Sabi Sabi, Kruger National Park, South Africa
Sabi Sabi, Kruger National Park, South Africa
Feelings before logistics:
Watching an elephant play in a watering hole, feeling the nurturing nature of a rhino as it coaxes its young to the water to drink, or seeing an African leopard play with its new cub are all marvelous experiences. Being ten feet away from a lion as his monstrous roar rips across the open plains is one of the more humbling experiences you can have.
The feeling of being so in touch with nature is just mind blowing. You will repeat to yourself, as I have, consistently over and over again. "I cannot believe I am on an African safari right now. I cannot believe that I am driving through the bush right now."
You’ll fly up and down dirt roads with a thousand suns beating down on your face while you cast your eyes to the open plains or the dense bush. The hot air will blast your face, sucking up any water left on your skin. You’ll see mountains made of boulders with trees sitting lonely on top.
Hidden within these areas are marvelous animals of the bush. You'll see impalas that are more jittery than a person after ten cups of coffee, and bison whose brains are the size of peas and will rush you for no reason whatsoever.
The sun could only last for a moment as you feel a sudden change in wind temperature that will have you look out onto the horizon to see lightning and storms readily advancing your way.
As you cast doubt aside and drive straight into the storm, you will be enlightened with the true feeling and fantastic energy of an African storm. The wind will rip through your clothes and the rain will beat down on you with droplets the size of marbles. The explosive lightning will pump the adrenaline through your veins, lighting up the sky and blinding you as it casts its bolts down. The thunder will deafen you with sounds of exploding rifles and booming cannons.
Africa is an amazing place and the bush is its best held secret. There is nothing else like it in the world.
Sabi Sabi, Kruger National Park
Most of the reserves that focus on hosting safaris will do them twice a day, and each outing will last about 3-4 hours. If you are lucky, you will have a game guide who is more focused on helping you get the shot your looking for rather then simply performing their job. These guides will stay out longer than your allotted time if you are on the tracks of something important.
During the summer months, keep in mind that if you are going to do both the daytime and nighttime safaris, you will not have much of an opportunity to sleep. The animals are only active in the early morning, dusk, and at nighttime, which means that you’ll be up at 5:00am and going to bed at around 10:30pm. During the winter, however, the animals' appearances will be a bit more condensed during the day.
On safari in Sabi Sabi you will see an array of animals. Most notably, you will see the Big Five: elephants, rhinos, lions, leopards, and buffalo.
I was fortunate in that I was able to see all five within 24 hours, but you can also witness other spectacular creatures such as zebras, impala, hippos, various birds, hyenas, and more elusive creatures such as the African Wildcat.
In Sabi Sabi there are four places to stay. I ended up at Selati Camp, which was spectacular, but if I were to come back I would probably change it up and stay at Earth Lodge. Earth Lodge is their signature lodge, and is entirely based on eco-friendliness. Selati Camp, on the other hand, has a much more rustic feel.
- I wouldn't encourage doing more than five or six days of straight Safari. You can absolutely do two full weeks while in Africa, but I would suggest taking a break in between. It can be draining on your body to photograph for 8-10 hours a day in the African heat. That, combined with limited sleep, can be challenging if you are going to do two straight weeks.
- Wear a hat and sun screen. I was out for twelve days on Safari and on day ten myself and my guide had the fun burden of getting heat stroke. Neither of us realized it until later, but it is not something to mess around with.
You will absolutely need a DSLR with a lens that reaches 400mm. You can get away with 300 but you will be missing out on potential intimate shots with the animals that you find.
Neither lugging around nor buying a 400mm ƒ2.8 or a 200-400mm ƒ4 lens is practical for travel photography. The solution is to get a 2x extender for one of your lenses. It turned my 70-200 ƒ2.8 into a 140-400 ƒ5.6 which worked out incredibly well for the trip. The extender is also small and light which helps drastically.
I would not go this route if your original lens is above ƒ2.8. Shooting with ƒ5.6 during the dusk and dawn while in a car is extremely challenging, and going above it will make photographing impossible.
- Canon 5DSr
- Canon 6D
- Canon 24-70mm ƒ2.8 L II
- Canon 70-200mm ƒ2.8 IS II
- Canon 24mm ƒ1.8 I
- Mefoto Tripod
- Canon 2x Lens Extender
If you're looking for gear check out BackCountry (Link Below) anything that I need I end up grabbing from them
Save the Rhino is doing incredible work in Asia and Africa. The rhino and its many different types of subspecies are consistently in danger of going extinct. The latest estimate is that the White Rhino in South Africa will be extinct in seven years. The rate of destruction has gone up drastically since the rise of Chinese hunters and only continues to grow. Many Shamans as well as Chinese believe that Rhino horn can be used to help with various aliments most notably, erectile dysfunction. All of these claims are incredibly false as the contents of a Rhino horn is keratin, which is the same substance as your finger nails and hair.
Rhino horns on the black market are currently going for around $250,000, which has seen poaching numbers rise to unfathomable numbers.
Save the Rhino's mission statement is to conserve viable populations of rhinos in the wild by:
- Raising funds to protect and increase rhino numbers and population distribution in African and Asian range states
- Facilitating the exchange of technical support and information between rhino conservation stakeholders
- Ensuring that local communities in key rhino areas benefit from employment, capacity building, education, outreach and the sustainable use of natural resources
- Developing and delivering behaviour-change campaigns to reduce the demand for rhino horn in consumer countries
- Raising global awareness of the need for urgent action on rhino conservation