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09-23-2015, 10:11 AM   #1
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Equipment to carry for African Safari

I will be in Kenya for a family wedding and am planning to visit Masai Mara region for 4 days.
Looking for equipment/lens suggestions to go along with the K3. I have lenses like the 55-300, 31/43/77, sigma 70-200/2.8. I believe that it's not safe to lug expensive equipment so am also wondering if I should just take a Panasonic LUMIX LX-100. Any suggestions?

09-23-2015, 11:12 AM   #2
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Outside of Nairobi and other urban areas, Kenya is lovely and safe for a guided, organized safari expedition. The Maasai Mara region would require more length than your short primes for wildlife and panaoramic shooting, and maybe your primes for the people pics. I wouldn't sweat the safety factor. Have your stuff in one bag that doesn't scream "super-expensive camera equipment inside" and there won't be any problems. You'd have the regret of your life if you just took the Lumix, with all due respect for the camera, but this is a job for a DSLR. Just my 2 cents after having done that trip along with South Africa and Swaziland.
09-23-2015, 11:47 AM   #3
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For a trip that you probably don't go too often, you will likely regret years later that you only manage a few "average" shots. I think I would take a best set of equipment that I have without breaking my back (for me, weight is an important factor). Good thing about Pentax brand is that it doesn't scream "expensive" camera in the eyes of most people; they would rather steal a Canon or Nikon brand. So, if you are going with a tour group, and someone in the group carries a heavy duty Canikon model, you should be good...but still you have to be vigilant and conscious about foreign environment.
09-23-2015, 01:33 PM   #4
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From what i have heard from Kenya photo tour guides its a dusty environment so you don't want to be swapping around lenses a lot, and the camera and lenses should be dust sealed. The subjects may be both far away and close up on very short time. I think that a weather sealed superzoom like the DA 18-135 WR could be a good choice for a Safari. I hope others can fill me in on what to use during night time safari and at the wedding.

09-23-2015, 01:43 PM   #5
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Aye... take big glass (even hired if need be) for that kind a trip of a lifetime and take out insurance in case.
09-23-2015, 01:55 PM   #6
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My most used safari lens is the 55-300. Would love to have something longer, but I'm not willing to carry the extra bulk and weight. A fast prime in addition for low light shots of always good, and I have a 18-135 mostly for non-safari use. One or more primes can do the job, though.

Safety is not really an issue outside of the big cities, and not something I'd worry too much about. And when travelling with a guide they'll keep you well away from anywhere shady

Enjoy!
09-23-2015, 07:30 PM   #7
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+1 on the dust problem. While on safari in Serengeti I kept a 17-50 on one body and my 55-300 on the other the entire time. While there were a few times a longer lens would have been useful the 55-300 was good enough and I got many excellent photos with it. If you only take one lens make it the 55-300mm. And make sure you have a bean bag!
09-24-2015, 03:34 AM   #8
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Wedding and then 4 days in Masai Mara, it sounds well organized. For most visitors the journey from Nairobi down to Masai Mara are included in the packet price. Most of the time you will be a member of a group so don't worry about the safety. Bring with your Pentax'. Kenya is still a safe destination in African terms! Carry your Pentax in a daily rucksack rather then a photo-bag.


Personally I've been traveled a lot in Kenya on my own hand. Last time was in 2012 – with my K10d + 4-5 lenses. Tamron 18-250 was “enough” for me. But I was more focused on the daily life rather then the wildlife. Masai Mara is flat, not that dusty, especially from now on (end of September) to the end of November - the ‘short rains’ season. 300 mm rather then 200 for grabbing the animals in the horizon. Enjoy Kenya!


Finally a general travel advice; Bring with your lenses in plastic boxes! Much better protected during travel, put it in your suitcase when you travel by air, no dust, no humidity....

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09-24-2015, 04:07 AM   #9
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My son just came back from a 42 day safari from Nairobi to Cape Town. He had two lenses, a Sigma 120-400 and a Tamron 18-250 on a K5. Those two lenses are pretty well ideal for landscape through to wild-life. I used a piece of plastic rainwater pipe with end caps to provide a hard case for the 120-400 so that he could put it in check-in luggage, put it under his seat on the bus, and also to protect it against dust. Using dry bags is also a good way to keep both dust and water out.

My son only took those two lenses because he was limited by weight and what I would lend him. If it was my choice, I would take five lenses for certain: Sigma 18-250, Pentax DA 15 Ltd, Pentax DA 21 Ltd, Pentax DA 40 Ltd, and a Pentax 150-450. Throw in an O-GPS1 as well and a lightweight tripod. If I wasn't weight limited, the Sigma 500 f4.5 and Pentax HD 1.4x Rear Converter would also go in the bag along with a bigger tripod.
09-24-2015, 07:29 AM   #10
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Maasai Mara is dusty, but not excessive. The normal vehicle is a Landcruiser, with an open top. Driving from place to place means ther is dust flying. When you stop, the dust settles. Hence a weather resistant lens is better, but you can change lenses when you are not driving. The K3 has the sensor cleaner, so just switch the camera off for each lens change.

You can get really close to the animals, so your 70-200 is great. You also need the 70 end to get the herd of zebra or gnu in. The bird life is wonderful, but there you would be best with a 500mm.... I managed with a 60-250 with the 1.4x.

I would strongly advise to keep all lenses in hand luggage. Theft from luggage is common and easy.
09-27-2015, 09:46 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dabola Quote
put it in your suitcase when you travel by air,
I doubt that that is a good idea. Not familiar with Kenya, but locally luggage handlers don't have a good reputation.
09-27-2015, 11:28 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dabola Quote
put it in your suitcase when you travel by air,
QuoteOriginally posted by sterretje Quote
I doubt that that is a good idea. Not familiar with Kenya, but locally luggage handlers don't have a good reputation.
I wouldn't do so here in Europe, and definitely not in Kenya. Not that I have had any bad experiences myself, but I have heard enough first-hand accounts from people travelling through Nairobi frequently. I would not send any photo equipment (or other valuables) in the checked luggage.

Come to think of it, one of my bags did arrive with both side compartments open once. The main compartment was locked. Nothing was missing or had fallen out, so I suspect it had been done just before the luggage was loaded onto the conveyor belt. That was probably in Johannesburg, though.
09-28-2015, 12:33 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by manishved Quote
I will be in Kenya for a family wedding and am planning to visit Masai Mara region for 4 days.
Looking for equipment/lens suggestions to go along with the K3. I have lenses like the 55-300, 31/43/77, sigma 70-200/2.8. I believe that it's not safe to lug expensive equipment so am also wondering if I should just take a Panasonic LUMIX LX-100. Any suggestions?
Bring both cameras.
Use LX100 for wide angle shots, urban shots (where you are not comfortable to pull out dslr), macro shots and some low light situations.
Use K3 and bring only Sigma 70-200mm for wildlife and everyhing else where you need telephoto.
Two bodies, one with standard zoom another with a telephoto, if you have enough spare batteries and memory cards you won't miss anything.
09-29-2015, 09:14 AM   #14
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Savotje and Sterrtje, you're both right. Check in the lenses by the suitcase when you're traveling by airports like Nairobi isn't safe.

I primarily focused on the plastic boxes – as a protection when traveling. Most of the times when I'm traveling in Africa I prefer rucksack. With 2-3-4-5 lenses I prefer to let the shoulders do the job. The staff in Kenyan matatus and bush taxi's throw the luggage... I'm sure these plastic boxes have saved my lenses many times during all my travel in Africa. But be aware of the risk of condense.
09-29-2015, 09:35 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dabola Quote

Finally a general travel advice; Bring with your lenses in plastic boxes! Much better protected during travel, put it in your suitcase when you travel by air, no dust, no humidity....
First time I've seen using plastic cylinders for carrying lenses. Not saying it's not a good idea, just something I'd like to know more about, before I consider this mode of travel storage.

Not sure I'd feel comfortable putting them in my suitcase during on plane loading, if that's what you do.

Do you use any impact absorbent/protective padding to fit the lenses in the plastic containers ?

Do you use a particular type of plastic container ?

Thanks,

Les
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