurry, increase your ISO. (Remember the lower the aperture number, the blurrier the background and the more light is able to enter your camera.)
  • Make sure you have a fast shutter speed to freeze action. If you know you are about to photograph action, such as an animal running or a bird in flight, you will need a fast shutter speed. Therefore prepare for this in advance so that you are ready before the action happens.
  • Be ready at all times! As you approach a sighting, take your lens cap off (if it isn’t already), make sure your camera is on and check your settings are correct for that scene so that you are ready for action!
  • Practise! It helps to have some knowledge at your fingertips before coming on safari so spend some time in a park or in your garden photographing birds and your pets to get the hang of your camera and settings.

If delving into the world of photography feels overwhelming, consider taking advantage of our in-house photographer’s expertise. She is available to address any inquiries you may have and can be booked to capture your safari sightings, allowing you to immerse yourself in the moment. Reach out to our reservations department to inquire about our various packages, preferably booking in advance.

Additionally, our photographic hub features a professional photographic printer, offering you the opportunity to print your magical safari moments. These images undergo meticulous editing and are printed on the finest quality archival fine art papers, ranging from smooth-textured bamboo to a rough, watercolor-textured cotton paper.

So, why wait? Grab your camera, start capturing those moments, and envision adorning the walls of your home with beautiful safari images.