two trees framed in the salt pan of sossusvlei with a whispy blue sky

What’s in My Camera Bag? Namibia

Well I’m going to make it difficult for you on this one.  Namibia is one of the most photographically-diverse destinations on our planet.  This is great for the photographer, but require careful planning when selecting equipment.

Follow this guide to outline some of the key considerations.

Please note, photographic styles vary, as do conditions on the ground.  While this is meant to be a guide for choosing your camera gear, you should consider your own photographic interests first and foremost.

a land rover sitting in the immense desert of namibia

Ultra-wide angle vs. wide angle

You must bring either an ultra-wide angle or a general wide angle to Namibia.  With otherworldly landscapes, you would be missing out on hundreds of show-stopping photos if you only stuck with a traditional safari telephoto lens.  However, choosing between and ultra-wide angle and a more multi-purpose wide angle comes down to your own photographic style.  I personally prefer an ultra-wide, as it gives me more versatility when trying to incorporate specific landscape elements, and if I must, I can crop the photo after the fact to “digitally” zoom further.  By using a 10-22mm for crop frame or 16-35mm for full frame, I am ok with not having the zoom capability of, say, a 24-105mm.  But, that is up to you.  Just be sure to bring one or the other, as there are shots o’ plenty.

a glowing orange sunset with layers of hills in the background in namibia

Zoom telephoto:

On the other end of the spectrum is your telephoto range.  These are your 70-200s, 70-300s, and 100-400s.  While landscapes send to steal the show in some locations in Namibia, the wildlife can be quite outstanding in others.  Be sure to have your “go-to” safari lens with you for wildlife shots ranging from 10 to 100 yards away.

zoomed in image of a desert elephant in namibia, showing just part of its face

Multi-purpose lenses

These are your lenses that have large ranges like 18-300, 28-300, or 18-135.  While they can be easy to use and are more versatile, they often have drawbacks, either in how much light they let in, overall quality, or hefty price tags.  I personally don’t think that Namibia requires this dynamic flexibility like some other destinations may.  When you set out for the day in a certain location, you can be reasonably sure if you’re mainly going out for wildlife shots, or landscape shots.  There will always be times when you need the other on, and you’ll have to change lenses, but these instances are not coming up every minute, which is usually the criteria for multi-purposes lenses as I see it.

Super telephoto

A lens in the range of 400mm and greater can be of help in Namibia, but not essential.  Compared to Kenya Migration Photo Safaris, or Botswana Photo Safaris, you’ll have to go into Namibia knowing that the scenery and landscapes are equally spectacular, and that the wildlife is not at the same abundance as other iconic safari localities.  For this reason, I feel that a zoom telephoto that perhaps reaches up to 300 or 400mm is better, rather than being limited by a 400, 500, or 600mm prime lens solely for far away wildlife.

two young lion cubs in etosha national park, namibia, with one yawning

X-factor lenses

Namibia is an enthralling travel destination and for many trips you’ll get a chance to engage with traditional cultures, whether it be at your safari camp or actually visiting remote villages.  For this, I love a “nifty fifty” lens.  These are your 50mm primes that often give you really wide apertures for that neat blurred effect.  A 50mm f/1.4 would be a nice compliment to the above.


You probably won’t use any flash on this trip, as a) most guides will not want you using it while photographing wildlife, because it can spook them away, and b) there is usually plenty of light for total flexibility in your photographic style.  You can shoot at wide or narrow apertures and low ISOs during most of your days.


Tripods can be useful, but really only if you are into low light photography in evenings, or star photography at night.  The desert sky in Namibia can be GLORIOUS at night, so if that’s your thing, you may wish to bring a tripod.  Namibia is also very fascinating for time-lapse photography, too, as clouds roll over sand dunes, or light changes on the rocky landscape.  A tripod is essential for time lapse photography.

a blue hour photo of little kulala lodge at dinner time

Other accessories

Like many destinations, be sure to bring plenty of extra memory, as it’s often surprising how many photos you can take while on an expedition.

By far the two most important lenses to have with you are a reliable wide angle (or ultra wide) and a zoom telephoto.  While a full multi-purpose like a 18-200mm or 28-300mm isn’t entirely necessary, I do recommend covering a wide range of focal lengths with as little lens changing as necessary.  This usually equates to a kit of 16-35mm + 70-300mm, or a 24-105mm + 100-400mm, or any combination thereof.

Now, get out there and take your shots of a lifetime in this incredible nature, wildlife, and travel destination!


Go forward and give it a shot,