The Essential Camera Gear For An Okavango Delta Tour
Photographic Camera Gear for Okavango Delta

In the Okavango Delta, it’s just you, your camera and the great African wilds. 

Travelling through the Okavango is a soul-enriching experience. Deep within the labyrinth of waterways, hidden quietly in the lush greenery, there is a wilderness waiting to be seen.

Here in the Delta, opportunities abound for photographers hoping to capture an unforgettable glimpse of this unique part of the world.

The Okavango Delta is for every type of photographer, but whether you’re a seasoned professional or if you are just starting your photographic journey as an aspiring enthusiast, having the right camera gear is a must if you want to bring back those awe-inspiring images from this extraordinary destination.

Unfortunately, a cell phone camera just won’t do if what you seek is an epic portfolio of shots. 

But before you spend your entire Africa photo safari holiday budget on new equipment, we are going to help you choose the most essential equipment for your Okavango adventure.

Photo Equipment for Okavango Delta Tours

The Okavango Delta Essential Camera Gear

As someone new to photography, knowing or at least trying to figure out exactly what you need for your trip can be daunting. With so many options and so many photographer gurus all trying to tell you what is essential and what is not, you can easily end up wasting money and end up with everything but what you need. 

The key to taking the best kind of photos in a place like the Okavango Delta is knowing your way around your camera. 

Wildlife scenes can happen quickly or require some photographic savvy, and while some people fall into photography naturally, most of us need some practice. 

For this reason, buying a camera body and a kit lens is always a good place to start. From there, you can always rent the lens you need, because at least you will have some experience. 

Enough of the boring talk, let’s get into what really drew you to our guide; the camera essentials. 

The Camera Body

The body of a camera refers to the device without the lens. 

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of camera bodies on the market, made by various brands. The type of camera body as well as the brand producing it will affect the price as well as the quality of your images. 

In the Okavango Delta, it helps to have something a little better than a basic point-and-shoot camera (a camera with a lens already attached). You need something that has a high-quality sensor and something capable of capturing images quickly and in low-light conditions. 

When photographing a place like the Okavango, or any other Africa photo safari destination, the optimal time of day to take photos will be at dawn or at dusk. These times of day are known as the blue hour (20 to 90 minutes after sunset or before sunrise) and the golden hour (the last hour before sunset and the first hour before sunrise), and they are generally the time of day when the wildlife are at their most active. 

For the photographer, these times of day are the absolute dream. These hours are quite literally perfect for photography but the catch is that it can be quite dark and this is where having a good quality camera body becomes a necessity. 

To boost light, photographers can reduce their shutter speed or they can boost their ISO (fake light). When photographing in the delta, reducing shutter speed can mean missing out on an action packed lion kill, or having terribly blurry images. 

That leaves you with the option of increasing your ISO, which, if you have a less than good quality camera, can mean you end up with a less than perfect, grainy image. 

What does this all have to do with your camera body?

Shutter speed and ISO, especially the amount of grain you will get by increasing your ISO, will be determined by the camera body. 

To get those National Geographic-worthy images, you need to look for models with fast autofocus capabilities and excellent low-light performance to capture fleeting moments in challenging lighting conditions. Ideally, you should spend some time researching and asking fellow photographers for camera suggestions. Try photographer forums and YouTube, both of these sources are jam-packed with helpful information. 

You should also choose a sturdy and weather-sealed DSLR or mirrorless camera body that can withstand the rugged conditions of the Delta. And it will also help to choose a camera that doesn’t weigh a ton. 

Sony and Canon are popular camera makers and they both have a range of bodies suitable for all kinds of requirements and budgets.

Best Lens for Okavango Delta Tours

The Lenses 

Any photographer with some experience capturing wildlife will tell you that your lens will make or break your trip. 

Although the camera body is an important tool, your lens can also affect your image quality, your speed and your comfort. 

Some lenses can be incredibly sluggish when focusing, causing you to miss out on a scene. Other lenses can be so heavy that you end up with a tired, sore arm and shoulder by the end of the day. 

When it comes to selecting your lens, you need to have some idea about what it is that you want to capture during your trip (animals, birds, landscapes, night skies, holiday moments, etc.)

You will actually want to have a few lenses with you so that you can chop and change your set up to suit what you are photographing. 

What are the Essential Camera Lenses for an Okavango Delta tour?

The most important lens you should bring along with you is a telephoto lens. 

This lens is ideal for capturing wildlife from a great distance and many of these lenses are also quite versatile in their length. You should aim for a focal length of at least 200mm (or 300mm on a crop sensor camera). If you are going for versatility, look for a 100 to 400mm zoom lens. 

The other lens that you will enjoy having in your camera bag is a wide-angle lens, which will be handy for capturing those vast Okavango landscapes. A wide lens will allow you to get creative with your background and capture those more unique perspectives of the Delta. You get both fixed and multi-focal lenses, but you should be safe with a 16-35mm. 

You can also include a macro lens in your bag. These lenses are ideal for capturing the finer details of things like flowers and insects. 

As for apertures (the feature that allows in both extra light and more detail, as you change it), you can opt for anything from an f2 to an f4.5. The aperture will affect the price and unless you want a blurred-out bokeh background, an f4.5 to an f5 should do you well.

Africa Photo Safaris in Botswana

The Okavango Delta Unessential (but nice to have) Camera Gear

Photographers have a lot of toys to play with. Once you have your essentials, you can start looking at other accessories that can enhance your African photo safari experience. 

A Tripod

Not every photographer is a fan of a tripod because it is a cumbersome thing to take with you on your safari trip. But it can come in helpful, especially in low light conditions or if you want to capture the night sky. 

When shopping for a tripod, look for a lightweight, portable tripod that can handle your camera and lens.

Extra Memory Cards

You will be snapping more photos than you could possibly imagine, and your memory card will get full fairly quickly, especially if you are not uploading your photos to a laptop or some other storage device at the end of each day. 

Make sure that you bring along enough high-speed memory cards to store your photos and videos. The extra cards will also come in handy in case one gets corrupted. You should also be wise with your purchase, only buy cards from a good quality brand. 

Spare Batteries

For the same reason as having a couple of spare memory cards is a must, you should pack enough batteries to last the entire trip, as charging opportunities may be limited especially if you find your camera running out of juice while you are out enjoying your Okavango Delta tour. 

A Lens Cleaning Kit

Dust and debris are going to be your inevitable companions in the wild, so pack a lens cleaning kit so that you can maintain the optical clarity of your lenses throughout your expedition. A basic kit should include a lens brush, microfiber cloth, and lens cleaning solution for quick and effective cleaning on the go.

Waterproof Protection

Depending on the time of year you are travelling to the Delta, you could encounter rainy conditions. You can protect your gear from unexpected rain showers and water splashes with waterproof covers or rain sleeves, designed specifically for cameras and lenses. These lightweight accessories provide peace of mind when shooting in the unpredictable conditions of the Delta.

Botswana Holiday in the Okavango Delta

Camera gear is pricey. And the more lenses you add to your kit, the bigger your expenses. 

The good news is that there are options out there that will allow you to cut back on what you pay. For instance, there is always the option of renting gear for the duration of your trip. This is an excellent idea for those who are already comfortable with a camera as well as those who own a decent camera body but don’t have an appropriate lens. 

This guide has all of the basic knowledge that you can use to choose the essential camera gear, so that you can return home with a collection of photos that truly reflect the wonder of the Okavango Delta. Aside from the actual camera gear, you should also treat yourself to a sturdy, waterproof camera bag. It will protect your expensive gear and also provide you with a good reason to buy that bag you have been eyeing!

Imagine yourself on a private mokoro gliding silently through crystal-clear waterways, or nestled in a luxurious lodge overlooking the vast expanse of the delta. With your camera at the ready, every moment becomes a potential frame-worthy treasure.

Turn your safari photography dreams into cherished memories.

Book your Okavango Delta Tour now!