Planning a trip to Africa

kgarrett11kgarrett11 Major grinsRegistered Users Posts: 525 Major grins
edited February 13, 2007 in Location, Location, Location!
I am trying to arrange a trip to Tanzania through Strabo Photo tours. It is a 14 day trip. Has anyone been there and what should I take with me and what should I look out for? Any suggestions or insight would be greatly appreciated.
www.Prideinphotography.com
Powered by Smugmug
Three passions wildlife, golf and the STEELERS
Equipment
Nikon D4, D300

Comments

  • AngeloAngelo Turning frowns upsidedown Super Moderators Posts: 8,937 moderator
    edited February 7, 2007
    kgarrett11 wrote:
    I am trying to arrange a trip to Tanzania through Strabo Photo tours. It is a 14 day trip. Has anyone been there and what should I take with me and what should I look out for? Any suggestions or insight would be greatly appreciated.

    Wow, a trip to Africa. One on my list of 100 things to do before I die :D

    Sorry I don't have any other input but I am envious. thumb.gif
  • sirsloopsirsloop TMP Registered Users Posts: 866 Major grins
    edited February 7, 2007
    Make sure all of your gear is insured before you leave!!
  • ChrisJChrisJ Major grins Registered Users Posts: 2,162 Major grins
    edited February 8, 2007
    kgarrett11 wrote:
    I am trying to arrange a trip to Tanzania through Strabo Photo tours. It is a 14 day trip. Has anyone been there and what should I take with me and what should I look out for? Any suggestions or insight would be greatly appreciated.
    14 days should be plenty of time to enjoy Tanzania (though more is always better). If you've never been before: people either love it, or they don't; I was the former. Bad roads, diarrhea, biting bugs, etc... Gorgeous views, fair-good food (really depends on the tour), incredible wildlife, etc...

    Optimally, I would take two bodies, one with a big zoom and IS, one with a wide angle. Be prepared for dust, there is a lot of it! A tripod is only useful when you're stopped for the night, since you're almost never allowed out of the vehicle in Tanzania. A monopod could help in the truck, but would probably just get in the way. Polarizing filter for the Hippo/Croc pools.

    I would so love to go back there with a dSLR... I was there in 2001, so things may have changed. Let me know if you have any questions!

    Glorious Mud, Ngorongoro Crater
    30961044-L.jpg
    Chris
  • evorywareevoryware Major grins Registered Users Posts: 1,330 Major grins
    edited February 12, 2007
    kgarrett11 wrote:
    I am trying to arrange a trip to Tanzania through Strabo Photo tours. It is a 14 day trip. Has anyone been there and what should I take with me and what should I look out for? Any suggestions or insight would be greatly appreciated.

    I was on the Masai Mara side. I loved it. Bottled water only. Bring plenty of bug repellent. Be prepared for a bumpy ride and hold your camera tight. My wife and I had a bus to ourselves which made excellent conditions for spotting. Oh Tsetse Flies, keep an eye out especially while on the tour. Not cool to get attacked by them.
    Definitely bring a descent Zoom. 70-200 or 100-400 would have been nice for me especially when we saw the Rhino's at a distance and two bodies would be nice also. Dust was an issue with my XT, but not with my XTI. My tours went out early in the morning and then again right before dusk. Low light likely will be an issue especially if it's rainy season. I agree a monopod would be a good idea and so would an off camera flash because the animal you want a picture of may not be well lit. Binoculars. Plan for the weather of the season and check the forecast for the area before you go.

    http://www.weatherunderground.com/cgi-bin/findweather/getForecast?query=arusha%2C+tanzania

    Here's what our tour buses looked like.

    88890435-S-8.jpg

    88890538-L-2.jpg

    88890537-L-2.jpg

    88679742-M-9.jpg
    Canon 40D : Canon 400D : Canon Elan 7NE : Canon 580EX : 2 x Canon 430EX : Canon 24-70 f2.8L : Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L USM : Canon 28-135mm f/3.5 IS : 18-55mm f/3.5 : 4GB Sandisk Extreme III : 2GB Sandisk Extreme III : 2 x 1GB Sandisk Ultra II : Sekonik L358

    dak.smugmug.com
  • Van IsleVan Isle Major grins Registered Users Posts: 384 Major grins
    edited February 13, 2007
    Haven't gone yet, but I've a trip planned for early '08. An IS/VR zoom to at least 200mm (~300 with a digital crop factor). monopod maybe, but then you'd be transmitting the rumble and jolting of the truck to the camera. Perhaps a tripod for those serious African sunsets. YMMV. Depending on the dust conditions and your courage with cleaning, two bodies, one fitted with the wide angle for savannah shots. Polarizing filters, maybe neutral density filters. I'll be taking my nikkor 18-200 IS, on a D70s body, maybe a teleconvertor. I've got to carry it with me around the world, though, so I'll be packing relatively light!

    Cloths to clean the bodies at the end of the day. Lots of memory! (I'm bringing a laptop). And above all, a good attitude and sense to put the camera down once in a while! But that's just me...!

    Have a great time,

    Peace,
    VI
    dgrin.com - making my best shots even better since 2006.
  • madderncmaddernc Addicted Grinner Registered Users Posts: 39 Big grins
    edited February 13, 2007
    I haven't done Tanzania but have been on safari in Africa a few times. My partner and I both shoot so there is quite a bit of gear but this seems to work and gets on the plane in the overhead!
    20D, 30D, 100-400 IS, 17-40L, polarisers, 81b warming filter (to extend that nice light in the mornings). At least 2 CF cards each body. The trip in September to Kenya we will be adding a 70-200 IS f2.8 to the mix and hopefully a laptop (for backup and renaming, keywording etc on the way home). The x2 convertor comes along but isn't used much, again with the 70-200 we will get a 1.4 to give it some reach without too many stops lost.
    While its great to have nice lenses and bodies its all useless if you don't have enough power and storage. Given the target rich environment and if you shoot RAW your cards will fill quickly so you need a FAST portable hard drive or a laptop. Not sure I would want my laptop bouncing aroudn the landrover on a game drive though! Take plenty of spare batteries and charge them every opportunity, remote tented camps if they have power may only run the generators for a limited time in the evening. Not just camera batteries but chargers and batteries for tjhe other bits, laptops, protable hardrives, batteries for the Flash. You want the flash for fill light. A better beamer to extend the range of your flash is also good and very small and light. A tripod would be nice but a monopod does the job in vehicle. Better game drivers switch off the vehicle while viewing an animal so no vibration. Again this depends on where you are. In southern Africa in open vehicles the monopod is great but in a closed vehicle with a roof hatch a bean bag is a better option.
    A must is a sensor cleaning system. We use a sensor brush, which works fine with a blower to charge it. Now the artic butterfly form visible dust would be a good option (more batteries though). I haven't used any of the swab systems so I cannot say how easy they would be to use int he bush.

    To get all this on the plane we use a LowePro nature trekker which fits in the overhead but is a tad overweight. For anything that does not fit in that the LowePro Rover handles the rest. Dependant on the exact nature of the trip we may also take smaller day bags (ie LowePro Sling 200 or TopLoader 75 with side lens cases) for out in the field. Any gear safely tucked away in your large backback is useless on a game walk. By the time you get it out the opportunity is gone.
    I also agree with VI, remember to put the camera down occasionally and take in all that is Africa, the sights, sounds and smells. Knowing your gear and good preperation will help contribute to an enjoyable trip.

    Cain
    "One of the biggest mistakes a photographer can make is to look at the real world and cling to the vain hope that next time his film will somehow bear a closer resemblance to it." Galen Rowell

    WildFocus Images

    Blog: WIldFocus Images
  • meewolfiemeewolfie Big grins Registered Users Posts: 97 Big grins
    edited February 13, 2007
    I just got back from a 14 day trip to Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya last month.

    Everyone has provided good advice so I won't repeat it. Here are two things that I would add:

    1. I took my 30D (1.6 crop factor) with my longest zoom lens being 300mm. (480mm). There were times when this just wasn't enough. One day, a pro that was staying at our lodge lent me his 100-400mm lens. That was much better for the typical shots that you'll be trying to get on a game drive. The person who is bringing only up to 200mm is going to be frustrated!

    2. I decided not to bring my laptop and looked into getting one of those portable back-up drives. Pricing a good one out at about $300 to $400 (US), I decided instead to buy a bunch of compact flash cards. The good thing was that they are small, don't require power and are not all that expensive. I shot all RAW (no jpegs) and estimated about 1GB of storage required per day. I ended up filling about 14GB worth of cards. Now I can sell the extras since I don't need this many on a daily basis. I also figured that if a single device with all of my photos was to malfunction, I could lose everything. With a bunch of CF cards, there was a chance that one would malfunction - but then I would be limited to losing only about one days worth of shots. As it turned out - they all worked fine (*I'm pretty sure that I got this idea from one of the posts here at dgrin - it was good advice!*)

    Mary
    Brecksville, Ohio
Sign In or Register to comment.