The Ultimate Kenya Safari Photography Guide: Exploring Kenya Through Your Lens

To the amateur photographer, Kenya presents a world of photographic opportunities as one of Africa’s leading wildlife destinations. Kenya offers more than just a typical safari; it promises an unparalleled photo safari experience, allowing you to capture the animals, the diverse birds and the majestic landscapes of Kenya’s parks and reserves. Our advice below will serve as a guide to inform and help you plan your perfect Kenya photographic safari. 

A] Why Choose Kenya for Your Photography Safari?

Kenya is a premier destination for wildlife enthusiasts with diverse ecosystems; from the sweeping savannahs of the Maasai Mara, the arid northern region, mountains and lakes, to the pristine beaches of the Swahili Coast. Across these varied areas there is an abundance of wildlife and bird species. A Kenya wildlife safari is not just about watching the Big Five but also about the lesser known species, the birds, the stunning landscapes and the amazing cultures. There is something for every type of photographer!

The sheer variety of animals in Kenya, including the elusive leopard, vast plains game herds, mighty elephant, and regal lions, makes every photography session a unique experience. There are over 1000 vibrant and varied birds recorded in Kenya and they will provide ample opportunities for bird focussed photography safari.

B] Top Kenya Parks and Reserves for Photography

  • Maasai Mara National Reserve: Arguably the most famous Kenya wildlife reserve, the Maasai Mara provides dramatic wildlife encounters. Time your visit during the great migration to capture the daring river crossings of wildebeest and zebra.
  • Amboseli National Park: Famous for its large elephant herds with the stunning backdrop of Mount Kilimanjaro. Amboseli is a dream location for landscape and wildlife photography safari in Kenya.
  • Tsavo East & West National Parks: Renowned for its red elephants and diverse landscapes. The Tsavo region offers a variety of photo opportunities from caves to springs, and of course, wildlife.
  • Lake Nakuru National Park: A haven for birds, especially flamingos. Capture their reflections as they wade through the alkaline waters.

C] Tips for Amateur Photographers on a Kenya Photography Safari

  • Best Time to Go: The dry season, between June and October, is ideal as animals congregate around waterholes, making it easier to photograph them. If you’re keen on capturing the Great Migration, plan to be on safari between July and September. December is also a great time to travel to Kenya. There are short rains, its baby season and there are visiting migratory bird species.
  • Gear Up: While big zoom lenses (400-600mm) are great for close-ups, don’t forget wide-angle lenses for landscapes, camo shots and possibly portraits. Also, pack essentials like lens cleaning kits, extra batteries, and memory cards.
  • Patience Pays: Wildlife photography requires patience. You might have to wait for hours for that perfect shot of a lioness hunting or birds taking flight. It can be hard to stay in one place for very long if you are in a shared vehicle so be aware of what the others guests want to do. Be ready to get that shot!
  • Hire a Specialized Guide: To make the most of your Kenya wildlife photography tour, hiring a specialized guide familiar with the behavior of animals and birds of Kenya can be invaluable. They’ll know the best times and spots for the ultimate shots. Having a private guide also allows you top do what you want. Like staying on a kill for longer or waiting at a waterhold whilst the sun sets.
  • Respect Wildlife: Remember, you’re in their home. Always maintain a safe distance from the animals to allow them to behave in there normal manner. Don’t be that pushy guest that demands to get closer, or push ahead of other vehicles. Your guide will advise you on this.

A photo safari in Kenya offers unparalleled opportunities to capture the mesmerizing beauty of the wilderness. The country’s diverse landscapes, the magnificent Kenya safari animals, and the captivating birds of Kenya all await your lens. So, gear up and embark on a journey to one of the most photographic destinations on the planet!


1. What is the difference between a regular safari and a photography safari in Kenya?

A regular safari is primarily for general wildlife viewing and enjoying the wilderness. Most people will have some form of digital camera or phone to take photographs. In contrast, a Kenya photography safari is specifically tailored for photographers, ensuring the best light, locations, and opportunities to capture animals and landscapes.

2. Are there specialized Kenya wildlife photography tours for amateurs?

Absolutely! Many tour operators cater to amateur photographers, offering tutorials, workshops, and guided sessions to enhance your skills.

3. What should I pack for a photo safari in Kenya?

Apart from your photography equipment, bring along protective gear like dust covers for your cameras, bean bags for stability, and a sturdy backpack. Also, wear neutral-colored clothing to blend into the environment and avoid startling the animals.

4. Can I visit more than one Kenya wildlife reserve on my trip?

Certainly. In fact, it’s recommended to visit multiple reserves to experience and photograph a diverse range of habitats and wildlife. A really good option would be at least two classic safari areas, a lake region and the coast.

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