Africa is a photographer’s dream: from its varied and dramatic landscapes, to its photogenic tribes dotted around the continent, to its abundant wildlife and birdlife in its many iconic parks, reserves and conservancies.
The numbers and concentrations of Africa’s large mammals are legendary, its wide-open and rugged landscapes so inviting, and capturing these wonders illuminated by Africa’s most incredible natural light is truly special. And for people photography, Africa’s vanishing tribes are the holy grail of portrait photographers.
We also find that leaving laptops at home and doing all your post-processing tasks after your trip is ideal, so you can spend as much time out on the field taking photographs and also put your cameras down to fully savour Africa’s rich culture, sample its spectacular food and wine, and get to know its fascinating people.
Wildlife photographyThe continent is ground zero for wildlife and birdlife in massive numbers and concentrations, thriving in some truly spectacular locations. South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana and Zimbabwe are always favourites of wildlife photographers. Lions, leopards, cheetahs and other elusive big cats are found all throughout East, Southern and Central Africa, including hotspots such as the Okavango Delta, the Serengeti and many other reserves and parks dotted around the continent. Africa is also home to a wide array of birdlife, and generally the summer season is the best time to photograph birds as all the migrants from Asia and Europe are in Africa.
Photographic Hides - A relatively recent safari innovation where purpose-built safari hides help photographers achieve unusual perspectives and startling new angles. Some hides are built up on stilts, some behind a pile of logs but our favourites are the sunken hides at ground level, situated next to watering holes or prolific wildlife areas, oriented for the best light, either facing directly north or south for pleasing effects at sunrise and sunset. We have a portfolio of the best photographic hides around Africa. Some patience may be called-for but the results are always spectacular.
Capture these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat, during those magical and sometimes fleeting moments.Cultural and Tribal photographyFor this genre, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana and Namibia are home to tribes which are relatively easily to access. Africa’s indigenous people make for incredible portrait subjects, especially with their traditional attire, and with enough advance notice, we can arrange private expeditions to visit and photograph more remote tribes in Ethiopia and around off-the-beaten-track areas in Chad, the Central African Republic, both Congos and even in West Africa. Here are more details on the continent's Unique Tribes.
For the ultimate cultural photography experience, try to time your trip to coincide with one or more of Africa’s colourful Cultural Festivals which are celebrated throughout the year across the continent.Street photographyOne of the most varied but equally rewarding genres of photography, the term 'street photography' is just a label and, in reality, more subjective based on a photographer's personal experiences and taste. Africa and its cities, towns and villages offer so many opportunities to photograph people, random events and chance encounters which hopefully produce artistic photos. Just like the other genres above, documenting people in their everyday environment requires patience, some research, luck and a bit of bravery to be able to approach and photograph complete strangers going about their daily lives.
This is where your smart phones and point-and-shoot cameras excel and don't put your equipment away when in rural or remote areas as these are ideal places to photograph beautiful people in a uniquely African setting. Street photography is as much about recording moments in time as it is about telling stories, and there are so many moments and stories to be captured and told around every corner or across every valley in Africa.
When embarking on street photography in the big cities in Africa, it is prudent to exercise some caution, especially in the evenings and early mornings, which are also the golden hours of photography. Like in any other big city in Asia, Europe or the Americas, just stay alert and be streetwise.AstrophotographyFrom wide-angle Milky Way photography with your mirrorless or SLR camera to deep-sky photography through an astronomical telescope, the Namib Desert, the Makgadikgadi Pans, the Kalahari Desert and Chad’s Ennedi have some of the clearest skies on Earth. For the ultimate astrophotography opportunities, The NamibRand International Dark Sky Reserve was the second place on Earth designated with Gold Tier status because of its exceptionally dark skies. The NamibRand was also the first International Dark Sky Reserve in Africa. Time your journey around a new moon.
Aerial photographyAfrica is the best canvas to indulge in the art of taking photographs from a fixed-wing aircraft, helicopter (with the doors off) or a hot air balloon. Photographing landscapes as well as wildlife and birdlife from above provides unique angles and spectacular abstract results. Our favourite aerial photo locations would be Botswana’s Okavango Delta, Namibia’s Namib Desert, Ethiopia’s Danakil Depression, and last but not least, Kenya’s section of the Great Rift Valley which is utopia for aerial photographers. We work with the top helicopter, light aircraft and hot air balloon pilots who can position you to get the most unique photo opportunities from the air.
If you prefer to focus on other genres such as architectural, fine art, abstract, underwater or even photojournalism photography, we can get a specialist photo guide to spend time with you during your trip.
There you go. Africa boasts some of the most distinctive landscapes, people, wildlife and birdlife; and for photography, there is no better place for beginners, weekend photographers and aspiring National Geographic photojournalists. The opportunities are endless and you really need to keep your photography activity in check, or you may end up experiencing the continent only through your viewfinder.
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We do not subscribe to the ‘one-size-fits-all’ philosophy. Sample itineraries and cost estimates are meant purely as a guide. To find out more, please contact one of our expert travel consultants to plan a customized itinerary based on your budget and interests.