Follow a few simple tips to eradicate blurred sunsets and headless family members in your travel snaps
Even the best holiday memories fade – but photographs never do. At least, not these days with digital technology enabling us all to keep those happy snaps forever. But what if you struggle to take pictures you’ll want to treasure? Do you always chop people’s heads off, or end up with out of focus landscapes? Read on and let a professional show you how it’s done.
Invest in your camera
Don’t scrimp on time or cash when choosing the right camera. Do your research whether you are buying a full digital SLR, a compact camera or even just using a smartphone as your main travel camera. There is no going back, so read the reviews and go into a store to ask questions face to face even if you later buy online.
Get all the gear
You’ve got your camera, but make sure to get all the other bits and bobs you might need on the road; that means spare memory cards, lens-cleaning cloths and, most importantly, a spare battery. Ignore this advice at your peril – you’ll remember it ruefully when a lion vaults over your safari truck just after your battery dies.
Stabilise that image
So many gorgeous sunrise and sunset shots, as well as many landscape images, work best with a tripod. You don’t need a huge man-sized tripod rig that takes out passers by as you turn corners. There are plenty of compact tripods these days and you can even buy tiny little tripods for smartphones.
Compose, compose and then compose some more. Don’t just snap dull shots of the Eiffel Tower. Think about closing in and shooting some of the detail, or adding some people for extra interest – and use whatever light you have. Put simply, the more effort and time you put into composition, the better your pictures will be.
People not ants
When you are shooting photographs that aim to sum up the spirit of a great holiday don’t have the stars of the show standing miles away. Even if the backdrop is dramatic the people are the main focus here and you want to capture their enjoyment, even if they are a little camera shy, so bring them into the foreground.
Tell a story
Home in on details to tell the story of a place. For a market, first shoot a wide shot from a distance to set the scene, then move in slowly, finishing with close-ups of food and dashes of local prices or language to add more colour. You should have everything you need now to make a great montage for your wall back home.
If you have invested in an expensive DSLR don’t just rely on the automatic modes. Get creative and experiment with various combinations of ISO settings and different shutter speeds. This will enable you to take more sophisticated photographs, as well as meaning you can call yourself a “proper photographer”.
How to locate a lost travelling companion
If you find yourself alone in a foreign country or a strange place instead of surrounded by the friends and family you set off with, don’t panic – these tips will have you reunited in no time
When you’re on holiday, getting lost is half the fun. Wandering around a strange city and stumbling upon a picturesque little street or charming courtyard is the kind of thing that tempts us out of our cosy homes in the first place.
But if you’re part of a group, and especially if you’re part of a smallish group, getting unexpectedly separated from the rest of your gang can be an unsettling experience.
It’s especially worrying when you’re travelling with children, who may not be carrying mobile phones and can’t therefore call you to explain that they’ve just found an interesting little shop selling salty caramel waffles or something.
Good preparation can cater for most eventualities, but fate always has a way of catching you out. Here are a few tips to reunite you with your travelling companions.
Get on up
If you’re in a crowded place, a busy shopping centre or theme park, you need to get as high up as possible. Not only will you be more visible to your lost pal, but you have more chance of catching sight of them.
No handy fountain, chair or ornamental wall to stand on? Seek out the tallest person you can see and ask them for their help. Describe your lost friend or …
A picture is worth a thousand words.
You’re on holiday. Chances are your phone or digital camera has a recent picture of the person you’re looking for. Show it to your new tall friend.
If your companion has been missing for a while, or if they’re very young, then you’ll want to speak to the local police; taking along a recent picture of the person wearing the clothes they had on when they went missing would be very helpful, especially if there’s a language barrier.
Find the centre
If there’s a major landmark, some sort of Eiffel Tower for example, or a Taj Mahal perhaps, head for it. Is there a sign pointing to the Tourist Information Office?
While it might be tempting to stand still and let the person come back to you, you might be in for a long wait if they’ve had the same idea. Heading for an easily recognisable landmark is not only likely to bring you back to your pal, it will also put you near police and other sources of aid if you’re still having no luck.
Go with the flow
Young children, dogs, and easily distracted adults always follow the path of least resistance. If you’re somewhere without obvious landmarks to seek out, there’s a better-than-average chance that the wanderer went in the direction that the wind’s blowing.
As in any crisis situation, it’s hard to resist the natural temptation to panic. But keep a cool head, think about the psychology of your quarry, and you should be enjoying those salty caramel waffles together in no time.
How to travel responsibly
How to travel responsibly, being a responsible budget traveler Tourism in developing countries can be both a blessing and a curse – each individual leaves his or her mark upon a place.
Small decisions that we make along the way as travelers insure that future travelers find a place as welcoming and magical as we did.
Travel and tourism should be planned and executed as a means of individual growth and development. When practiced with an open mind, it is an awesome source of self education, mutual tolerance and for learning about the diversity and wonderful nuances that make our planet such an interesting place.
Everyone has a responsibility for creating and promoting responsible travel and tourism. Governments, business and communities must shoulder their share of the load, but as a budget traveler you can support this in many ways that make a huge difference:
- Open your mind to other cultures and traditions. It will transform your trip and you will earn respect and welcome of the local people. Be tolerant and respectful, making sure to observe social and cultural traditions and practices.
- Respect human rights. Exploitation in any form conflicts with the fundamental purpose of travel.
- Help preserve natural environments. Leave things the way you found it – or better. Protect wildlife and habitats and do not purchase products made from endangered plants or animals….this includes animal products, novelty insects, etc…
- Respect cultural resources. Activities should be conducted in a way that respects the artistic, archaeological and cultural heritage of a place.
- Support the local economy – they need it. Purchase local handicrafts and products using the principles of fair trade. Bargaining for goods should reflect an understanding of a fair wage – don’t fall victim to traveler scams, but that merchant probably needs the difference more than you do.
- Get up to date about the destination’s current health situation prior to departure and be assured that your health and personal security will not be threatened. Make sure that you have the means to remain healthy and happy before you arrive in a new place.
- Learn as much as possible about your destination and take time to understand the customs, norms and traditions in an effort to avoid accidentally offending the local population.
- Learn the local laws so that you do not accidentally break them. Refrain from all trafficking in illicit drugs, arms, antiques, protected species and products or substances that are dangerous or prohibited.
Responsible travel is not complicated. Getting into the mindset that you are going to leave a place in better shape than you found it by doing your part and encouraging others, will ensure that the doors will be kept open for future budget travelers!
provided by StepUpTravel.org
10 Best Safari Destinations in Africa
BWINDI IMPENETRABLE FOREST RESERVE
Guides ask you not to stare at the mountain gorillas, but it’s tough. The gentle giants have deep mysterious eyes that lull you into a sense of serenity. Home to roughly half the world’s mountain gorillas, tracking is a highlight of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Reserve.
Gifted with theatrical landscape, volcanoes intersperse jagged valleys and waterfalls shrouded in altitude mist. The principal birding destination bears no fewer than 23 of Uganda’s 24 Albertine Rift endemics, including the spectacularly endangered African Green Broadbill.
Insider Tip: Gorillas often enter Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp. Nestled deep inside Bwindi UNESCO World Heritage Site, this camp is remote and atmospheric.
ETOSHA NATIONAL PARK
Namibia is rousing serious safari attention with its stark beauty, rugged coastlines, and evolving landscapes. Etosha National Park is home to Africa’s tallest elephants, the endangered black rhino, cheetah, and perennial springs luring the big cats. Unique scenes across a shimmering saltpan of mirages are seen via self-drive safaris. Upmarket lodges and camps fringe park boundaries, where guided safaris are inclusive.
Don’t Miss: A stay with a difference, Onguma Treetop Camp is built on stilts amongst treetops, with panoramic views over Onguma Game reserve. The sense of remoteness is unparalleled. Four very intimate thatched rooms feature canvas walls and outdoor showers.
CHOBE NATIONAL PARK
Africa’s densest game concentrations lie along a brilliant peacock-blue river, making Chobe National Park a prime game destination. Situated within the Okavango Delta, we recommend Savute marsh: teeming with wildlife year-round, easily accessible and with a wide range of lodgings for all budgets. Chobe is a stronghold of endangered species such as wild dog, cheetah, and brown hyena.
Insider Tip: Take a water safari to watch wildlife huddled around papyrus-clad curves in the river. Meet the original inhabitants, the San Bushmen, to learn their extraordinary culture. Indulgence is paramount at the Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero lodge, with spa, gourmet food, and undisturbed views.
MASAI MARA NATIONAL RESERVE
Africa’s most popular safari destination boasts effortless vistas and dramatic game viewing. Masai Mara remains most visited, with rolling grasslands and scattered acacia woodland home to the Big Five. July through October is a Mara highlight—annual migration, where a stampede of millions of wildebeest makes the ground vibrate. Naibor Camp is a luxury-tented camp of contemporary comforts, tucked away within riverine woodland on Talek River.
Insider Tip: Spectacular safaris are specialty of Enasoit. Dhow sailing on the serene Lamu archipelago, soaring over deserted beaches and visiting nomadic tribes by helicopter, or traditional Jeep through foothills of Mount Kenya; Enasoit redefines luxury safari.
HWANGE NATIONAL PARK
Unrivaled guides and unique backdrops are Zimbabwe’s assets, amidst low-lying semi-desert to lush highlands strewn with lakes and forests. Hwange National Park in the Northwest is the largest. The elephants are world-famed and, here, you’ll find one of the world’s largest populations. The mighty Zambezi River, from Victoria Falls, creates waterholes for thirsty wildlife. Emerging from recent troubles, tourists are flocking in.
Insider Tip: View game from an underground hide at The Hide, which also offers night game drives.Somalisa is an elegant bush camp with six solar powered highly luxurious tents. The pool overlooks the entire pan of wildlife below.
KRUGER NATIONAL PARK
Where: South Africa
Kruger is a classic. One of Africa’s oldest and best-maintained parks typifies the highest variety of wildlife. It’s renowned as the easiest spot to see the Big Five, aided by its unfenced borders with Africa’s finest game reserves. Sophisticated lodges offer the ultimate in lavish luxury and intimate bush hideaways.
Insider Tip: Set in private Sabi Sands Game Reserve, sustained by the Sabi and Sand rivers,Dulini’s six suites ooze elegance. Romance is heightened by a symphony of birdlife and passage of wildlife. The original eco private game reserve, Londolozi, is unashamedly family-run and winning awards for its quality of food, service, accommodation, and ecotourism.
VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK
The landlocked beauty of Rwanda stuns visitors. Misty moody rainforest, forested volcanoes, undulating grasslands, and tranquil lakes are ideal for trekking and dugout canoeing. The upper slopes ofvolcanoes conservation area comprise three national parks, encapsulating Rwanda, Uganda, and DR Congo—the most famous residents being 350-strong mountain gorillas.
Insider Tip: On the fringes of Parc National des Volcans, Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge is minutes from walking treks. In the dramatic foothills of the Virungas, this residence is beautifully appointed and atmospheric. After a hard day’s trek, luxuriate in a massage to ease aches, or adventure-seekers can head out on mountain bikes.
Gloriously wild amidst raw nature and with decadent wildlife viewing—southern Zambia’s Lower Zambezi National Park is a haven of hippo, elephant, and birdlife. Less frequented than its neighbor, Tanzania, Zambia’s national parks are the essence of wilderness. South Luangwa spawns symmetry of exotica and expanse.
Don’t Miss: Camps are drizzled along the immense valley’s tranquil riverbank.
The Royal Zambezi Lodge Bush Spa is enveloped within nature’s embrace. Try post-safari canoeing or fishing. A quick dip in the pool before a sunset massage at Royal Bush Spa completes a perfect day. Lilayi in Lusaka is a haven for horseback and bush walk safaris.
SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK
Arguably the most magnificent park in Africa, the Serengeti basks in prolific amounts of game and is invigorating in its sheer vastness and dramatic staging. Annually, 1.5 million wildebeest and some 250,000 zebra migrate through. Prides of lion thrive here, upwards of 3,000, spotted lazing on ‘kopje’ outcrops. Grumeti River houses some of the largest Nile crocodiles in the world.
Insider Tip: Even non-campers can tent overnight without omitting creature comforts. The Lamai Serengeti nestles among rocks of a kopje with expansive views. The elemental theme ensures a back-to-nature feel. Kirawira Serena Camp makes it a glamorous affair with Persian rugs and carved rocking chairs.
GORONGOSA NATIONAL PARK
With more than fifty coral islands and abundant marine life, the Quirimbas Archipelago has recently been designated a national park. The islands remain an unexplored underwater safari sanctuary.
is the country’s flagship reserve. It once attracted more visitors than South Africa and Zimbabwe combined, but the harshness of war left resources depleted. Hippos, lions, and elephants have recovered following restocking, helping Mozambique regain its reputation as a game-viewing destination.
Insider Tip: Explore Gorongosa leads expeditions on foot or by car. Girassol Gorongosa Lodge & Safari ensures uninterrupted experiences between you and wilderness. The Azura at Quilalea, a private island luxury resort, boasts world-class diving and snorkeling straight off the beach.
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