My Camera | My Story is a blog series that features what some of our customers are doing with their camera. This article features Marcia Loan, a local teacher who took a trip to Africa this summer. She rented a Tamron 150-600mm lens for the trip and just completed Lightroom From A – Z class to learn how to better edit her photos. The photos in this post were taken with the Tamron 150-600mm lens.
Our trip went July 16 to August 3, 2018. After landing in Johannesburg, we spent a couple days adjusting to the time change. We took a guided tour of J’burg to see the sights downtown, the Carleton Center, and Seweto. We went to Nelson and Winnie Mandela’s home in Seweto as well as the prison on Constitution Hill where Mandela spent his first two years in captivity. We saw the school where Hector Pieterson was killed and the opposition to apartheid began. We also toured the Apartheid Museum.
From there we flew in 6-12 person planes to various game reserves. The first was Savanna Reserve in Sabi Sands, South Africa, near Kruger Park. Then we went to Toka Leya Camp in Zambia to see Victoria Falls. On to Zimbabwe where we stayed at Linkwasha camp and then to the Mano Pools in Hwange at Ruckomechi Camp.
I took my Nikon D3400 with 18-55mm and 70-300mm lenses. I also rented a Tamron 150-600 lens from Photo Pro.
Our trip was booked through Extraordinary Journeys Safari Tours. Our camps were part of Wilderness Safaris group. I would HIGHLY recommend going through this group. We were pampered with amazing luxury tents, fine dining, and guides with at least four years of formal training before they could even begin to lead groups. Our guides and trackers had decades of experience.
We were always met at our airports with people holding signs with our names. We were escorted through customs and handed off to drivers and then camp staff. We felt very safe.
Anyone planning a safari should know this is not a lazy, sleep-in-late, kind of vacation. We were awakened to our guide calling, “Wakey, Wakey” about 5:00 am. We were provided a quick breakfast and hit the jeeps by 5:30 am. July is winter in southern Africa so we piled on layers of jackets, put hot water bottles on our laps, and covered in blankets. By the time the sun came up we enjoyed 60-80 degree temps. The nights were in the 40’s.
The advantage of going in Africa’s winter season is that the foliage is down and animals are easier to spot. Also, their summers hit 120 degrees. No air conditioning.
Plan to spend 3-4 hours in the jeep in the morning and then another 3-4 hours in the evening. You don’t want to miss the animal action of the early morning and then again when the sun goes down. Afternoons are spent in siesta.
The guides bring snacks and drinks in the vehicles so you get to stretch your legs on each safari outing. But, don’t try to go behind a bush without the guide checking for safety first!
We were the only two guests in our jeeps, but there could potentially be up to six guests in a jeep. These are open topped/ open air jeeps or Land Rovers.
In addition to riding in the jeeps, we had the opportunity to take a walking safari with two armed guides, canoe on the Zambezi River, and sleep outside on a platform. Being outdoors overnight offered night sounds and views, but our armed guide was stationed on the ground near us.
Know that these camps are not fenced. Elephants, leopards, baboons, hyena, crocodiles, and more roam freely. If animals are between you and your tent, you stay put. Dinners are served on open air patios, but as soon as the sun goes down, no one goes anywhere without armed escorts. Guides give you instructions and you follow them. No getting out of the jeeps without their okay. Don’t stick your arms out. Only exit your tent in daylight. Don’t get too close to the edges of the river.
I would definitely go again, so don’t be frightened by these guidelines. Just trust that the guides know what they are talking about.
The photography opportunities were limitless. I shot 10,000 pictures. I used the continuous shutter mode which helped me capture movement and expressions. I used a monopod that I kept attached to the camera as we rode. Words cannot describe the beauty and majesty of the land and the animals. That is why we take photographs!