Safari company & publisher
Africa Geographic
Wildlife . People . Travel

At Etali Safari Lodge we regularly welcome wildlife photographers looking for that perfect shot. Recently we asked return guest and wildlife photographer Gary Cusins to reveal his secrets for taking great photos in the bush.

Here are some of Gary’s tips:


1. Choose the right park – Madikwe is a winner! 

With regular sightings of the big 5, African wild dog, cheetah and a plethora of other fauna and flora Madikwe always delivers the goods.


Overall the park is home to 60 species of mammals, 350 species of bird not to mention the variety of reptiles and invertebrates. Within this treasure trove of life the Etali waterhole forms a magnet for great sightings.


2. Use the right gear

Taking great wildlife shots means combining great autofocus and high frame rates with the reach of lenses with long focal lengths. I use Canon gear including the fully professional 1Dx camera body and a range of lenses such as the Canon 600mm F4L prime lens.


While such gear does offer professional quality pictures they also come with professional price tags. If you require professional performance at a more modest price, a more affordable option is available in the Canon 7D II, pairing the 7D’s cropped sensor with the new 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L II series which Etali also offers to rent. When taking the crop factor into account the 100-400 mm gives an impressive effective focal length of 160 to 640 mm!


3. Keep it stable

Using larger lenses is essential for getting close to the action, but unfortunately they are quite heavy. To frame that perfect shot, keep your camera stable and rest your arms. You will need some stabilising equipment.


For waterhole shots I suggest guests use a tripod with a suitable weight capacity. While on drive I suggest the use of stability bean bags or a combination of a vehicle mount with an attached video tripod head. Both mounts and bean bags are available at Etali.

4. Don’t be afraid to edit

Nature is unpredictable. Often the difference between taking snap shots and taking great images lies not in the bush but in the editing software of your computer. Good software packages like Lightroom offer the keen nature photographer the ability to sort through their pictures, crop their shots and adjust lighting and other aspects to make their pictures stand out.


5. Have fun

Remember photography is meant to be fun! The best way to enjoy your passion is to share it with similarly interested individuals.


At Etali we welcome guests with a special interest in photography and offer a series of vehicle mounts and bags for both photo and video use. Use of all mounts is complementary but supplies are limited so make certain to ask ahead.

Gary will be heading up a photo safari at Etali from the 11th to the 13th of November 2015. Participants to the photo safari will participate in workshops focused on camera and post-processing technique and will receive a special discounted rate at Etali along with free rentals of our photo gear, subject to availability.

Interested in joining our photo safari workshop, want to host your own, or simply looking for a quick photo getaway? Contact us at

Africa Geographic Travel
Etali Safari Lodge

Nestled in the magnificent malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve, Etali Safari Lodge has earned a reputation for offering our guests a unique and personal African bush experience wherein nature, relaxation and luxury combine to form an unforgettable memory. At Etali we provide guests with an experience beyond the expected. Whether on safari with our expert game rangers, dining on our delicious cuisine, rejuvenating in our spa, or, simply relaxing in our luxurious and comfortable suites.