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Thread: Masai Mara and Kilimanjaro

  1. #1

    Default Masai Mara and Kilimanjaro

    Hi. Planning to backpack to these two places next month.

    Will be grateful to get advice on these issues:

    1) planning to get a long zoom lens for wild life. Which one of these would u advise? I've a Pentax Kr and 18-55 kit lens.

    ---Pentax DA 55-300
    ---Tamron 28-300 (saw it on tamron website but not sure whether available in SG)
    ---Tamron 18-250

    2) any recommendation of trekking agency and safari agency?

    Thanks!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Masai Mara and Kilimanjaro

    I went to these places by road in Dec 2009. I used All Seasons Safaris, a small agency based in Nairobi. My tour was for 6N 7D. As I was the only passenger, I paid US$2500 but the hotels were excellent.

    You'll need a 2x teleplus to double your zoom. 300 mm is not good enough as the animals can be very far.

    In Masai Mara I stayed at Serena Lodge and in Amboseli (from where you can view Kili) I stayed one night at Sopa Lodge and the second night at Serena (I couldn't get two consecutive nights at Serena because they were full). By coincidence, the view of Kili at Sopa Lodge was much better than at Serena even though Sopa is located outside the park.

    Visit a Masai village and photograph the inhabitants with Kili as a backdrop. But be careful, after the photoshoot, they will ask you to buy some handicrafts. I paid an exorbitant price (US$200) for some items that are really worth only US$20 but when you think how poor the community is (few clothes, slippers made of rubber tires, small hut, no water or electricity), it's a small donation to make. Be sure the driver/guide is with you when you go inside the village, especially when they start selling their goods.

    When you are in Nairobi, visit the animal orphanage so you get to see and shoot a leopard besides lions and giraffes).

    Lastly, the nights can be very cold, esp. in Masai Mara so bring warm clothes.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Masai Mara and Kilimanjaro

    Thanks for the info! =)

  4. #4

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    Wondering if a CPL filter willow useful there ???

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Masai Mara and Kilimanjaro

    I think for such wildlife, u will need something like a 70-200mm f2.8 lenses with at least 1.4 teleconverter or 2.0. Probably can be less if your camera is not full frame. CPL will definitely help as i think you may need to bring down exposure of very bright days/conditions.

  6. #6
    Moderator ziploc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Masai Mara and Kilimanjaro

    If I'm not wrong Pentax Kr has a crop factor of 1.5x. Adding a 1.4x TC to a 200mm lens would give you up to 420mm which is good enough. If using a 300mm lens you won't need a TC at all.

  7. #7

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    Thanks for the tips! After weighing a few factors (affordability, need for changing lens in the dusty safari environment, and the need for zoom), I've bought the Tamron 18-250. The low light focusing sucks, but mostly it's a pretty decent lens. The sharpness at 250 mm is still quite good, though far perfect. Now considering whether to get a tc, hmm...

  8. #8

    Default Re: Masai Mara and Kilimanjaro

    Not sure about these 2 places. The last time I went to S. Africa with 200mm f4, the focal length was just not good enough and too slow. Hope you can use something better.

  9. #9
    Moderator ziploc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Masai Mara and Kilimanjaro

    Quote Originally Posted by askaboutlife View Post
    Thanks for the tips! After weighing a few factors (affordability, need for changing lens in the dusty safari environment, and the need for zoom), I've bought the Tamron 18-250. The low light focusing sucks, but mostly it's a pretty decent lens. The sharpness at 250 mm is still quite good, though far perfect. Now considering whether to get a tc, hmm...
    Hmm... didn't know you're going for this lens, otherwise I would advice against it. Reason being at 250mm, the max aperture is f/6.3. Most AF can only perform optimally up to f/5.6, so at f/6.3 it will most probably hunt a bit. And you can forget about adding TC, cos 1.4x TC will drop 1 stop, and I don't think your camera will be able to AF at 250mm, not unless you're willing to manual focus.

  10. #10
    Moderator ziploc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Masai Mara and Kilimanjaro

    Quote Originally Posted by aosis View Post
    Not sure about these 2 places. The last time I went to S. Africa with 200mm f4, the focal length was just not good enough and too slow. Hope you can use something better.
    Hmm that's quite strange. During my previous trip there, the jeep will get very close to the animals including lions, zebras abd buffaloes. Close as in stone throw. Only elephants and rhinos need to stay far away, but with 400mm it would be ok.
    Last edited by ziploc; 15th August 2011 at 10:30 PM.

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    Default Re: Masai Mara and Kilimanjaro

    Quote Originally Posted by ziploc View Post
    Hmm that's quite strange. During my previous trip there, the jeep will get very close to the animals including lions, zebras abd buffaloes. Close as in stone throw. Only elephants and rhinos need to stay far away, but with 400mm it would be ok.
    Correct ma..he says 200mm too far.. u say 400mm leh... Anyway, i think for safari, more pulling power is always welcome. To TS, i think you can forget about adding a TC to the tamron.. If you want, maybe get a cheap mirror lens.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Masai Mara and Kilimanjaro

    Think for animals, it's all about luck. Used a 100-400 on Safari trip in Tanzania and sometimes it was good enough, other times, I could have used farther reach. (Was using it on a 1.6x too). On the Safari I was on, the vehicle always had to stay on the paths so you are limited to how close you can get based on the roads.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Masai Mara and Kilimanjaro

    every safari is different. for masai mara, there are certain places with no roads. the guide/driver just drive to wherever they can spot the animals. it all depends on how good your guide/driver is. mine was really good at knowing where the animals hide and spotting them. we always discover the animals way before other people. once our guide spotted two lions 400m away and he drove us all the way till we were just 5m from the lions and we could snap to our hearts content.

  14. #14
    Moderator ziploc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Masai Mara and Kilimanjaro

    Yup that was what happened to our safari too. So I guess it all depends on the driver and your luck.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Masai Mara and Kilimanjaro

    At the time we went, the grass was fairly tall so if you get a lot of trucks driving around in the bush, it would certainly be noticable. The areas we toured were very busy with a lot of honey mooners and hikers so it's probably a good way to conserve the land.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Masai Mara and Kilimanjaro

    All about luck and skill. I had tried to leopard crawl against the wind (afraid to carry scent) twice to get near to the zebras. Twice I failed. The guide told me to get back because it was too dangerous. I really appreciate those guys who brought us the documentaries.

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