Packing for Southern Africa

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My wife and I depart on August 29th for a 27-day trip to Southern Africa. Starting in Cape Town, we will travel north through Namaqualand for the wildflowers, and then into Namibia. We'll cover most of the scenic highlights of Namibia all the way to Etosha National Park, then east to the Okavanga Delta of Botswana.

Photography will include wildflowers, spectacular landscapes, exotic birds, and wild animals including the 'big five'. There will also be some culture photo ops as we will visit some indigenous people. All travel will be done by private car with no internal flights except Johannesburg to Cape Town at the start, and Windhoek to Jo'burg on the return. Nevertheless, we need to travel light.

I plan to take a D7100 and a D600. For the D7100 I'll carry my 16-85, 70-300, and 85VR micro. For the D600 I'll have the 24-85 and 135/3.5 AIS. In addition, I'll carry my 300 f/4 + 1.4 TC for use on either camera. The D600 will be the main camera for landscapes, wildflowers, and culture. The D7100 will be mainly for birds, animals, and macro.

Comments and suggestions are welcome.
 
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Looking forward to see your pictures. Sound like a great itinerary.

You're probably not going back, so forget about traveling light and bring what you think you'll need... and you forgot the field guides, the bins, the scope, the tripod, the window mount for the scope and a change of clothes.

We travelled from JNB to CPT in South Africa for 25 days with a rental car and were overweight without any camera... I have a good bird checklist though, but no pictures!
 
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Sounds like a great trip but keep in mind that changing lenses is something you don't want to do outside the car because of all the dust. Even inside the car you have to be careful. So try to plan ahead of what you are going to see and mount the lenses for that before you head out to reduce the number of times you change lenses.

Also, why bring both the 16-85 and 24-85 lenses? And I find a zoom lens to be much more flexible than a fixed length lens as you will be less able to move around in the parks to get a perfect spot.
 
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Having lived in SA for most of my life all I can advise is for you to be careful! Keep your gear well hidden and be careful where you show off expensive looking cameras and lenses. I would have a decent compact as a back-up and 'safe' camera to pull out in dodgy looking areas.
 
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Looking forward to see your pictures. Sound like a great itinerary.

You're probably not going back, so forget about traveling light and bring what you think you'll need... and you forgot the field guides, the bins, the scope, the tripod, the window mount for the scope and a change of clothes.

We travelled from JNB to CPT in South Africa for 25 days with a rental car and were overweight without any camera... I have a good bird checklist though, but no pictures!
Too bad you have no photographs, but it sounds like you had a very nice birding trip. We had avid birders with us in South Africa last September, and they added 188 birds to their list.

This is the "Lens Lust" forum, so I didn't mention the other bits. :wink:

Don't forget a flash and a CP filter!
Rob, I always carry polarizers and usually a flash, but find I never use the flash.

Sounds like a great trip but keep in mind that changing lenses is something you don't want to do outside the car because of all the dust. Even inside the car you have to be careful. So try to plan ahead of what you are going to see and mount the lenses for that before you head out to reduce the number of times you change lenses.

Also, why bring both the 16-85 and 24-85 lenses? And I find a zoom lens to be much more flexible than a fixed length lens as you will be less able to move around in the parks to get a perfect spot.
I am well aware of the dust problem and plan to take precautions. As to primes vs. zooms, I'm sure I would be happier with a new 80-400 rather than the 300/4, but I just can't justify the expense.

Having lived in SA for most of my life all I can advise is for you to be careful! Keep your gear well hidden and be careful where you show off expensive looking cameras and lenses. I would have a decent compact as a back-up and 'safe' camera to pull out in dodgy looking areas.
Thanks, Desmond. We spent 3.5 weeks in SA last September, so I am aware of the precautions. We don't really visit 'dodgy' looking areas. Our wonderful guide is very savvy about such things.

That gear should cover all bases, but I thought you said you were traveling light? :wink::tongue::biggrin::tongue::wink:
'Light' is relative. :biggrin:

I am now considering taking my 28-105 AFD instead of the 85DX micro. The 28-105 is a full-frame lens and so could be used on either camera, and the 1:2 macro mode is really sufficient for wildflowers. With it, I may also leave the 135 AIS at home.
 
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Looks like a lot of duplication to me. I'd be tempted to put the 70-300 on the d7100, the 24-85 on the d600, and bring 1 lens for your macros...maybe the 300+TC as well for the big game.
 
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Looks like a lot of duplication to me. I'd be tempted to put the 70-300 on the d7100, the 24-85 on the d600, and bring 1 lens for your macros...maybe the 300+TC as well for the big game.
Greg, your suggestion makes some sense so I will think about it. The 16-85 on a D7000 has been my go-anywhere travel kit for so long that I never considered leaving it behind. The 24-85 on the D600 goes just as wide, but is crippled on the long end (by comparison). But with the 70-300 on the D7100 ready-to-hand, that should be no problem.

The 300/4 + TC definitely goes for birds and distant animals.

Worth considering.
 
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... We had avid birders with us in South Africa last September, and they added 188 birds to their list.

This is the "Lens Lust" forum, so I didn't mention the other bits. :wink:
Sorry out of topics, but 325 species on my checklist in SA in 25 days.

Actually we have a couple of bad photos! For me it was really a birding trip, but my wife wanted some photos... so she bought a few disposable cameras!!!

Looking forward for your trip report to Namibia and Botswana, as we are sitting on a fair amount of UA miles.

South Africa was great... First morning, a pack of wild dogs on the deserted road in N. Kruger, so close as almost licking our windows clean. I'll never forget having to back up the car because one the elephant got upset at the other car that drove by, and decided to attack us in our little Corolla. Or the rhinos so close for comfort, I wouldn't have stopped to take a picture anyway. Or the herd, mega herd, tera herd of buffalos that were crossing the road in front of us, forcing us to backtrack... lucky anyway we made it just in time for the night drive at our camp (they had already sold our seats!)... then the most memorable moment of the trip: on the way back sitting in the open truck with one young ranger holding a riffle... 13 lions blocking the road, resting on the warm pavement.

Anyway, looking back at the trip we did, as well another trip in Kenya (not 1 photo, but 215 species on the checklist!), I would keep the 300mm cum 1.4x teleconverter on the D7100 all the time... and the D600 loaded with the 24-85 for close action and landscape. At night or for close ups, then it's another game.

Enjoy your trip and sorry again for posting in the wrong forum.
 
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Sorry out of topics, but 325 species on my checklist in SA in 25 days.

Actually we have a couple of bad photos! For me it was really a birding trip, but my wife wanted some photos... so she bought a few disposable cameras!!!

Looking forward for your trip report to Namibia and Botswana, as we are sitting on a fair amount of UA miles.

South Africa was great... First morning, a pack of wild dogs on the deserted road in N. Kruger, so close as almost licking our windows clean. I'll never forget having to back up the car because one the elephant got upset at the other car that drove by, and decided to attack us in our little Corolla. Or the rhinos so close for comfort, I wouldn't have stopped to take a picture anyway. Or the herd, mega herd, tera herd of buffalos that were crossing the road in front of us, forcing us to backtrack... lucky anyway we made it just in time for the night drive at our camp (they had already sold our seats!)... then the most memorable moment of the trip: on the way back sitting in the open truck with one young ranger holding a riffle... 13 lions blocking the road, resting on the warm pavement.

Anyway, looking back at the trip we did, as well another trip in Kenya (not 1 photo, but 215 species on the checklist!), I would keep the 300mm cum 1.4x teleconverter on the D7100 all the time... and the D600 loaded with the 24-85 for close action and landscape. At night or for close ups, then it's another game.

Enjoy your trip and sorry again for posting in the wrong forum.
Sounds like you did have an exciting time. And I was not blaming you for posting in the wrong forum...just explaining why I only mentioned lenses.
 
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