Helpful Camera Accessories

In the Serengeti, you are not getting out of your vehicle. Ok, maybe a few times for breakfast or lunch in the Bush after your guide has scoped out a safe area to do so... or when you have to go to the bathroom (which is typically referred to as "checking the tire"). Other than that, you are going to stay in the vehicle. Why? For starters, you are not at the top of the food chain here. These animals are big, strong and can be dangerous. Some of them are also fast.

If you are a pro or an amateur used to using a tripod, you are probably going to want to drag that along to Tanzania. I'd say "don't". With the exception of shooting star trails at night from camp or trying to capture the milky way at night where you need a long exposure probably won't use one. Take a small table tripod if you must. But leave the big guy at home. You'll thank me.

Africa Dream Safaris specializes in private safaris. Your vehicle will be able to hold 7 passengers and one driver, but ADS almost never crams that many people into a vehicle... what fun would that be? You will spend your days either sitting inside or standing up with your head out the open top of the vehicle. A tripod is just not practical. It will slow you down and limit your movement. These animals move. You need to react. Yes, there is a rail around the top of the vehicle and there are companies that make "mafer" clamps that allow you to bolt a tripod head to the truck so you can use that like a tripod... but I find these to be a pain. In the Serengeti the way to stabilize your camera is with bean bags. You kill the engine, toss your beanbag on the rail, slap your camera on it and you are ready to shoot. In seconds! Or, if you want a lower angle you drop down inside the vehicle and prop the beanbag on the open window or window frame. On Amazon you can buy empty camera beanbags. ADS will get you the beans if you give them the heads up. When your safari is over, they empty the beans into a bag and give them to the locals. ADS has some camera beanbags of their own which you can request at no cost... providing they have enough. Just ask.

I have taken a tripod to Tanzania only to hold our big motion picture cameras while we were shooting documentaries... but never with stills. I know some of you are very attached to your tripods. But trust me on this.

One thing to mention here with regards to video... the roads in the Serengeti are pretty rough in places. You are going to see some cool stuff as you are driving from one place to another. Your guide will also be talking to you along the way. This is cool stuff to capture video of. We have had really good luck with handheld stabilizers for our GoPro cameras (called KarmaGrips) and DJI makes a cool setup called the DJI Osmo. These are relatively inexpensive and shoot really cool footage (and yes, slow motion). Just holding your video capable camera or a dedicated video camera isn't going to cut it when you are driving. Several companies also make handheld gimbals for smartphones now. Since phones like the iPhone can shoot 1080 and even 4k... these are great tools to have in your bag.

I have seen people have some success with monopods in certain circumstances, especially in the Maasai villages, but even there it's just one more thing to carry (and again, we'll get to weight in a minute).

Create Your Own Itinerary

Receive instant day-by-day trip details designed just for you including rates, seasonal highlights, guest testimonials, photos & more!

What are you waiting for?