From the Journal

Photography in the Kruger National Park


The Kruger National Park has been the African epicenter of opportune meetings between photographers and wildlife since it was named a national park in South Africa in the year 1926. The number of visitors per year has been growing exponentially since 1926, to the point where the park now averages close to 1.7 million visitors per year. This park, located in Northern South Africa as well as South Western Mozambique (making it a trans-frontier park) and bordering Zimbabwe, has played host to many such encounters between adored subject and privileged photographer.

photography kruger
elephant kruger national park

When to visit the Kruger National Park

"It really depends what you would like to photograph. I’ve been to the Kruger at different times in the year and each season presents something quite unique and spectacular. January through March is great for lush green scenery, migratory birdlife, and impressive thunderstorms. April to July is usually still quite green, with cooler temperatures and great sightings. Most wildlife photographers would however prefer to be in the park between September and November, before the first rains arrive. The bush is very dry during this time and the sparse vegetation combined with a lack of general water means that wildlife is much more condensed around the major bodies of water and sightings of big cats and other predators are far more common."
Adrian Wright photography kruger national park
Lion captured by Adrian Wright, Kruger National Park

What was the best sighting you ever captured at Kruger National Park?

"This is a tough one to answer, because there have been so many good ones, but probably the hyena kill we witnessed near Skukuza. It was tough to photograph because of the high pace, fading light, and dense bush in the area, but is a sighting I’ll never forget."

"This is a tough one to answer, because there have been so many good ones, but probably the wild dog kill we witnessed near Skukuza."

Wild Dog

Is sunrise or sunset photography better?

"Both can produce equally good photography. The main difference is that on a Sunset Drive you have amazing light for about an hour and a half before you have to photograph in the dark (with spotlights), whereas Sunrise Drives, start in darkness and then you’ll have about two hours or more of sunlight. So technically Sunrise Drives would be best, however some of my best photos have come from that time just before and just after sunset."
photography in kruger national park
Sunset shot of African baboons in the Kruger National Park, Adrian Wright
sunset photography kruger national park
Photo credit | Adrian Wright

Camera + lens advice for photographers at different levels

"Personally I shoot with Nikon. I love the way Nikon DSLRs process light and colour. However, the market is so competitive now that almost any leading camera brand is going to produce world class images. In wildlife photography you’re shooting almost exclusively with natural light in varying conditions and at different distances which make it quite challenging compared to a studio setup with pre-arranged lighting.

Wildlife photography is also all about the action and capturing those unique moments of interaction or behaviour or a unique set of elements that make nature so awe-inspiring which is part of the fun. For this reason, I have found speed (frames per second), low-light performance (Low Noise at High ISO), and Image Quality (IQ) to be the most important factors. In getting these, the lens you use makes a much bigger difference than the camera body. For beginners a great setup would be something like a Nikon D7200 or Canon 7D with a 70-300mm f3.5 -5.6 lens.
Intermediates or serious hobbyists would probably want to go full frame and look at something in the region of a Nikon D750 or Canon 7D with a 70-200 f2.8 and 1.4x converter or Nikon 200 – 500 f5.6 or Canon 100-400 f4.5 -5.6 or even the Sigma 150 – 600 f5 – 6.3.

Finally the experts would probably opt for prime lenses (one focal length i.e. can’t zoom in or out) at around 300 or 400 f2.8 or 500 f4. These lenses are big, fast, and sharp. The pro-level DSLR bodies would be the Nikon D5 or Canon 1Dx. I usually use my Nikon D750 and 300 f2.8 lens, throwing on a 1.4x converter every now and again for extra distance.

"Wildlife photography is also all about the action and capturing those unique moments of interaction or behaviour or a unique set of elements that make nature so awe-inspiring which is part of the fun."

photography kruger national park

Essential gear for photography in the Kruger National Park.

"Other essential gear that I always have with me in the Kruger (besides for the obvious battery chargers etc.) would be a bean bag camera support which enables you to rest your camera on your car door or window when taking photos (bigger lenses work better with a door bracket and gimbal head), my monopod for game drives, a good torch, solid pair of binoculars, and all my field guides."
Photography Gear

Other essential gear that I always have with me in the Kruger would be a bean bag camera support which enables you to rest your camera on your car door or window when taking photos."

Best routes for photography in the Kruger National Park

"Some of my favourite routes include the S100 to S41 to H5 to H1-3 loop near Satara. This round trip almost always produces Big Cat sightings. Another one would be the H10 to S29 loop just north of Lower Sabie. I’ve also had consistently good sightings along the S65 Waterhole Road (between the S1 and H1-1), the H7 between Orpen and Satara, and the H4-2 coming up from Crocodile Bridge."
kruger national park routes

Top tips for beginners

"Get to know your gear before you go to the bush. I started by spending afternoons at the Botanical Gardens photographing everything I could find. You don’t want to miss the shot (which we’ve all done) in the bush because you were unfamiliar with your camera’s settings.

Get up before sunrise and get out as early as possible. Also, make sure that you’re on the road for the last hour of sunlight before sunset. These two time-periods are often referred to as “golden hour” and offer warm, rich light for wildlife photography. This is also usually the best time to see animals up and about.
Don’t put your camera away after sunset or before sunrise, even though it’s usually quite dark you can actually capture some incredible images in the soft light just before or after sunrise or sunset.

Capture the mood. When you look at a wildlife photograph what you want to see is not just another photo of an animal, but something that stirs the soul. Look to create mood through unique perspectives, lighting and composition.

Include more of the environment. When I started taking photos I just wanted to get closer and closer and then always wondered why my images seemed so one dimensional. Zoom out a little and put the subject in its context to create great wildlife images that draw the viewer into the picture."
rhino photography kruger national park
Photo credit | Adrian Wright

Kruger National Park secrets

"My best KNP secrets, although I’m not sure if they’re so secret, would be to get out onto the road first (or second) if you can as there will often still be Lions, Leopards or Hyena on the roads early in the morning. Second would be to sit and wait at waterholes such as Transport Dam or Mantimahle Dam, you often don’t realise how much there is to see until you sit still for a while. On that note, patiently waiting at something like a Leopard Kill with no Leopard in sight might seem like a waste of time but can produce the images of a lifetime. Too often we race off to the “next sighting” and miss the best opportunities. Another secret would be to stop wildlife vehicles and ask them what they’ve seen. These guides are often connected on radio with other vehicles and are aware of sightings that have taken place. I’ve always found them willing to share info. Lastly, have a flask of coffee or some sundowners in the car and take opportunities to either sit still at a beautiful spot or get out at a demarcated area and just take in the beauty of the South African bush. It’s all about the experience."
Hyena photography Adrian Wright
Photo credit | Adrian Wright
photography kruger national park
Photo credit | Adrian Wright

Vehicle recommendations

"One of the best things about the Kruger is the ability to self-drive and get the images you want. I would recommend a personal SUV or sedan (for nice low-angles) for most of your driving and then taking a KNP Game Drive every now and again for the benefit of being out in the park after or before the other cars are allowed into the park."

To see more of Adrian Wright’s photo’s, visit his profile here.

Visit The Kruger

Joey Cameron
Written by
Joseph Cameron

NYC based, South African transplant, Joey Cameron, is a freelance writer, travel-nerd, natural food enthusiast, personal trainer and brand owner. Characterised by an insatiable hunger for passport stamps and a somewhat strange (non)sense of humour, he can found regularly scanning the skies for ways to up, up and getaway.

Similar articles


What to expect from the annual Wildebeest Migration

Everything you need to know about one of the greatest wildlife phenomena on earth, the Wildebeest Migration across Tanzania and Kenya. 


What to do in Tanzania

Our top 7 things to do in Tanzania.


A concise guide to Nxai Pan, Botswana

Everything you need to know about Nxai Pan, Botswana.


Tips for your Botswana Canoe Safari

Everything you need to know about a Botswana Canoe Safari.

Travel Tips

Where to stay in Tanzania

Our top recommendations for accommodation in Tanzania, by region.


Tips for your Botswana Boat Safari

Everything you need to know when planning your Botswana Boat Safari.

Travel tips

Top 10 Things To Do In Botswana

Imagine salt pans, secret waterways, grasslands and waterfalls… now imagine all the adrenaline crazed ways you could traverse the above.

Travel Tips

Discover Kenya

Your full introduction to Kenya.


Safari photography tips

Top photography tips to keep in mind for that once in a lifetime wildlife encounter.

Travel tips

The Mokoro safari

A mokoro safari is a quintessentially Okavango Delta experience.

Travel tips

Botswana travel guide

Your guide to everything you need to know about the famous wildlife destination, Botswana.

Travel tips

South Luangwa National Park

Everything you need to know about this amazing Zambian park.

Travel tips

Best time to visit Africa

Looking to visit Africa but not sure when? This should help.

Travel tips

Kolmanskop Namibia: A Ghost Town

Have you heard of the ghost town in the middle of Namibia's desert?


Exploring the highest sand dunes in Namibia

What you can expect from a day tour to the famous sand dunes of the Namib desert.


Top luxury Namibia lodges countdown | 06 - 04

Find out which Namibia luxury lodges made it onto our top 6 list.


Top luxury Namibia lodges countdown | 03 - 01

Our top 3 Namibia luxury lodges for your next trip to this incredible African destination.

Travel tips

The Okavango Delta safari uncovered

Everything you need to know about planning your Okavango Delta safari.

Travel tips

Your Southern Africa safari experience

A quick look at what your next Southern Africa safari could look like.


Blyde River Canyon

Here's how to do Blyde River Canyon differently.

Travel tips

Top 10 surf spots in Cape Town

Get your boards on the roof, we're going surfing in the Mother city.


Okavango Delta scenic flight: A bucket list experience

An Okavango Delta scenic flight needs to be on your bucket list.

Travel tips

Etosha National Park

Find out everything you need to know about Namibia's top wildlife attraction.

Travel tips

Quad bike safari in Botswana

Everything you need to know about a quad bike safari in Botswana.


Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro offers intrepid explorers a challenging and exhilarating adventure.

Travel tips

Hell's Gate National Park, Kenya

Five reasons to visit Hell's Gate National Park in Kenya


Malawi Safari: Majete Wildlfe Reserve

The Majete Wildlife Reserve is Malawi's best kept secret.


Giraffe Manor: An out of Africa experience

Giraffe Manor is arguably Kenya's most famous lodge. 


Extraordinary luxury lodges in Malawi + Mozambique

Our top picks of the luxury lodges in Malawi and Mozambique.

Travel tips

Mozambique dhow safari

Discover the incredible experience of a Mozambique dhow safari.


Unchartered territory

We are passionate about pioneering travel in unchartered territory.


A Mozambique holiday spent diving with whale sharks

Diving with whale sharks in Mozambique is a true bucket list experience.


Our finest Cape Winelands accommodation

Our top 3 picks for hotels in the Cape Winelands area.


Exotic Reunion Island

Have you heard of the exotic Reunion Island?

Travel tips

Gorilla trekking in the Congo

Find out what differentiates the Congos and which is the best for your Gorilla trekking adventure.


Eagles in the Kruger National Park

The eagles in the Kruger National Park are of the most majestic creatures of Africa. 

Travel tips

Our top picks for Braai Day

Top spots in South Africa to celebrate Braai day.

Travel log

Our African safari experience at Sanbona Wildlife Reserve

When Sanbona Wildlife Reserve invited us to spend a night at their prestigious Gondwana Lodge, we were more than thrilled.


Top five reasons to travel in 2017

Why you need to travel, now.


Mount Meru, Tanzania: A big "little" brother

Experience the summit of Mount Meru, an active Volcano in Tanzania


Our Cape Town guide: Experience a day in our lives

To make your time in our backyard the best that it can be, we’ve handcrafted a comprehensive, interactive Cape Town Guide.


The latest additions to our Cape Town guide

We just came across 3 spots which, you’ll agree, you need to know about. Soon to be added to our guide, but check them out now.


7 Summits: Justin De Wet

Ker & Downey Africa Ambassador Justin De Wet chases entrance to the 7 summit club.


Safaricom marathon: Kenya

Everything you need to know about the wildest marathon in the world.


Cape to Rio: Clyde Barendse

A week before their departure, we met up with Clyde for a quick coffee to get a sense of where his head was at before his Cape to Rio race.


An African adventure for every terrain

A quick guide to choosing which African adventure type best suits your travel style, preferences and personality.


Walking with wild dogs in Kenya

There are few adventure options in Kenya, or the world, that offer the experience, thrill, remoteness and adventure of walking with wild dogs.


An adventure honeymoon: Reunion Island

There comes a time in every man’s life to settle down and tie the knot. That’s the easy part. The challenging part? Finding an adventure honeymoon destination.


Travel cues: Recommendations for your time off

If you are running out of ideas, have no fear, we have the travel cues you should know about.


Reset your body clock under the African sky [life hack]

Dr. Wright’s recent study has shown that one week spent exposed to the Earth’s natural dusk-to-dawn cycle is enough to reset our human circadian clock.


Climbing Mount Kenya

We break down everything you need to do to get from that office chair to the summit of Mount Kenya.

Travel tips

Nightcaps: African drinks to pursue

In Africa, ending off our ultra-adventurous days with something a bit stronger than our 7am coffee comes with the territory.


Drone photography: Tricks of the trade

Drone Photography has skyrocketed to become the most captivating means of documenting the world from above and we have to admit, we are hooked.


Joe Pietersen: Rugby, rhinos + drones

We sit down with Ker & Downey Africa Ambassador, Joe Pietersen.

Travel tips

African travel tips

8 of the most important things to keep in mind on your next trip to the African continent.


Backtrack your trip: 5 songs to add to your playlist

You’re off to Africa. Everything has to be perfect, even your playlist.


You don't need a reason to visit Victoria Falls

You don't need a reason to visit Victoria Falls, but we've listed five great ones for you anyway.

Travel tips

South African national parks + game reserves

 South African national parks + game reserves should be on the bucket list of anyone with a healthy appetite for wild LuxVenture® destinations.

Travel tips

Top 5 travel apps

Book your flight, pack your bags, grab an Uber to the airport and be sure to download these 5 apps along the way.

Travel tips

City sightseeing in Cape Town

We can all agree that nobody knows a city’s sightseeing secrets better than the locals. Here's how to see Cape Town like one of them.


Climbing Mount Aconcagua: debrief

When you start considering -20 degrees as good weather and you are taking out emergency evacuation insurance up to 5000m above sea-level, we think it’s safe to say that you are taking your hobby to the next level.

Travel tips

Travel like a pro

One word comes to mind when people ask me how to get ready for travel in Africa – preparation.

Travel tips

Gentleman’s guide to the safari outfit

Wearing the right safari outfit is crucial. Being in the right gear allows you the opportunity to focus on what's important - the wildlife.


African Coffee + where to get your fix

If you’re visiting South Africa, Kenya or Tanzania, here are the top African coffee spots to check out.


Golf tournament getaways: South Africa

Here is a guide to the best African Golf tournaments, courses and getaways in South Africa. 


Antarctica in 24 Hours

Everything you need to know about our day trip to Antarctica to inspire your next adventure. 

Travel Tips

Why visit Cape Town in summer

Our insider recommendations on exciting things to do in Cape Town in summer.

Travel Tips

Hermanus whale watching season

Everything you need to know about the Hermanus whale watching season in South Africa. 

Travel Tips

Botswana Photo Safari

Everything you need to know about Botswana photo safaris.


Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town

Find out how the Zeitz MOCAA, Africa's first contemporary African art museum, is revolutionizing the art scene in Africa.


Kruger National Park lodges and hotels

Travel tips

Hidden Gems in South Africa: Off-the-grid destinations

Our top hidden gems in South Africa to help you get off the grid.

Travel tips

Planning a trip to the Kruger National Park

Everything you need to know about travelling to the Kruger National Park, South Africa.


Dar El Sadaka, Morocco

A concise breakdown of what to expect from a visit to the enchanting Dar El Sadaka to inspire your next African adventure to Morocco. 


The mystery of Lake Natron, Tanzania

Find out more about the mystery of Tanzania’s petrifying lake, Lake Natron. 

Travel Tips

Uganda safari tips

All the tips you need to know before you embark on your Uganda safari.

Travel Tips

Rwanda safari tips

Our concise guide of Rwanda safari tips to keep you in the know for your next safari adventure. 

Travel Tips

Things to do in Maun, Botswana

Find out our current list of favourite things to do in Maun, Botswana.

Travel Tips

When to travel to Tanzania

Find out when to travel to Tanzania to enjoy its best offerings.