Lenses for an South African Safari

Started Aug 1, 2013 | Discussions thread
Craig from Nevada
Craig from Nevada Veteran Member • Posts: 3,699
Re: Lenses for an South African Safari

Cugh wrote:


I need some help in selecting lenses for an upcoming safari in South Africa.

It's a guide tour with a small group.

Kruger Park, Pilanesberg, Marakele, Mapungubwe, Hluhluwe and some other places. Focused mostly on animals spotting but not exclusively.

I have several Olympus lenses for my E5.

- 12-60 SWD, 50-200 SWD, 150F2, 9-18, 35mm

- EC14, EC20 and the EX macro extention tube.

- And finaly the Sigma 50-500 aka Bigma.

So i need some help in selecting the right lenses as i don't want to drag 10 kg of hardware

all the time. And there is a luggage restriction during the trip anyway.

What's more important ? Long lenses during the day or fast lenses at dusk or dawn ?

Is it allowed for jeeps to leave the roads in those parks so they can be close to the animals ?

It makes a big difference in lens requirements.

Feel free to advice,


I do quite a bit of day hikes and day trips here.  Carrying this stuff around, particularly on the trail gives one time to reflect on these matters.

Two issues here:

1-size and weigh trade offs

2.  The ball and chain trap

Like almost all of us you see the trap--you want your best gear with you to avoid remorse (if only........) and you get the weight restrictions. Gear choice something very personal in terms of these choices--you might ask five people and get six or seven answers. You will forever want that 150mm lens with you. There will be times when you will want the Bigma for sure.

Another consideration is security. When you are in a city or town, do feel safe leaving the lenses in the room or will you carry the lenses with you?  Gear can be like a ball and chain.  You have to think security and frequently, maybe not so much on safari but in places populated with people.  I own a 90-250mm, but frequently leave it at home if I am staying in a hotel or lodge.  It is great for wildlife in the morning near the lodge but when I go on a hike during the day that is a different matter. Do I leave it behind?

Seriously, load the aforementioned gear in a pack and hike a dozen miles. You will figure it out.

Your best bet IMHO, is the 12-60mm, 50-200mm and your teleconverters. I do some hikes in the mountains and I can tell you that SHG is nice but you start thinking about whether you can get by with the 12-60mm instead of bringing the 7-14mm too. HG lenses offer the best trade-off of size and quality.

 Craig from Nevada's gear list:Craig from Nevada's gear list
Olympus Tough TG-4 Olympus E-30 Olympus E-620 Olympus E-5 Fujifilm X-T1 +19 more
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum PPrevious NNext WNext unread UUpvote SSubscribe RReply QQuote BBookmark MMy threads
Color scheme? Blue / Yellow