Planning a photography safari in Uganda
Planning a photography safari in Uganda. Photography safaris in Uganda are a unique experience filled with long days of walking or driving around different destinations as you explore and participate in different activities. Today, many tourists are taking part in photo safaris because it is one of the best ways to keep memories from the safari. Photographic safaris in Uganda are not only for professional photographers but amateurs as well because the most important thing is to have the best and fun experience on your safari while also considering your interests.
Most Popular Safaris
Photographs are memories that stay with you forever, and the best way to keep them is by taking photos at the right moment and getting the best captions. Some of the tips that you can use to improve your photography and get the right photos are:
Get used to using your camera.
If you have never used your camera, it is better if you first test it before the trip and get used to its different settings. Try taking mock shots with the camera, especially if you are not a professional photographer, to avoid fidgeting with your camera in the wild. There are also many videos on the internet showcasing how to use the different cameras and their settings to get better photos.
It would be best if you were very patient.
One of the first things you need to note is that you are in the wild, and everything will go differently than expected because animals are always on the move or in hiding, making it hard to take photographs. Be sure to start taking photos before the large crowds,. Sometimes look for the smaller crowds or the species alone to take the right angle. The waiting has no time limit because of the different ways in which the wildlife species behave, but all you need to know is that the more patient you are, the more likely it will be for you to study the behaviors of the animals and get a clear shot.
Getting the right gadgets
Choosing and knowing the right gadgets for your photo safari is essential, so aim at getting the best gear. Carry two cameras, long and wide lenses between 300 to 400 mm, and extra batteries for convenience. Ensure the camera and all the necessary equipment are light to carry during your safari. The long lens allows you to take photos of wildlife near and far without scaring them off.
After getting the right camera, ensure you have enough memory because you want to save time when taking wildlife photos. You will see many things during your safari and might need to take photos, so you need to carry extra memory cards or a portable hard drive to keep all your memories. Remember to carry spare batteries and a charger.
Stability is one of the most important aspects of taking good photos; a tripod is necessary. Avoid shaking when taking photos and if possible when booking with your preferred tour operator, request a safari vehicle that has an open roof or a window mount with enough space to take stable photos.
Safety is the most important aspect when taking photos because wild animals can be unpredictable. Make sure that you keep a safe distance from the animals while taking pictures, even when you feel like you want to get a close-up of the wildlife, and that is why we advise everyone to at least carry a long-lens camera.
Lighting can either make or destroy a shot. Too much sunlight casts shadows over the images, spoiling them, although you can play around with the settings to ensure you get the perfect photos as you try to level with the sun. If you are looking for good lighting, morning and evening hours are the best for taking photos. But as you prepare, you take pictures and respect the rules set up by the authorities for example some areas do not accept flash photography.
Try out different perspectives when taking photos, even if you have a long-lens camera. Get out of your comfort zone if you intend on capturing the wildlife, terrain, hills, flora, fauna, and wildlife on your safari. In cases where you are on a cultural tour, you will need to first ask for permission before taking photos of the locals, but note that not all locals are okay with taking pictures of them. You will need to first understand the cultures of the locals before taking a photo safari.
Anyone passionate about photography should not miss out on what the Pearl of Africa has to offer in terms of climbing lions in the Ishasha sector in Queen Elizabeth National Park, the Mountain gorillas in both Bwindi and Mgahinga National Parks, River Nile, the Rwenzori ranges, Ostriches in Kidepo valley National Park, Lek Victoria, Murchison Falls National Park, Kampala city and Lake Bunyonyi among others. Photographic safaris in Uganda are mostly of the geographical nature of the country and the wildlife; however, you can still have your safari from the different parts of the country, for example, historical, religious, and cultural sites. We have come up with a list of destinations where you can have the best experiences during your photo safari.
Photography safari destinations in Uganda
Uganda is home to safari destinations with unique features worth capturing with a camera.
Under the guidance of an experienced guide, you will be taken to your preferred destination. For example, you can choose to go for a gorilla trekking experience in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, where you get to take photos of the endangered Mountain gorillas and record videos as you study the behavioral patterns of both baby, female, and silverback gorillas. Gorilla trekking is one of the activities that tourists participate in throughout the year. Some rules need to be followed during the gorilla trek, and one of them is no flash photography because the light scares off the gorillas. Bwindi is also home to 350 bird species and over 400 tree species. Other activities that you get to participate in include gorilla habituation, bird watching, enjoying the Batwa trail, nature walks, and cultural tours to the Batwa people, but before taking photos of the locals, you need to first ask for permission.
You cannot plan a photography safari without exploring Mgahinga National Park, located in the southwest part of Uganda and home to different types of primates, including gorillas as the main attraction, golden monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, L’Hoests monkeys, and black and white colobus monkeys. It is also home to over 200 registered bird species that are best seen during the wet months of March to May and October to November.
Queen Elizabeth National Park is also a good photo safari destination in Uganda, holding the highest number of recorded bird species in Africa and over 612 recorded bird species. Any tourist planning a photo safari should not miss out on visiting Queen Elizabeth National Park with all the great views it offers to you including glimpses of the Rwenzori ranges, rolling hills, Kazinga channel that separates Lake George and Lake Edward, the local communities around the park where you get to participate in the different activities like music, dance and storytelling among others. Along the banks of the Kazinga channel, you also get to go for boat rides and see the different wildlife species like buffaloes, elephants, hippos, Topis, and warthogs. Queen Elizabeth is home to the climbing lions found in the Ishasha sector and the chimpanzees in the Kyambura gorge.
Murchison Falls National Park was gazetted off in 1952, covering over 3893 km2. It is home to numerous wildlife species and the strongest waterfall in the world, known as Murchison Falls. The National Park is divided into two sections: the southern bank, covered with woodland and considered a great spot for a photo safari, and the northern bank, covered with riverine woodlands, acacia trees, and savannah grasslands. The park is home to hippos, crocodiles, leopards, warthogs, elephants, antelopes, lions, buffaloes, and hyenas. There are several activities you can carry out while at Murchison and these include hot air balloon rides giving you an aerial view of the national park as you take photos, hiking, enjoying game drives carried out both in the morning and late afternoon hours, night game drives, nature walks and bird watching. Note that Murchison was also used in filming the movie ‘The African Queen’ in 1951.
Although Kidepo Valley National Park is the least visited national park in the country, it still ranks as one of the top most beautiful national parks in Africa by CNN. Located in northeastern Uganda, Kidepo is home to some of the rarest animals and bird species. Kidepo has two magnificent valleys, the Narus Valley and the Kidepo Valley, where game drives are carried out. Located in a rural area, Kidepo is the best destination for tourists who prefer less crowds and some activities you can engage in while on a photo safari in Uganda. Some of the animals that you should expect to see in Kidepo include elephants, cheetahs, giraffes, the African buffalo, spotted hyena, zebras, elands, wild dogs, lions, Caracal, Elands, and over 470 recorded bird species including ostriches, Greater kestrel, Fox kestrel, Rufous chatterer, Chestnut weaver and Golden Pipit among others.
One of the destinations considered to be a good photo safari is Semuliki National Park. Semuliki was first a Game Reserve established as a national park in 1993. As you continue exploring the national park that offers activities like nature walks, birding with over 400 recorded bird species, game drives, and cultural tours where you get to meet the locals and learn more about their culture, several sceneries are worth capturing behind the lens including wildlife like monkeys, forest elephants, buffaloes, crocodiles, hippos, bush duikers and target rats to mention a few.
Kibale Forest National Park is home to 13 different primate species including red-tailed monkeys, Pottos, Mangabeys, Bush babies, Baboons, black and white colobus monkeys, and over 1500 chimpanzees. Located in western Uganda, Kibale is also home to 370 bird species seen throughout the year and other animals like forest hogs, bush pigs, forest elephants, buffaloes, and antelopes. The park is filled with beautiful scenery of birds, swamps, tropical forests, and other types of vegetation that will make your photo safari worth it. Photographers participate in activities offered at the park like nature walks, bird watching, chimpanzee trekking, cultural trips, and chimpanzee habituation among others.
Lake Mburo National Park is the smallest park in Uganda, with breathtaking scenery, making it the perfect destination for a photography safari. The national park is just a 4-hour drive from Kampala and can be explored on foot, game drives, and boat rides along Lake Mburo. The rolling hills have 350 recorded bird species and wildlife, including Reedbucks, elands, buffaloes, zebras, Oribis, Hippos, Topis, waterbucks, leopards, and antelopes.
When planning your photo safari in Uganda, there are several things besides taking good photos that you should consider: the traveling budget, what to pack, purchase of souvenirs, documents needed, and destination. After considering all these, you will be good to go for a photography safari.
Best time for a photography safari in Uganda
Photo safaris in Uganda are an all-year-round activity; however, the ideal time is during the drier months of June to August and December to February because the opportunities and chances of seeing the different wildlife are higher. However, if you prefer birding, the best time is during the wet season, from September to November and March to May.
In conclusion, it does not matter whether you are a professional photographer or not, but as long as you have the passion and want to have fun on your safari, Uganda is the best destination for a photo safari because you have a lot of destinations to go to. Just immerse yourself in the moment when taking photos of the wildlife in their natural habitat to keep your memories alive.
Contact us for more information.