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It’s official, I’m completely addicted to photographic safaris! 

Why? I recently visited Cheetah Plains Private Game Reserve with Nikon Africa Travel and had an incredible experience, certainly the most enjoyable and insightful photographic experience I have yet had in the bush.

Here are 10 examples of what makes a photo safari so addictive and why you should try one for yourself:

1) Early starts

Yes, a tap on the door at 4.30 can be pretty awful but once you’ve had that cup of coffee you’ll love being out there and getting that shot in the perfect light of the golden hour.

Photo copyright Alessandro Bonora

 

2) Time

Being in a vehicle with like-minded photo-nuts means you’re not rushing around from one sighting of the big five to another. THAT shot takes time and patience and your group won’t mind sitting around for some time in order to get it.

Photo copyright Alessandro Bonora

 

3) Explore the small things

Photo safaris will also occasionally mean getting up out of your seat and low-down and dirty to take photos of the small things.

Photo copyright Alessandro Bonora

 

4) Planned days

You’ll be with a small group and you’ll likely all have a similar list of shots to take. Your guides will be sensitive to this and will plan your days accordingly, looking for the optimal shot during the optimal time of the day for photography. Time is also always made for that classic sundowners.

Photo copyright Cheetah Plains

 

5) Bonding

Being with a group of like-minded photography enthusiasts means you start off with a shared addiction. Sharing views and stories over a delicious dinner after a hard day’s shooting is one of the real pleasures of such a trip.

Photo copyright Cheetah Plains

 

6) Specialist advice.

You’ll be accompanied on your photo safari by an experienced wildlife photographer and, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced amateur, you’ll be amazed at what you’ll learn from their wealth of hard-earned knowledge. There’s no buying experience!

Photo copyright Alessandro Bonora

 

7) Photography at night.

Sitting alongside 3 males lions while they slowly lull themselves from sleep, all the while taking photographs of them, is one of the more privileged moments I have had in the bush.

Photo copyright Alessandro Bonora

 

8) The specialist vehicle.

If you do go on a photo safari check whether the vehicles is equipped with specialist seating, it’s worth having! Trying to take that night shot without steady support is an impossible task and you’ll love being able to swivel your chair and support that heavy lense on a purpose built photographic arm.

Photo copyright Alessandro Bonora

 

9) Access to photo opportunities.

Your guide and photo group leader will be sensitive to the best position for taking photographs – they’ll get you to that rare sighting and make sure you’re positioned in the best light and with the best view to take the best shot possible

 

10) Focus

Get up early, take photos all day, return late to a delicious fireside meal, have a comfortable nights sleep and do it all over again. A photo safari gives you the excuse to focus single-mindedly on nothing other your passion for photography with all the comforts of the bush laid out for you when you return to camp, how good is that!

Photo copyright Alessandro Bonora

 

Photographic Safari dates

See the Cheetah Plains website for more information

Their next scheduled trip is 22 – 25 February 2013.

Contact: 

reservations@cheetahplains.com

Tel: 013 751 3270

Shenton Safaris
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Alessandro Bonora is the Art Director on Safari Interactive Magazine .After studying Journalism at university, he began a brief stint in hard news before opting for a career on the visual side of the creative word. He worked as a designer for an advertising agency during a four year spell in Rome, Italy before returning to Cape Town and joining Africa Geographic. He is passionate about digital story-telling and considers it very fortunate he gets to combine this with his love for wildlife and travel on a daily basis.