Africa has long been one of the most popular long-haul destinations. To get to know untouched nature and ancient cultures up close, the black continent offers itself more than any other.
Due to the variety of spectacular locations and species, Africa is also a popular destination for photographers - quite rightly so. The must-visit destination for all photo-loving vacationers offers a variety of locations for great shots.
Table of contents
Exoticism makes pictures
Many amateur photographers certainly know it: the feeling that there are simply not enough interesting motifs at home and in the immediate vicinity. The camera then lies mainly unused on the shelf. A trip to a faraway land where fresh sights delight the eye is just the thing.
But even travel photographers are often faced with the problem that their pictures are ultimately just reprints of tourist hotspots that have already been photographed a million times. Such photos certainly have their raison d'être as a nice reminder of one's own visit - but ambitious photographers long for more.
Then Africa is the perfect destination. The huge and all the more diverse continent is far from being as permeated by holidaymakers as, say, the Mediterranean. Between breathtaking nature, exotic wildlife, huge national parks, the most diverse landscapes and wonderful, unique people, Africa offers everything a photographer's heart desires.
Many of the photographic sights allow for creative flights of fancy and completely new, unprecedented perspectives on the cradle of humanity - the following tips and locations are just a small selection from the incredible diversity that Africa has to offer.
Something for everyone
Tourism in Africa is of a completely different nature than what we know from the classic beach resorts in Southern Europe. Most African holidays are about experiencing the country and its surroundings and getting to know them in all their facets - for example with excursions into the desert or on safaris. There are always outstanding motifs that cry out to be photographed.
Landscape photographers get their money's worth on the black continent. Depending on where exactly you are, you can explore spectacular coasts, imposing mountain ranges, colourful primeval forests or endless stretches of desert with your camera at the ready.
If you like to get animals in the wild in front of your camera, you can hardly find a better place in the world than Africa. The variety of exotic animals here is almost unrivalled - the so-called Big Five, i.e. elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo and rhinoceros are among the most popular motifs worldwide - and the opportunities to photograph them are very good. In many places, safaris or special photo tours are offered to guarantee getting some of these magnificent animals in front of your lens.
Landscape highlights for Africa photos
With over 30 million square kilometers, Africa is an unimaginably huge land mass. Thanks to the low population density, it is still a lot of untouched or barely touched nature. No wonder, then, that incredible landscapes can be found all over the continent, tempting visitors to marvel.
We have collected some of the highlights, which, however, only make up a fraction of the total number of places worth seeing, with a focus on areas that are well suited for different types of photography. By the way: If you can call a drone your own as a photo tourist in Africa, you can consider yourself lucky - incredible perspectives often open up from above.
In the Kalahari Desert, which stretches across Namibia and Botswana, more and more opportunities for tourists have opened up in recent decades. The sandy desert and dry savannah, which with its red sand and vast stretches of land offers the best conditions for drone photographers, entices with pleasant solitude. In spring, when the rainy season with high temperatures brings the flora and fauna to new life, the "Green Kalahari" shows a very special side.
The Namib coastal desert in Namibia is a land of contrasts. An extremely dry sandy desert meets the wild Atlantic Ocean along a coastline of almost 2,000 kilometres. The sights that present themselves there have inspired photographers for many years - but the enormous morning mists that roll across the desert from the sea are also impressive motifs. Along the Skeleton Coast, the many shipwrecks offer unique, alternative vantage points.
Only a few places in this world have that very special magic that you feel right when you first enter. The Siwa oasis in the middle of Egypt's Sahara is certainly one of them. Hundreds of thousands of palm, fig and olive trees grow on Lake Siwa, surrounded by nothing but sand. The town of Siwa, located in the centre, offers enough motifs for hundreds of photo books with its incomparable ruins of the old town.
Africa's highest mountain on the border between Kenya and Tanzania should not be missing from such a list. Outstanding panoramas on the ascent, but also wonderful landscape motifs with the white peak in the background make Kilimanjaro one of the most popular destinations for photographers worldwide. Seen from Kenya in Amboseli National Park, the massif can be combined with great safari motifs.
The long Lake Malawi in the East African country of Malawi is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and, with its 29,600 square kilometers, is almost as large as the whole of Belgium. The fantastic sunsets and lake panoramas are finding more and more fans among Africa travelers internationally and provide wonderful backdrops for unforgettable photographs.
Many locals, who sail the waters in their dugout canoes, can also be found and photographed there. The small islands that can be reached by boat, such as Likoma halfway up the lake, offer unique photo opportunities.
Drakensberg National Park
The national park in South Africa is also on the UNESCO World Heritage List. With its diverse mountain and valley landscapes, it is reminiscent of an African version of Yosemite National Park. Anyone looking for photo opportunities in South Africa or Lesotho should waste no time and immediately put this place at the top of their priority list.
Waterfalls, mountains, gorges, green hills crisscrossed by cliffs and vast savannahs make the shutter run hot. The famous Kruger National Park in South Africa can also boast similar panoramas.
Photo safaris in Africa
The landscapes are a good reason to visit Africa with a camera, but for many, the countless animal species of the black continent are of more interest. Those who would like to go on an animal and environmentally friendly hunt for the perfect photo trophy, armed with a camera, can take their chance with the many safaris and photo tours through national parks.
Especially in the species-rich nature parks, these are offered in many places and - provided you have a zoom-powerful telephoto lens and a steady hand - offer the perfect opportunity to get the world's most impressive animals in front of your lens for once. Depending on the location, there are different species to marvel at - so if you have specific wishes, you should choose your destination accordingly to have the best chance of encountering them.
The breathtaking mountain gorillas can be tracked in two national parks in Uganda. Either in the Bwindi Rainforest or the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, trips can be booked with photo expeditions lasting several days in search of the highly endangered primates.
Zebras, antelopes and co.
The graceful hoofed animals for which the African steppe is famous are highly likely to be encountered in the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, for example. Especially the huge herds that migrate to the Masai Mara in Kenya every year from July to October exert a strong attraction not only on predators but also on photo tourists. With migrations of up to 40km, the wildebeests, zebras, giraffes, kudus, springboks and gazelles form the largest herd of ungulates in the world.
Among Africa's more patient but no less impressive photographic models are the pachyderms, which are particularly easy to spot in Kruger National Park in South Africa. Tours and safaris through the Serengeti are very popular and often part of travel plans through Tanzania.
The venerable king of animals. There is hardly anyone who would not like to look at this large predatory cat through the lens. In many nature parks with larger populations, such as the Serengeti but also in the Mero or Tsavo National Parks of Kenya, they can be met with high probability.
Penguins? Yes, you read that right. In South Africa - at Boulders Beach to be precise - the cute seabirds can be found. Around 2,500 jackass penguins cavort on the beach there, which is a considerable proportion of the total population of this endangered species.