A question that often comes up when you get started packing for your safari is what to do with your camera? You’re going on safari, it might be a trip of a lifetime, you might be going every year, either way, taking some amazing photos is a must for everyone. These days you can take excellent photos and videos on your phone or on compact point and shoot cameras, these are going to be in your pocket or taking up no space at all in your hand luggage. But if you really want to get some quality photos you might be thinking about taking your larger bridge or DSLR camera, you might even have bought a shiny new one specially!
Depending on how irritated you get by hand luggage or how frequent a flyer you are, you might be considering putting your camera in your hold luggage. Then you can travel nice and light, cruise through security and not worry about finding space in the overhead lockers. Stop right there. If your camera is bigger than a point and shoot and if it’s worth a significant amount of money (some point and shoots), it comes with you as hand luggage. This is for three reasons:
- It might get broken. Your bags get manhandled and thrown around all over the place in-between your destinations. There is a really good chance your expensive camera is going to get smashed.
- It might get stolen. There’s nothing to stop someone having a little peak inside your bag.
- Your bag might go to Hong Kong instead. Then you won’t be taking any pictures at all.
The small benefits of not carrying your camera on the plane with you are just not worth the potential pitfalls. If you had several hundred or thousand dollars in cash, you wouldn’t put it in your hold luggage, nor would you put any other expensive equipment that’s likely to get damaged.
Think about how you’re going to carry your camera. Get yourself a good bag for it. This might then go in another carry on bag you have. Or it can function as your only bag (mine does this perfectly). If you’ve got so much kit it won’t fit into a carry on bag, you need to think about leaving some of it behind - you probably won’t need 3 tripods and 16 lenses. When you start your safari you’ll most likely be jumping on a light aircraft with very strict weight limits so your carry on camera bag will be perfect for this, and perfect to take on game drive as well. What kit to bring is another matter altogether!