Lens Recommendations for Thornybush and Sabi Sands

Trevor McCall-Peat All Authors, Trevor Leave a Comment

These two Reserves are prolific areas for game viewing with a wide range of diversity and offer great photographic potential.

Having said that, with such an array of opportunities to capture out in the field, choosing the right gear goes a long way to ensuring you are equipped for any situation or sighting that may come your way.  The area boasts magnificent close encounters as well as the picturesque night sky and everything in between.

So how does one pick the right gear for a safari like this?

The following recommendations should help you decide what gear you should bring along.

Camera Bodies

Full Frame Cameras – Are generally very good to have as they produce very good image quality and are often able to hold their own in low light conditions.

Crop Sensor Cameras – These camera bodies will allow you extra reach and are very lethal when paired with the right lens.

High frame rates also come in handy, when it comes to wildlife photography there is a large element of unpredictability and being prepared for action and capturing the moment in a matter of seconds is all you have. With slower Frame rates, one has to be more precise with when and where to hold down the shutter to capture the action.

Camera Lenses

Choosing which camera lenses to take on specific trips is always a tricky one, but there are a few factors that need to be acknowledged. What type of image do you like to take? what lens can you use to broaden your photography and push through your comfort zone? do you have any images in my mind that you want to capture from that specific area? and I’m sure there are a bunch more questions I could think of.

I have compiled a list below of the key lenses that I recommend for this particular safari which I think will come in handy and allow you to capture the best shots possible.

Wide Angle Lenses: 16-35mm/ 24-70mm

Why should you have a wide angle lens in your bag? There is a wide variety of options to use a wide angle lens, from landscape shots, sunrise/sunsets, animals that may be to close for longer lenses to capturing images of the night sky.

With some of the longer lenses it is easy to get caught up in close up and detailed shots where as the wide angle lenses allow you the capture the scene layer out in front of you as well as the animals in their natural environment.

Trevor McCall-Peat - Wildlife Photography - Wild Eye

Trevor McCall-Peat - Wildlife Photography - Wild Eye

Trevor McCall-Peat - Wildlife Photography - Wild Eye

Medium Zoom Lens: 70 – 200mm

The 70 – 200mm F2.8 is a great lens to have in the bag for majority of the destinations you travel, it is such a diverse lens. Depending on the terrain, it can be used for landscape shots at 70mm but also allows the photographer to capture a variety of different shots of wildlife, whether it be in the distance or a few feet away from the vehicle.

Another huge advantage of this lens is having the aperture of 2.8, especially when it comes to low light and spot light photography.

Trevor McCall-Peat - Wildlife Photography - Wild Eye

Trevor McCall-Peat - Wildlife Photography - Wild Eye

Other great options in this category are lenses such as the 100-400mm and the 80-400mm which for wildlife are also ideal choices having a large range once again offers a variety of different shots.

Trevor McCall-Peat - Wildlife Photography - Wild Eye

Telephoto Lenses: 200-400mm/ Fixed 300mm F2.8/ Fixed 400mm F2.8/ Fixed 5oomm F4/ 150-600mm

Once again, these lenses come down to personal preference, but I believe they are always good to have in the bag. Considering the two areas, They consist of a wide range of vegetation from very dense thickets to beautiful open clearings and although we often get close to animals, sometimes the situation requires us to be a little further away, this is when a bit of a longer lens comes in handy.

The longer lenses also allow for unique close up images which adds textures and details. For example, elephants trunks, a leopards coat, a lions claws and thats just to name a few, the possibilities are endless.

The fixed focal lengths allows for tight portrait shots but also having an aperture of between F2.8 – F4 it boasts great opportunities in low light images especially at night when using the spotlight and also on heavily clouded days.

Trevor McCall-Peat - Wildlife Photography - Wild EyeTrevor McCall-Peat - Wildlife Photography - Wild Eye

Trevor McCall-Peat - Wildlife Photography - Wild Eye

Trevor McCall-Peat - Wildlife Photography - Wild Eye

In areas such as these, the opportunities are endless and as mentioned earlier in this blog it can get tough to decide wheat to use when. I hope that this blog helps you decide what gear to bring and showcases the different kinds of images on offer.

Until next time,


About the Author

Trevor McCall-Peat

Having Grown up in White River which then was a small town in the Lowveld, I have had an inner burning desire to pursue my passion and love for wildlife. From a young age I was guided by my family who shares the same passion for the natural world as I do. Frequently visiting wilderness areas from a young age instilled a deep craving to explore and learn more about the bush. Once I left school I began my journey to becoming a guide and following my dream. I have been a field guide for the past 9 years, starting out in the Western Cape and then returning to the lowveld where I spent my last 4 years spend at Londolozi Game Reserve where I gained invaluable experience and had the opportunity to learn about myself as an individual. Through my love for wildlife it has kick started my passion for photography and has allowed me to grow and pursue it as a career. Combining an array of different elements such as safaris, photography, being one with nature and sharing experiences with others is something I have really enjoyed doing and looking forward to continuing it on this new and exciting chapter.

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