So you’re heading out on your first ever African safari? Great! Now that you’ve packed your telephoto lens, plenty of sunblock and tons of comfortable clothes for layering, allow me to share a few tips that you may not find on most ‘must have’ safari lists but are definite necessities if you want to maximize your wildlife experience!

1. Pack your patience.  If you missed that perfect photo op of a lioness grooming her cub, worry not! The opportunity for some seriously dope pics are plentiful. Just be patient and ready to point and shoot!

2. Don’t leave that open mind at home.  This is the wild, as in no filters!  You may not always agree with or be mentally prepared for what may unfold (I’m looking at you savage hyenas).  Just keep in mind that other passengers may be completely fascinated by events such as a ‘kill’.  If you find it’s not really your thing, just politely ask your guide when it’s okay to open your eyes!

3. Think small. Get low.  While most of your bush experience will deliver that jaw dropping kind of beauty right to your lens, don’t forget to look around and capture the not so obvious things that nature has to offer. Every once in a while sneak a peek at what’s in your periphery, up high or down low (This is how I once spotted a black mamba creeping around our vehicle!).

4. Don’t be afraid to put your camera down.   Some of your fondest memories will be those moments where you sit in utter awe and disbelief at what’s happening in front of you. Take it all in! Not every moment should be experienced through your view finder.

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