Photo Tip: Planning …. So what is your Safari ‘Bucket List’?

A popular US movie with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman was ‘The Bucket List’.  The premise was pretty straight forward.  If you have a terminal problem, what are the ‘must’ activities you need to achieve so you have no regrets.  Obviously, such a list could gravitate to family, but my question is specific to wildlife viewing and photography.  What is your bucket list?

I believe that you have the best chance of fulfilling your bucket list if you have thought about it and about the composition details you will need.  Luck often follows the well prepared.

Here’s my bucket list:

  • Having my kids with me on a great safari
  • A great safari with my girlfriend (must be bug free and her not constantly afraid I am taking too many chances)
  • Great portraits of some of the people of Botswana
  • Shoot the great migration (I know it’s a Kenya/Tanzania thing)

    The Wildebeest Migration on the Mara River

  • A rhino in the open from a low angle … preferably in a morning mist.
  • star trails with the perfectly shaped baobab in the background
  • Seeing a cheetah, lion, leopard or croc kill unfold before my eyes and camera
  • Clear shot of a leopard in an isolated tree
  • A great action shot of a Malachite Kingfisher
  • A great wildlife shot ‘framed’ via shooting below the belly or chin of an ellie
  • perfect profile of a darter taking off, showing those perfect water step trails behind
  • Shooting from a helicopter. … elephants or buffalo crossing wetlands, a large flock of storks flying over a big herd (passing in a perpendicular direction), lone animals near sunset or sunrise when their shadows create great profile images, etc.
  • A ‘money shot’ of a storm coming with animals in the foreground

On my bucket list - animals from above (this image copyright Andy Biggs)

I am sure that as soon as I print this, I will think of other ‘dream shots’.  I have been lucky and can cross off several things including sunset silhouettes and being in the bush with my son, but I wouldn’t mind re-living any of the ‘crossed off’ bucket list items.

On my bucket list - The baobab with startrails (this image copyright Emil von Maltitz)

6 comments for “Photo Tip: Planning …. So what is your Safari ‘Bucket List’?

  1. February 24, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    Sir.
    Could you perhaps answer my travelling question. I have arranged a trip to Savuti. Khwai and Xaxanaka on the 10th of March 2010 from Pretoria SA. My intensions is to travel from SA to Maun and sleep over (camping) at Mankwe lodge, leaving the next morning via Mababe village to Savuti.Have you any idea what the current state of the road is like, especially from Mankwe to Savuti, because we will pass the botom section of the marsh. I am a amateur photographer and do not want to spend my time digging myself out of the mud. Is the marsh road in Savuti accessible or would you recomend the sandridge road. I believe from info received from Mankwe office that i will be able to cross the Khwai bridge but would like an additional opinion. I would prefer not to travel to Savuti via Nata, Kasane and Ngoma Bridge.
    Thank you for your time
    Rudy

  2. February 24, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    Sir.
    Could you perhaps answer my travelling question. I have arranged a trip to Savuti. Khwai and Xaxanaka on the 10th of March 2010 from Pretoria SA. My intensions is to travel from SA to Maun and sleep over (camping) at Mankwe lodge, leaving the next morning via Mababe village to Savuti.Have you any idea what the current state of the road is like, especially from Mankwe to Savuti, because we will pass the botom section of the marsh. I am a amateur photographer and do not want to spend my time digging myself out of the mud. Is the marsh road in Savuti accessible or would you recomend the sandridge road. I believe from info received from Mankwe office that i will be able to cross the Khwai bridge but would like an additional opinion. I would prefer not to travel to Savuti via Nata, Kasane and Ngoma Bridge.
    Thank you for your time
    Rudy

  3. P. B. Eleazer
    February 24, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    I do not have the current status, one local we know, Phil Zappala works with a small group, SGSAfrica, which travels those roads regularly. I will forward your question on to him, but you can also email him at phil@sgsafrica.com

  4. P. B. Eleazer
    February 24, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    I got a quick response from Phil. Unfortunately not all I had hoped, but he is getting us the info. Here is his email response to me:

    “I (Phil) am currently in Australia on a marketing trip plus a little leisure to see family and friends.

    I have sent this email to the team back in kasane and they will contact National Parks at the different gates to find out the state of the roads. I will have this back to you as soon as possible.”

  5. February 28, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    Phil has sent additional info for anyone traveling to northern Bots. Here is his reply:

    Firstly sorry that it has taken me a while to get back to you as I am currently in Australia on a bit of a holiday enjoying the sunshine over here at the moment.

    To answer your question that you asked, we run mobile safaris throughout most of Botswana and don’t usually start our long haul trips ie Chobe through to the delta etc until the beginning of April simply due to the rains. The pattern of the rains this year has been unusual with one week of sunshine then a few days of heavy rain, combined with the floods it is very hard to give first hand advice to you as I haven’t been up that way since the end of last year.

    What we have done was contact National Parks and I have spoken to one of my experienced professional guides and below is the advice that they have given me to pass onto you.

    The best advice we can give would be that the sandridge road would be better as the marsh road which, while it seems to currently be accessible, is clay and black cotton soil which could be a real headache if it rains alot.

    The savute channel flows through the middle of savute and if he isn’t going to Kasane there is not any real need to cross it as there is a lot of roads to explore to the south of the river in savute. Channel flow will really depend on the amount of water coming down.

    The bridge at Mababe village (over the Khwai river) seems to now be complete so they should have no problem crossing there.

    It is important that you have a good tool kit, tow rope, high lift jack or bottle jack, spare wheel and spade.

    I hope this helps and I hope that we have answered your questions, have a great trip and If you need any further advice let me know.

    Kind Regards

    Phil

  6. February 28, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    Phil has sent additional info for anyone traveling to northern Bots. Here is his reply:

    Firstly sorry that it has taken me a while to get back to you as I am currently in Australia on a bit of a holiday enjoying the sunshine over here at the moment.

    To answer your question that you asked, we run mobile safaris throughout most of Botswana and don’t usually start our long haul trips ie Chobe through to the delta etc until the beginning of April simply due to the rains. The pattern of the rains this year has been unusual with one week of sunshine then a few days of heavy rain, combined with the floods it is very hard to give first hand advice to you as I haven’t been up that way since the end of last year.

    What we have done was contact National Parks and I have spoken to one of my experienced professional guides and below is the advice that they have given me to pass onto you.

    The best advice we can give would be that the sandridge road would be better as the marsh road which, while it seems to currently be accessible, is clay and black cotton soil which could be a real headache if it rains alot.

    The savute channel flows through the middle of savute and if he isn’t going to Kasane there is not any real need to cross it as there is a lot of roads to explore to the south of the river in savute. Channel flow will really depend on the amount of water coming down.

    The bridge at Mababe village (over the Khwai river) seems to now be complete so they should have no problem crossing there.

    It is important that you have a good tool kit, tow rope, high lift jack or bottle jack, spare wheel and spade.

    I hope this helps and I hope that we have answered your questions, have a great trip and If you need any further advice let me know.

    Kind Regards

    Phil

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