The golden light bathes the dry swaying grasses as a pride of lions laze in the morning sunlight. A lone elephant grazes majestically against the backdrop of acacia trees. A herd of buffalo mixed with zebra nibble on their late afternoon meal as you drive slowly past.

These are the moments you’ll be able to capture and treasure forever while enjoying your Kruger Park safari. But with a bouncing safari vehicle and fleeting wildlife encounters, how do you create those photographs? First-time safari photographers often have more misses than hits, so we’ve put together some helpful information that you can use the next time you are trying your hand at wildlife photography in the Kruger National Park.

Here’s your essential guide

Gearing Up for Great Shots

The Kruger’s ever-changing landscapes and wildlife sights require you to have a versatile approach to your photography which means you need the right gear to get you started.

A telephoto lens (ideally 200mm or above) is going to be your best friend as you will be zooming in on distant animals. A wider lens (around 24-70mm) will come in handy for photographing those panoramic vistas and dramatic sunrises. And don’t forget a spare battery and plenty of memory cards – you won’t want to miss that perfect moment due to technical glitches.

Mastering the Light

The Kruger’s spectacular lighting takes some getting used to but once you do, your photos will look professional and perfectly lit.

Early mornings and late afternoons offer the softest, most flattering light that you can make the most of by using Aperture Priority mode (usually denoted by A or Av) and a wide aperture (low f-number) to blur the background and create a creamy bokeh effect.

If faced with harsh midday sun, you should switch to Shutter Priority mode (Tv or S) and a faster shutter speed (around 1/1000th of a second or higher) which will darken your image slightly, to give you more detail while it will also help you capture those action shots.

You can also adjust your ISO (your camera’s sensitivity to light) to achieve a more balanced exposure. A brighter image might require a higher ISO, but be mindful of grain appearing in your images when you are using a higher setting.


Think beyond just pointing and shooting.

The Rule of Thirds, a photography staple, is a popular composition practice that can be achieved by dividing your frame into a 3×3 grid and placing your subject at one of the intersections.

You can also think about including leading lines, like animal tracks or a winding river, to draw the viewer’s eye into the image. For portraits of majestic creatures, you can get down to their eye level (but at a safe distance of course!) for a more intimate perspective.

Think beyond the Big 5

While capturing the iconic lions and elephants is a goal for many, the Kruger offers a wealth of photographic opportunities. You can look for the drama of a lone predator stalking its prey, the vibrant colours of a flock of birds in flight, or the intricate details of a spiderweb glistening with morning dew.

At Elephant Herd Safaris, we take our guests on some of the most memorable Kruger Park safaris and we’d love to guide you through the park while you take your photos. Book your tour with us today!