What’s in my bag for Mana Pools?

Morkel Erasmus All Authors, Morkel Leave a Comment

I thought I’d latch onto Mark’s post detailing what he would be taking to the Mara this year, and do a short post highlighting how I will pack my bag for the Wild Eye Mana Pools Photographic Safari which is due to start on 17 July 2013. This year’s trip is fully booked, but you can add your name to the waiting list for 2014 HERE (dates to be finalised soon).

Like Mark, my bag pretty much looks the same for every trip, but I thought I would use this post to help our guests (and potential 2014 guests) make up their mind about what needs to be in the bag for the long trek to Zimbabwe. I also use Nikon equipment, so use your imagination when thinking about your own camera brand in these specific terms and items.

All these (with the exception of the tripod) fit snugly into my Clik Elite Pro Elite bag which stows away nicely in the overhead compartment of your friendly neighbourhood passenger aircraft. Just be sure to smile bravely and hold your back straight when walking through check-in and boarding so nobody calls you out for the weight of the carry-on bag!

  • D3s – this is my mainstay camera for wildlife action and low light wildlife photography
  • 500mm f4 – this is my main lens for wildlife. I wouldn’t want to take a longer lens (like 600mm) to Mana, because you often get quite close to the animals and in a beautiful place like Mana Pools I want to include as much of the environment as possible in my photos. If I had a 200-400mm in my kit, I would take that as my main lens (hint hint!).
  • I will be testing out a new model 80-400mm VR from Nikon Professional Services on this trip, so I will probably have that stashed somewhere on my person as well. I think the versatility that comes from the 80-400, 100-400, 120-300 and 200-400mm range of telephoto zoom lenses can be the key to getting the most out of this trip.
  • D800 without battery grip – this is my mainstay for landscape shots and static, wider wildlife photos. The resolution of this camera is mind-blowing.
  • 70-200mm f2.8 – I never leave home without it. Like I said, including the environment is key in Mana, to show people where you were. This lens gives you that versatility.
  • 24-70mm f2.8 – this lens may see the least action in Mana, and I may replace it with the 80-400mm in the bag if space is tight. It’s a great portrait lens and if it goes along I will be using it to take lots of candid shots around the camp and of the guests in action.
  • 14-24mm f2.8 – this will be my preferred lens for the landscape and nocturnal landscape photography that will be on the menu. If you have somehing like a 16-35mm that would do just fine for the “wider” stuff we will photograph.
  • 1.4 teleconverter – for the odd occasion when I do need a bit more reach than the 500mm can muster.
  • SB-900 Flash – with off-camera flash cable
  • RedGed carbon fibre tripod/monopod combo – this I carry in its own bag.
  • Laptop and harddrive – in the front of the bag.
  • Small necessities in the side pockets: extra camera batteries, wireless remote trigger, lens cloth, Clik Elite memory card wallet, chargers…
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Other than that…bring loads of creativity, enthusiasm, energy and space in your mind to store up amazing memories.

See you in Mana!!



Morkel Erasmus

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