Some people call us a safari company and some people call us wildlife photographers. The reality is that we are neither. When you travel with C4 and our guides you enter into our world where we grew up. All of us have spent innumerable hours in Africa studying its whims and understanding its nature.
Photography for all of us was a medium through which to express our love for the natural ways of this continent. So when you join on a safari with us, it is about sharing the large and hairy and also the small nuances that make your eyes widen.
Revealing Africa to you is what a C4 safari is about. It is empathy, experience and rapture all played out through the medium we love: photography.
We are serious about what we do, but we love some fun too. Expect a few (actually a lot of) laughs, a bit of horseplay at times, but mostly some wonderful moments that compliment the brilliant photography whilst with us.
We welcome you to a safari like we would welcome you into our home, and this makes for a wonderful 'esprit de corps' amongst our safari groups. I suppose it is also why we have so many clients returning with us each year, it is like one large family.
Before booking your Africa photographic safari, think about your specific photographic passions and expectations. Is it true wilderness, away from the maddening crowds of tourists, that you find most appealing or perhaps are you looking to specifically photograph cheetah, leopard, flamingos or gorillas? Do you enjoy African savannah landscapes, traditional cultures or African wildlife photography - or perhaps a combination of all three?
The safaris that we design are aimed to guarantee exceptional photographic opportunities but each safari is also designed to offer you an authentic African safari experience. Please check the details of your safari so that you know exactly where you will be going to and what you can expect to photograph.
The most elementary decision will be which country or combination of countries to visit on your African photography safari? Africa is a harsh continent and rainy seasons as well as hot dry seasons need to be factored into your choice.
We plan each safari so that we travel to that location at exactly the right season that will maximise the wildlife and photographic experience.
For example, there is a certain time of year that the wildebeest cross the Mara River and similarly, the best view of Mount Kilimanjaro is in the middle of the monsoon rains. Having lived in Africa our entire lives, we use our local knowledge of the various countries and ecosystems to ensure that our African photography safaris run at the best times of year to facilitate excellent photography.
The next important step in Africa photographic travel is choosing the right camps or lodges that will allow you as a wildlife photographer to access the best areas at the right time of day. For example, the Masai Mara has many camps but there are only a few inside the reserve that allow quick access to the various wildebeest crossing points. Using the correct safari camp or lodge is a key component of an African photography safari and key to maximising your experience.
Exclusive use of private vehicles, allowing freedom and flexibility is essential to allow a nature photographer the time and freedom to work a particular subject or area. Does the safari camp have sufficient power for the running of laptops and charging of batteries? How far is the safari camp from the best game viewing areas? Can we alight from the vehicle or drive off-road? The answer to these simple questions can mean the difference between a successful African safari photography tour or not. As African safari specialists, we are able to select the best properties for your African photo safari and ensure you are as prepared as possible to get the best images you can take.
Yes, we certainly do. If you would like to travel alone or with a friend, spouse or your own private group, we can arrange a private safari for you. We will plan the details of the safari to fit your travel schedule and your budget. Typically these safaris are more expensive then our scheduled safaris. What you get on a private safari is the service of a full time professional wildlife photographer who will guide and tutor you through your safari. We only use the set guides in Africa- those who are highly acclaimed, respected and well widely published. Their full time profession is using their vast experience and skills to anticipate the great images and get you to take excellent images whilst on safari with them.
We do not discriminate with regards to your camera ability. Come with an open mind and you will walk away with amazing images. Many non-photographers and also professional photographers join us on safari. We foster an excellent environment whereby each person's skills are catered for and each person on a safari has equal opportunity to learn and gain insight to taking better images.
Yes they do, and that is because they love photography and love teaching the medium to other people. It is about sharing the deep understanding of African wildlife and photography with others that gives us great joy.
Using a camera to 'see' the shot is imperative to them helping you get yours. It also allows them to relay camera settings and focal lengths to you. By having only 3 photographers on a vehicle the guide can then easily and clearly communicate his settings, ideas and concepts to you.
Through the guides photographing, you benefit more from their skills as a professional wildlife photographer: While they photograph, they share with you their creative thoughts and inform you regarding the best technical details of exposure, depth of field, shutter speed, composition and focusing.
As we are not a medical institution, please check in with your local travel clinic or doctor for full and comprehensive advice.
From our own personal experience of 40 years in Africa:
A yellow fever, hepatitis and rabies vaccination are very important. If traveling between African countries customs officials will ask you for your yellow-fever certificate.
The safari camps and lodges do have medicine kits.
For each safari we go on, we have insurance covering evacuation and there is always an evacuation plan. It is imperative that you take out your own comprehensive travel insurance and travel with a copy of it.
The most common travel issue that happens is travellers diarrhoea. This is mostly prevented by drinking lots of bottled water and staying hydrated.
We find it practical to travel through Africa with the following medical items:
- Pain killers
- Antihistamine cream and tablets for any insect bites or allergic reactions
- Any medicine or ointments that you would normally take at home
- Mosquito repellent
- Re-hydrant sachets
- Disinfectant or antibiotic cream
- Lots of high (30+) factor sunblock
6 weeks before each safari we send out a very comprehensive pre-departure travel document that covers amongst other topics:
- Travelling with and looking after photographic equipment in Africa.
- Vehicle etiquette and consideration for fellow passengers and photographers.
- Keeping healthy in Africa.
- Immigration and Customs.
- Travel documents, personal items & clothing checklist
- Personal medical items checklist.
- Camera equipment checklist this is a comprehensive list and you should not be overwhelmed.
- Summary itinerary.
- C4 Photo Safaris choice of lenses and other camera equipment for this photo safari.
Most safari camps are able to handle food allergies but not with the degree of skill that five star hotels do. If you have a food allergy or a dietary requirement, please send it through to us, so we can inform the camp. The best way to handle an intolerance, is to simply avoid eating that particular food as the menus in camp are quite diverse. If you have a more uncommon allergy, like being allergic to eggs, and you know of a solution (like a powder substitute), then bring it along on safari. If you have a deadly allergy, then be sure to travel with your own medication and request in camp that that ingredient be removed from the kitchen and the store. If you assist the camp in managing your allergy, it will be a great help.
Please check in with your local travel clinic or doctor for advice. From my experience, a yellow fever and hepatitis vaccination is a must, while the plethora of others are optional. Our safaris are conducted in low risk malarial areas but for your own peace of mind, we recommend that you take a prophylactic. In areas where you get tsetse flies in East Africa, humans are not the primary disease carries, and contracting Tryps is very rare. There is nothing you can do about these flies except to dress appropriately (keep reading) and to apply mosie-guard. None of our current safari destinations carry significant amounts of tsetsi flies. The camps do have medicine kits and there is always an evacuation plan. We do however find it practical to always travel through Africa with the following items: - Immodium (keep this handy when traveling) - Buscopan (for tummy cramps) - Pain killers (that contain paracetamol and a muscle relaxant) - Antihistamine cream and tablets for any allergic reactions - Melatonin to help speedy recovery from jetlag - Any medicine or ointments that you would normally take at home - Mosquito repellant - A product called Mosie-guard for areas where Tsetsi Flies occur (manufactured in the Uk and Deet does not work) - Tweezers for any thorns or splinters - Re-hydrants sachets (very important) - Disinfectant or antibiotic cream ( just for niks, cuts or grazes) - Plasters (to cover niks, cuts or grazes)
Both East and much of Southern Africa was a British colony and as such, you can expect that type of cuisine. The breakfasts usually consist of cereals and a hot English breakfast. Lunches are usually light with a variety of salads and a meat option. Dinners are mostly traditional English style affairs usually with a soup starter and freshly baked camp bread. The main course will usually be roast meat, with vegetables. Dessert is usually a simple affair consisting of fruit or a baked pudding. You will not go hungry!
The reality is that on any scheduled charters in Africa, their will be luggage restrictions. Short of chartering your own flight (which we can do), our advice is to bring only the essential camera equipment. C4 always caters for extra weight on the small plane flights that run throughout Africa. Depending on the safari you book, we will be able to advise you on exact weight restrictions for these small flights.
We unfortunately do not have any power over scheduled flights. We do have good information about "packing for airline travel" that we send out to you before you travel to Africa.
Our tours cover all travel, food and accommodation costs (unless otherwise stated). This means that spending money can be kept to souvenirs, curios and books. This normally amounts to USD $10.00 per person per day.
C4 Photo Safaris has the full capacity to plan and run commercial photo shoots for professional clients. We are able to supply you with the best guides in the wildlife photography industry as well as organize and run all your ground handling logistics for the shoot. Our knowledge of African travel logistics combined with our specialized knowledge of wildlife and the best places to photograph them, places us in the perfect position to plan and run your commercial shoot. Please contact Shem with your request. Additionally we can supply photographers for the shoot where they would work under the production name.
On all tours with c4 images and safaris, our guides have the right to take photographs. Their goal is to get you into the right position and tutor you into getting the best photograph. Once they have done this, they have full rights to take their own photographs. The rights of the guides and all of their images remains with the individual guide who took the photographs. No other person has any rights over the photographs taken by a guide representing C4 Photo Safaris.
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