Last month – May ’15 – Acacia ran a very special tour from Uganda in conjunction with one of our favourite bloggers, freelance photographer Adam Lukaszewicz from Getting Stamped. This was Adam’s second time on an Acacia Overland tour and this time around he decided to put his teaching skills to the test and share some of his vast photographic knowledge with the rest of his tour group. He held little teaching sessions on what to expect and what to prepare for; how to make the most the of the equipment that you have, from smart phones to SLR’s; and how to ensure the pics you take home convey the feeling you had when you took them.
If you would like to follow this group of passengers as they photo document their way through Africa, please follow our Instagram page at https://instagram.com/acaciaafrica/ and check out #AcaciaInFocus as well as #AcaciaAfrica.
We have put together a photographer’s dream shortlist of destinations in Africa. By no means is this an extensive list but it is a great start for any budding happy snapper through to the most skilled of photographers amongst us.
So yes, amongst all the natural beauty and splendour that Africa has to offer, with all her breath-taking landscapes, fascinating animals and beautiful people, we have chosen a city as one of our favourite places to point your lens at. As many of us in the Acacia team live in Cape Town, you might think we are being just a little biased, but all you need is a visit to this vibrant, colourful city with its coastline and mountains to see exactly why it deserves a spot on this list.
Whether you are standing on Blouberg beach, looking over the bay to get that post card view of Table Mountain with the city spread out below her; or enjoying one of the many, many hikes up the slopes of Table Mountain, Lion’s Head, Signal Hill or Devils Peak; you will not be disappointed. There is also the more intimate side of Cape Town which is not to be missed, join a Township tour or enjoy a meal at the most famous township restaurant, Mzoli’s, to capture the daily lives, loves and ritual of the inhabitants of the Mother City or take a street art work tour and prepare to be blown away by the amazing graffiti art dotted throughout suburbs like Observatory and Woodstock.
Spend a few days in Cape Town before joining a tour north – Desert Tracker tour or the Grand African Adventure tour. Or explore this city after the Ultimate African Overlander or Zanzibar to Cape Town tour before heading back home.
NAMIBIA AND THE DUNES
Now, Namibia is a photographers dream and often a once in a lifetime opportunity for some uniquely dramatic and awe inspiring images. From the Fish River Canyon in the south to the shifting, unbelievably colourful dunes further north, Namibia will not disappoint. With a bit of homework around what this country has to offer, you will be spoilt for choice. Whether you are capturing the impossible beauty of the Himba women, with their unique hair styles and clay tinted skin; hiking up Dune 45 for a sunrise like no other – the shifting and changing colours as the light fills in the dark between each fold of the dunes; taking in the majesty of the Fish River Canyon; or wildlife portraits in the world renown Etosha National Park; Namibia will leave you with memories and photographs to make even the most seasoned traveller jealous.
Extra care needs to be taken with your gear in this type of environment though as the sand will try to get in everywhere – and it will break everything given the opportunity. A good idea would be to avoid changing lenses while outside and to keep your camera and lenses in airtight plastic zip lock bags when not in use.
Explore Namibia on one of our overland tours – either camping or accommodated. Many of these tours will run in both directions so you are sure to find a tour to suit your needs. Take a look at ourCape and Namibia Adventure or our Cape Desert Safari to get you started.
SERENGETI AND NGORONGORO CRATER
Trying to capture the magnitude and size of the African landscape, especially in places like the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater and the Rift Valley can be daunting and seem close to impossible but if you get it right you will have some of the most epic panoramic landscape shots you are likely to ever take. Play around with lighting, time of day, cloud cover, angles and filters and you will soon realise that this land does not stand still – and the sunsets and sunrises, oh my, THIS is the land that safari dreams and built from.
Then, enter the animal kingdom, tada! Be sure to take plenty of memory cards on your game drives, you will not want to miss a single frame as the soap opera like drama of the plains unfolding before you. You may be lucky to witness a hunt in progress, or the migration as it crosses those ever treacherous rivers, you may see calves born or tiny baby elephants hiding between their mothers’ legs. The king of the jungle may be lounging just in front of your vehicle or the giraffe may be reaching for those sweet, top leaves of the Acacia trees, so close to you that you can count the hairs on its patterned legs. Whichever way you turn and whatever angle you choose, with a bit of skill and a keen eye, this part of East Africa is a veritable haven for comfortable, accessible wildlife photography.
This is such a must see that the majority of our East African tours will either include or have as an optional extra a 3 day excursion to the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater. For those with limited time, try one of our shorter options like Highlights of Tanzania or the Kenya and Tanzania Adventure.
MOUNTAIN GORILLAS IN UGANDA
Trekking through the Impenetrable Forest to find the mountain gorillas of Uganda is unique in the true sense of the word – there is nothing like it anywhere else on earth.
Keep your eyes peeled for those interesting frames from the first step of the hike, this forest is home to so much more than just the great apes. Keep your head up for a chance to spot some interesting bird life and perhaps even catch a glimpse of some of the small monkeys that call these trees home, just watch your step – a close up photo of the dirt and a cracked lens is not exactly what memories are made of.
Once you find the apes though you will have the classic internal struggle trying to balance getting those amazing photos or just staring at them in total awe. Don’t worry though, each group gets an hour to spend in their company and this will give you plenty of time to set up those perfectly framed portraits, capture a few expression filled moments of connection between parents and young or exposing the humanity of these great apes who are so closely related to us it actually makes you wonder.
Always listen to your guide to ensure you are safe and not too intrusive towards these gentle giants. Also, make sure your gear is suitably protected against impact and moisture as this hike can be anything from half an hour to 6 hours, depending on where the families are on each particular day.
Discover the magic of the mountain gorillas on our short 6 day Troop to the Gorillas tour, the slightly longer 14 day Gorilla Encounter or one of our favourites, the 28 day Game Parks and Gorillas tour
These salt pans in Botswana are amongst some of the largest, flattest places on earth and can be seen from space. You may wonder why a piece of perceived nothingness has made our list of best places to photograph. Imagine this, an endless straight horizon which during the dry months play host to very little large life forms. This is the perfect place for capturing micro life like dung beetles, the contrast between big and small, living and seemingly dead.
Then in the wet months, the entire pan transforms into a mirror allowing for the most interesting reflection shots. This is also the time to capture perfectly singled out images of anything from Zebra to Wildebeest to Elephant, perhaps even a predator or two, and don’t forget the birds, oh the birds. This is also the perfect place for those forced perspective trick shots that play on confusing depth perception – be creative and add a little fun to your post trip photobook.
Explore these salt pans on one of our small group tours. The 14 day Southern African Magic is one of our most popular tours or if you don’t have that much time, why not join the shorter 7 day Okavango Wilderness Trail.
Written by Sophia Vos
Photo Credits: Hannah & Adam Lukaszewicz, Euvrard Loubser, Tim Shier and Okavango Expeditions