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What’s In The Bag?

It’s a question I’m asked all the time - by fellow photographers, airport check-in staff and passengers who can't believe I got this much hand luggage on board!

And it’s a fair question. 'Big Bertha' (as my bag is known) is an enormous burden to be carting around. So here is the mystery revealed, along with my recommended kit list if you’re a really keen photographer coming on safari.

My Recommended Essentials:


  • DSLR, mirrorless, bridge, compact or point n shoot - it doesn’t matter, bring what you can lay your hands on - we’ll get the best out of it! And do bring another backup camera in case of failure - even if it’s just a phone.


  • For game drive predator photography a good telephoto zoom (eg 100-400mm or 200-500mm) is perfect as it is flexible and has plenty of reach. As fast a lens as possible (wide aperture/low F-stop value) is also a bonus because much of the action happens in low light around dawn and dusk

  • Avid birders may wish to consider a longer reach: 500-600mm or a 1.4x converter

  • Please be aware if you only bring a very long fixed lens that the wildlife here - especially in the conservancies - comes so close that at times you could well struggle to fit it in your frame!

  • A wider angle lens - the wider end of the spectrum (anything from 24mm – 100mm) will give great shots that include some habitat context as well as your subject

  • Specialist lenses are not necessary for general safari, but if you wish to participate in any astro photography sessions an ultra-wide lens is optimum for this (around 10-16mm). In your free time you may also have the chance to use a macro lens for flora and insects

Other Important Stuff

  • Chargers for both cameras and plenty of spare charged batteries

  • Card reader and memory cards for both cameras plus spares

  • Power adapters if necessary (Serian uses British configuration 3 square pin plugs in Kenya)

  • If you would like to try some longer exposure wildlife photography a solid (not graduated) neutral density filter will come in handy if you have one – if not don’t worry, we will simply adjust camera settings as much as possible

  • A water/dust proof covering for your camera and lens – doesn’t have to be expensive, I have a cheap transparent plastic one from the internet – it does the job fine and has the bonus of being really light

  • Cleaning materials for your camera and lens - cloths, cleaning fluid, air puffer brush

  • Sturdy waterproof and dustproof camera bag

  • A beanbag can be useful for the vehicles, though basic ones will be supplied

  • Tripod: not necessary unless you wish to participate in any landscape/astro/macro sessions in your free time

  • Binoculars if used

There are of course a gazillion gadgets and accessories you can include in your kit – it’s down to personal preference - but that should be sufficient to cover just about every situation you’ll come across out here on safari!

My Complete Kit as Photographer In Residence - Limited By What I Can Carry On A Plane! (see photo above)


Primary Camera - Nikon D5

Secondary camera - Nikon D850

Action camera - GoPro - old v4 but I don’t use it that much so haven’t upgraded

iPhone 8+ (not pictured as I used it to take this image!)


400mm F2.8 - Nikon

70-200mm F2.8 - Nikon

24-70mm F2.8 - Nikon

14-24mm F2.8 - Nikon

105mm macro F2.8 - Sigma

(NB I’m really missing the 200-400mm gap in my focal lengths!)

Other Stuff

A small light with rechargeable batteries

Loupe viewer for dslr screens - Zacuto

Filter holder - Lee

10 stop and 6 stop filters - Lee

Chargers and batteries for all cameras

Stabiliser for iPhone - ZhiZen

Travel tripod - MEFOTO

MacBook air laptop - Apple

2 x 4TB hard drives - Seagate

Spectacles and spares - Specsavers

Rechargeable head torch - Blusmart

Camera straps - Peak Design & Maa Trust

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