Quick answers to frequently asked questions about wildlife photo safaris
When is the best time to go on a photo safari?
All of our scheduled safari dates take into consideration temperatures, expected weather for the season, and the concentration of photogenic wildlife. We intentionally choose our schedule so you have the best chance of seeing wildlife everywhere we go.
Most of our African Big 5 safaris take place between April and October, when temperatures are mild and the risk of rain is low. Winter is the dry season (May, June, July) and foliage is minimal. Animals congregate near waterholes and are easy to spot and photograph. August, September and October are spring, and the bush is bursting with new life as trees bud out and grass begins to grow. Lots of babies are being born during December and January, and you have a great chance of seeing births. Late December through February is hot, and it’s also rainy season, so we only offer private custom safaris during these months. You’ll see a lot of young animals, but run the risk of game drives in the rain. That can make for dramatic photography, and it’s low season—without crowds—for the hard-core photographers. March through May is fall. It’s still green, and the weather is cooler. Wildlife is active. No matter when you go, you’ll be glad you went!
In the Southern Hemisphere, October – February is summer. It’s the best time to go to Antarctica or Peru. Our Antarctica trips are scheduled after penguins have molted, chicks are hatching, and whales have arrived. Too early and there’s not much happening, too late and you’re walking in penguin poop watching gawky youngsters. We want cuteness and pristine snow for the best experience.
October – April are the best time to go to Egypt and Jordan to avoid extreme heat.
June, July and August are the best time to see Polar Bears and Walrus harems, plus whales and birds in the Arctic.
Let us know what you really want to see and experience, and we’ll recommend the best safari for your goals.
Why should I choose Eagle Eye Safaris?
Ernest, Karen, or both of us personally lead every Eagle Eye Safaris trip. You’ll get one-on-one attention to ensure you have the right settings and angles for the photo. We want you have a fantastic, memorable, fun safari experience. We love sharing the treasures of Africa–our wildlife–with our guests, and teaching you how to take home photos that will make you proud. Be sure to check out our reviews on Facebook and Trip Advisor! You can learn more about Ernest and Karen HERE.
What sets you apart from other safari companies?
Our customer service skills and our personally led safaris! We’re here to answer questions, help you with logistics, let you know what to bring and wear, advise you about camera gear, and suggest gratuity guidelines for staff. It’s your vacation, and it’s our job to make it as stress-free as possible. We take that seriously and we strive to do our very best for every client. We welcome everyone. By that, we mean EVERYONE. We are about the friendliest people you will ever meet.
Ernest and Karen are award-winning, published wildlife photographers with a passion for teaching. Photography coaching, camera instruction, and Lightroom/Photoshop instruction are included on almost all of our safaris. The exception is Antarctica and the Arctic, where our photography/editing workshops are optional at an additional cost. On safaris where we don’t have breaks during the day, we offer personal coaching and camera instruction, and if time allows, we’ll help you with Lightroom/Photoshop. Ernest and/or Karen personally lead all of our safaris.
We try to keep our groups small, with extra space on the vehicles for your camera gear, as much as possible. Most safari companies stuff 10 people into the vehicle to maximize profit. We always try to limit the number of people per vehicle, leaving seats empty for gear.
We are happy to offer as much advice about your trip as possible. Ernest and Karen can chat with you via Skype, WhatsApp, or phone calls to discuss your plans, and we answer emails quickly.
What’s the “Big 5?” Will we see them?
Do I need vaccinations?
Is the water safe to drink?
Is the food safe to eat?
Do you have a bar? Can I bring my own alcohol?
Can I pay for things with Credit Cards? What about ATMs?
When traveling, American Express is not widely accepted on the continent of Africa, so plan to use MasterCard or VISA. We recommend leaving debit cards at home, and arranging with your bank to have a PIN associated with your credit card for cash withdrawals from ATMs. Credit cards are accepted at most of the Lodges for personal purchases, spa services, and gratuities. We’ll let you know well ahead of your trip if any of our accommodations don’t accept cards. You’ll want cash for craft markets and small purchases, and we will suggest a reasonable amount to withdraw based on the length of your trip. You can see our complete Travel Tips HERE.
Is it safe to travel?
We recommend getting Travel and Medical Evacuation Insurance no matter where you travel in the world. Your credit card and homeowner’s or health insurance may offer short-term policies, and you can Google to compare rates with public companies. We will cancel a trip if there is political or civil unrest in any location to which we go, or if we feel it is unsafe for any other reason (see our Terms & Conditions).
Why should I book your Big 5 Ground Transportation Package for my South African Safari?
You can make your own arrangements to get to the Lodge, too. Our GTP is an option for your convenience, should you want our assistance with travel arrangements. It is not necessary to book our GTP to go on safari with us. Other options include renting a car and driving, or flying via SAA Airlink charters (around R 12,000).
What should I wear?
We recommend colors that are not too bright, and avoid white. Khaki, brown, black, and softer tones of other colors are appropriate. Safaris are casual. You’ll want good walking shoes such as tennis shoes for bush walks and game drives, flip-flops or sandals for around the camp, and a pair of slippers for nighttime comfort. We wear hiking pants that convert to shorts. Bring layers: short sleeved, long sleeved, a hoodie or sweatshirt, and a rain jacket. You’ll need a safari hat and sunglasses! Our Travel Tips and Packing List (click HERE) have a detailed list and good suggestions. We’ll let you know about a week before you travel what the expected weather will be so you can edit your packing list.
How far will I have to walk?
Under 14 or over 65? You won’t be left out. We can do a mini-walk right around the Lodge, and we will stop during the game drive to see many of the interesting things seen on bush walks.
Gorilla & Chimpanzee Treks are strenuous and you need a moderate level of fitness. We will be hiking on steep terrain that may be slippery, through jungles. You will hire a porter, and your porter’s job is to ensure that you get to see the Gorillas, even if they have to lift you up and carry you. Some of our Lodges are built on hillsides and in those Lodges, there are quite a few steps to your bungalow. Definitely plan to spend time hiking or at the gym prior to a Gorilla & Chimpanzee Trek–and it will be worth it!
We’ll do a lot of walking in Egypt and Jordan, and hiking in Galapagos.
You can contact us at info@EagleEyeSafaris.com to ask the specifics about any of our trips. We want you to enjoy your trip with us without surprises!
I want to bring my family on dates different than your published dates, or on a private safari.
With enough notice, we can create a private, custom safari for you and your family or friends. With 4 or more people, prices are about the same as our published safaris. Just email us at info@EagleEyeSafaris.com and we can get started on a quote for you.