How to Best Use Site-Guides on Your African Photo Safari
Site guides, also known as location guides, or park guides, serve the same purpose: to offer guidance and advice in place of a physical tour guide. A site guide is for those who are unable to afford guided photo safaris or prefer driving on their own. The site guide can be downloaded as a downloadable eBook. You can either print it or use it to reference it on your computer, iPad, or Kindle.
You can find specific information about southern African national parks in the eBook photographer’s guide. These eBooks were written by wildlife photographers who spent many years photographing in these parks. You are effectively buying their years of collective experience.
The eBooks provide details like lodge and waterhole maps, when to visit each one, which animals to expect to see, where to park your car, the best driving routes in each area, and other photographic lessons.
You can take a Paris travel guide, for instance, and the maps will show you the various points of interest, such as the Eiffel Tower. Once you reach the spot, it is almost certain that the tower is there. However, the variable will be the weather and the people. It may rain, shine, or be overcast, and it might be very busy. You will need to adjust your photography style accordingly.
Park site guides are similar to tourist guide books. They show you where waterholes are and what other points of interest are. However, the variables are animals and weather. Visitors should combine information sources in order to locate some of the more difficult animals.
To get amazing photographs, a visitor should follow these steps:
1. Locate the animal or animals.
2. To make the most of the light, position yourself.
3. Make sure you have the best equipment for your photos.
Site guides give you specific advice about points 2 and 3 and indicate hot spots for animals. The waterholes attract herbivores to the waterholes. Predators are territorial and will patrol large areas of land, searching for food, marking territories, and looking for mates.
It is impossible to find the animals, so it is crucial that visitors get this part right. This is where intelligence and combining come in. After reading the site guide, the visitor will have a good idea of the locations of certain animals. However, he must then combine that information with current data. This can be done by reading the sighting books and sighting boards in all camps that provide daily sightings—also, talking to staff and other visitors to discover what they saw.
This will allow them to get a clear picture of the area where the predators are today. Then, the following day or the next, they can decide which area they should patrol to increase their chances of finding the animal.
It is important to set realistic expectations about site guides. National parks are not large zoos that visitors can drive to every waterhole to find the animals. A zoo is not exciting, but the wild offers excitement and surprise! Site guides are just that, a guide. It should not be considered a guarantee.