Binoculars / Monocular

A monocular can be a great choice when you have to hike to your location because they are smaller, lighter and fit easily onto your belt. If you are shooting from your car, or a safari vehicle, then a pair of binoculars will likely be a better choice. The most popular magnifications are 8X and 10X. When you’re looking at specifications you’ll see binoculars are always represented by two numbers. For example; 10 X  42 or 8 X 32. The first number is of course the magnification, while the second number is the size of the objective lens in millimetres.


The majority of good wildlife photography opportunities will be early in the morning or late in the evening when the light is less harsh. This almost certainly means that you’ll spend some time in the darkness, whether it be before or after your photography session. Headlamps can also be useful for photographing reptiles at night.

Telephoto lens

There’s really no escaping the fact that you’re going to need a relatively long lens to achieve the kind of wildlife photos you’ll likely be proud of. The Canon 100-400 IS II is a popular option for enthusiasts, as is the Nikon 200- 500, the Nikon 500mm PF, the Fuji 100-400 and the Sony 200-600. Tamron also has an excellent 150-600mm lens which comes in at an astonishingly cheap price for a lens that will take you all the way to 600mm.


Hand holding longer lenses can work for birds in flight but that’s about it. Many of the best wildlife photography opportunities happen early in the morning or late in the evening when light levels force you to use a very slow shutter speed. Combine this with the magnified shaking effect of longer focal lengths and a tripod is really an essential item.

Bean bag – Lens Coat Lens Sack

For places where you cannot use a tripod for e.g. in a safari jeep, bean bags come in very handy. The material   in the bag helps to dampen vibrations and stabilize the lens. They can also be used when shooting from the ground. The structure is such that it also allows fluid movement of the lens.


A gimbal is a device that sits on top of your tripod and perfectly balances your camera and lens combination, allowing you to pan and tilt it in any direction with almost zero effort. For wildlife photography with any lens of 400mm or more this is an essential item. Ball heads are designed to be positioned and then locked for the photo, but when shooting wildlife you are often following your subject and a gimbal makes this much easier.

Camera bag capable of holding long lenses

You’ll want a pretty rugged camera bag to carry your gear in, and it’ll need to be able to accommodate fairly long lenses.

Long lens rain cover

When you consider the cost of your lens, a waterproof cover for it should be a no-brainer. Since it is impossible to make any guarantees on the weather, it is an inevitability that at some point you’ll be caught in the rain while trying to find, or waiting for your chosen subject

Prescription glasses (sunglasses, hat, sunblock et al)

If you wear prescription glasses, be sure to pack more than one set (in case you lose one or they get broken). You will be outdoors for much of the time, so be prepared. Pack a hat, sunblock, long sleeves, and lip balm.

Wearing clothes in layers is the most practical way to cope with fluctuating day/night temperatures and cool evenings whilst on safari. As the day warms up you can peel off another layer.

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