The athleticism of a leopard as it takes down its prey…a mud-splattered elephant fresh from a wallow… or simply the sublime quality of light in the African bush…
Whatever you’re trying to capture (and whatever your level of experience) glorious Kaingo camp in Zambia enjoys some of the best photographic opportunities on the continent. Crouched in the most game-rich area of South Luangwa, the camp's owners Derek and Jules have been immortalizing their privileged surroundings for over 15 years. Here we share their expert advice for the perfect photography safari (Jules became hooked after her first one, and we reckon you will too!)
Game density and access are the most important factors when choosing the location of your photography safari. Wonderfully wild South Luangwa ticks both of these boxes – and, with a prevalence of leopard and lion stalking the grasses – you can’t beat it for sheer drama. As well as this, the backdrop will be washed with a magical mixture of lights: clean and pretty during the green season, and moody and dusty later on.
You’ll want to photograph more than big cat encounters, and this is where Kaingo’s collection of purpose-built hides come in. From these you’ll get close enough to wildlife to make your spine tingle, whilst capturing their natural behaviour.
Landrovers are best for getting close to large game and big cats, but it’s definitely worth going on a private game drive. Without other safari-goers (who inevitably get impatient!) you can wait as long as you like for the perfect shot – and when that snoozing leopard finally climbs down from the tree, the driver can move the vehicle to the ideal vantage point.
Jules and Derek have tested out pretty much every piece of equipment there is, but one of the most interesting ones they recommended is the angle-finder. Used by the famous wildlife photographer, Andy Rouse, the vehicle-mounted contraption allows you get eye level with game as opposed to looking down on them. A photo looking up at an elephant, for example, makes a fully immersive composition.
You won’t need much persuading, but the longer your photography safari lasts, the more chance you’ll have of bagging that once in a lifetime shot. There’s nothing worse than hearing “you should have been there last night” so Derek and Jules recommend that guests stay 8 – 10 days at least.