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How to take the perfect holiday photograph

How to take the perfect holiday photograph

tree climbing lions How to take the perfect holiday photograph

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, 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.

Get techie
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”.

African Destinations To Visit

African Destinations To Visit

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Africa is blessed with amazing natural treasures and we hope you’ll find these destinations and events interesting and tempting to explore.

1. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (Uganda).

The park is part of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and is situated along the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) border next to the Virunga National Park. The park provides habitat for 120 species of mammals, 348 species of birds, 220 species of butterflies, 27 species of frogs, chameleons, geckos, and many endangered species.

2. Mosi-oa-Tunya/Victoria Falls (Zambia and Zimbabwe).

One of the biggest tourist attractions in Africa, Victoria Falls is undoubtedly amongst the most spectacular waterfalls in the world. Located on the mighty Zambezi River, Victoria Falls is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it is one of the largest waterfalls in the world.

3. Wildebeest migration (Kenya and Tanzania).

Certainly a must see, the migration is considered one of nature’s great spectacles and sees over a million wildebeest trek north from the Serengeti (Tanzania) to the Maasai Mara (Kenya). The wildebeests are joined on this epic journey by thousands of eland, gazelle and zebra as they cross the crocodile-infested Mara River to graze on the Maasai Mara plains.

4. Bazaruto Archipelago (Mozambique)

Is a group of six islands. Bazaruto Island is the largest in the Bazaruto Archipelago and Bazaruto National Park. The archipelago is certainly a beautiful destination which needs to be explored. The archipelago  boasts of by a wide array of marine and wildlife, azure waters and amazing beaches.

5. Ennedi Massif (Chad).
Ennedi Massif: Natural and Cultural Landscape, which was recently named one of UNESCO’s Newest World Heritage Sites. This sandstone landscape is one of the world’s finest examples of rock art and carvings. Ennedi Massif has been sculpted by water and wind erosion over time into a plateau featuring canyons and valleys that present a spectacular landscape marked by cliffs, natural arches and pitons. The site is indeed a cultural treasure.
6. Sanganeb Marine National Park and Dungonab Bay

Mukkawar Island Marine National Park (Sudan) recently inscribed as one of UNESCO’s Newest World Heritage Sites. Sanganeb is a coral atoll 25km off the coast of Sudan. Sanganeb National Park is indeed a marvel. Dungonab Bay is another remarkable marine treasure, which provides a habitat for large populations of seabirds, marine mammals, fish, sharks, and turtles.

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7. National Arts Festival (South Africa)

One of the most important events on the South African cultural calendar, and undoubtedly one of the biggest arts events on the African continent. Starting at the end of June/beginning of July, it runs for between 8 and 10 days and is held in the small university city of Grahamstown. The programme comprises drama, dance, physical theatre, comedy, opera, music, jazz, visual art exhibitions, film, student theatre, street theatre, lectures, craft fair, workshops, and a children’s arts festival.

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8. Erin Ijesha Waterfalls(Nigeria)

is also known as Olumirin waterfalls. A visit to Nigeria is not complete for a tourist without a visit to Erin-Ijesa because it’s the popular and most visited tourist attraction in Nigeria. Olumirin is a seven step waterfall and each step of the waterfall has a flowing fountain that marks the mystical nature of the place. The waterfall is a stunning assemblage of seven unique levels, with each level providing a whole new outlook when compared to the previous level. The water fall exudes a therapeutic ambience which only something natural can produce.

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Best Time to Visit Tanzania

Best Time to Visit Tanzania

1 1 Best Time to Visit Tanzania

The best wildlife viewing months in Tanzania are during the dry season from late June to October. The best chance of seeing the wildebeest migration in the Serengeti is during June and July and the time to see the wildebeest calving is late January to February. The southern and western circuit parks are best visited during the dry-season (June to October), unlike the more popular northern circuit parks that can be visited year-round. Tarangire is the only exception, since its wildlife viewing is considerably better in the dry-season as well.

Quick facts
Best time to go: June to October (All parks), June-July and January-February (Serengeti for the wildebeest migration & calving)
High Season: July to March (northern circuit parks; they get crowded), July to October (southern and western circuit parks; they don’t really get crowded any time of the year)
Low Season: April and May (northern circuit parks still get quite a few visitors unlike the southern and western circuit parks, where many lodges close down)
Best Weather: June to October (Little to no rainfall)
Worst Weather: March and April (Peak of wet season)
June to October – Dry Season
  • June and July are the best months to see the wildebeest migration.
  • Animals are easier to spot since they concentrate around waterholes and rivers and there is less vegetation.
  • There are fewer mosquitoes because there is little to no rain. Skies are clear and most days are sunny.
  • Even though most tourists visit during the dry season, the parks still don’t feel crowded, except for the Seronera area in the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater.
  • Mornings and nights get cold. It’s recommended to bring warm clothing for morning game drives in open vehicles during the months of June, July and August.
November to May – Wet Season
  • Late January to February is the time to see the calving in the southern Serengeti. This is an excellent time to see predator action.
  • The scenery is green and beautiful. It’s low season, meaning lower rates and less crowded parks.
  • Although wildlife is easier to spot in the dry season, you’ll still see plenty and most northern circuit parks offer good year-round game viewing.
  • Migratory birds are present and birdwatching is at its best.
  • Except for March, April and May, rains are mostly short afternoon showers and seldom have a negative impact on your trip.
  • March to May is the peak of the wet season.
  • Most big wildlife has migrated out of Tarangire NP and game viewing in Katavi, Selous and Ruaha is clearly better during the dry season.
Best time to go to Tanzania National parks
The Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater offer good wildlife viewing throughout the year. June and July are the best months for seeing the migration and February is the best month for the wildebeest calving. The dry months offer good game viewing throughout Tanzania. Tarangire and the southern and western circuit parks (including Katavi, Selous and Ruaha) are best visited in the dry season, from June to October.
 
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Highest Mountains In Africa

Highest Mountains In Africa!

Mount Kilimanjaro Still Maintains #1 Spot!!

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Africa is the world’s second-largest continent. It is the largest of the three great southward projections from the largest landmass of the earth. East Africa’s Great Rift Valley is home to some of Africa’s highest mountains.

Here are the top 10 highest mountains in Africa, ranked according their heights.

10) Ras Dashen (4,550 meters)

Ras Dashen is the highest mountain in Ethiopia. It is part of Simien Mountain National Park. The first recorded ascent by a Eurasian was in 1841, by the French officers Ferret and Galinier.

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9) Mount Meru (4,566 meters)

This active stratovolcano is the topographic centerpiece of Arusha National Park. It is located 70 km west of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Much of its bulk was lost around 8,000 years ago due to an eastward volcanic blast. It had another minor eruption in 1910.

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8) Rwenzori, Mount Gessi (4,715 meters)

Mount Gessi is located in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is one of the six mountains of the Rwenzori range. It rises to the rocky north-south ridge, with the higher peak at the south end. There are huts and good trails from Zaire and Uganda sides.

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7) Rwenzori, Mount Emin (4,798 meters)

Mount Emin is one of the six mountains in the Rwenzori range. It is located in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, north of the triangle formed by Mount Baker, Mount Stanley and Mount Speke.

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6) Rwenzori, Mount Baker (4,844 meters)

Located in the Rwenzori Mountains National Park in Uganda, Mount Baker is around 2.8 km from the Congo border. Together with Mount Stanley and Mount Speke, this mountain forms a triangle enclosing the upper Bujuku Valley.

 

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5) Rwenzori, Mount Speke (4,890 meters)

Mount Speke is located in the Rwenzori Mountains National Park in Uganda. It is the second highest peak in the range. All mountains in the range consist of multiple jagged peaks. The mountain receives plenty of rainfall, because of which vegetation here tends to be quite thick.

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4) Rwenzori, Mount Stanley (5,109 meters)

Mount Stanley is part of the Rwenzori range. It is the highest mountain in Democratic Republic of the Congo; and also in Uganda. It is part of the Rwenzori Mountains National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site. This mountain was first climbed by Duke of the Abruzzi in 1906.

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3) Mount Kilimanjaro, Mawenzi (5,148 meters)

Located in Tanzania, Mawenzi is one of the three volcanic cones of Kilimanjaro.

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2) Mount Kenya (5,199 meters)

Mount Kenya is located in central Kenya. It is just south of the equator, around 150 km north-northeast of Nairobi. This stratovolcano was created approximately 3 million years after the opening of the East African rift.

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1) Mount Kilimanjaro, Kibo (5,895 meters)

Kibo is the highest mountain in Africa. It is part of Kilimanjaro range and is located in Tanzania. In fact Kilimanjaro is composed of three distinct volcanic cones. One if them is Kibo. Kibo is the highest free-standing mountain the world at 5,895 meters above sea level.

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Africa Forest Elephants

Africa Forest Elephants

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Africa Forest Elephants May Take Almost a Century to Recover from Poaching – Report

Africa’s rare forest elephants which play a key role in replenishing the central African rain forests will need almost a century to recover from an onslaught by ivory poachers because of their slow birth rate, a study published on Wednesday said.

The study by the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society is the first analysis of the demography of an elusive animal that is hard to track because of its remote wooded surrounds.

But the thickly-forested tropical range it inhabits has not deterred poachers, who reduced its population by a staggering 65 percent between 2002 and 2013 to meet red-hot demand for ivory in China and other fast-growing Asian economies.

“In the intervening time we are down significantly from that 100,000 – it could be as low as 70,000 now,” Peter Wrege of Cornell University, one of the study’s authors, told Reuters.

“To come back to the population it was before 2002, based on their natality rates, it could take nearly a century to recover,” Wrege said.

Much more is at stake than the fate one animal’s population: forest elephants are regarded by biologists as a “keystone species” playing a crucial role in the robustness of central Africa’s wooded ecosytems, the study, published in the Journal of Applied Ecology, said.

Plant species depend on elephants to disperse their seeds in their excrement – big animals travel widely, eat a lot, and produce vast amounts of dung. The gaps that their bulk and diet create in thick vegetation also provide smaller creatures with pathways.

“The structure of the forests would change if they did not have the elephants doing this dispersal,” Wrege said.

The health of the central African rainforests has global consequences as they are the planet’s second largest carbon sequestration zone – which means they soak up carbon, slowing climate change.

“Forest elephants are experiencing the greatest levels of poaching in Africa with potentially as much as 10 to 18 percentof the population killed per year,” the study said.

One of two species of African elephant – the other is the more numerous and larger Savannah elephant – the forest dwellers can hardly sustain this kind of lethal pressure because few other mammals reproduce so slowly.

The study found females begin giving birth when they are around 23, about a decade later than their Savannah counterparts. And female forest elephants only produce a calf every five or six years, compared to the three- to four-year interval of their Savannah kin.

Some of the worst poaching is taking place in forest-elephant range states such as Central African Republic and Democratic Republic of Congo – poor countries that suffer from bad governance and conflict.

The findings come ahead of a major United Nations’ meeting in Johannesburg at the end of September where Zimbabwe and Namibia will push for permission to sell ivory stocks, a move opposed by many other African countries.

Those seeking to open up the ivory trade argue it will raise badly-needed funds for conservation, but others say it would provide cover to poachers and make products that threaten species such as forest elephants socially acceptable.

Overall, the illicit killing of elephants in Africa is believed to have declined from a peak of 30,000 in 2011 but remains far too high, according to a recent report.

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