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Updated: Apr 20, 2022

Why a Wonder: One of the best locations in Africa to get up-close-and-personal photographs of elephants and leopards.

Where: In the Northern Tuli Game Reserve of Botswana.

When: May through October, during the dry season.

Photography: Mashatu's main attractions are the magical watering hole and leopards - lots of leopards.

At the watering hole, you photograph from an underground hide (formerly a shipping container). You enter through a hatch atop the hide.

Elephants and other wildlife frequent this spot, but you may need to wait a while for the animals to show up. Here you can capture the action with 24-105mm lens, because the animals are so close, but also take a zoom lens in the 100-5000 range for tight shots.

If you don't go in the hide, you can still get some fun shots from a safari vehicle.

The expert guides at Mashatu will find the leopards for you. A zoom lens in the 100-500mm range will help you get full-frame shots. For wildlife photographs with impact, try to capture gesture and animal behavior.

And as always, respect the wildlife. Stay quite while photographing, and don't ask your guide to move closer just for the sake of a photograph.

Take advantage of landscape photo opportunities. Shoot at sunrise and at sunset to capture some of the most beautiful colors of the day. Include a person in your frame for scale – and for fun!

Be sure to bring plenty of memory cards, as well as portable hard drives to back up your photographs. As always, it's best to keep your photographs in two places, just in case a hard drive crashes - or when it crashes.

More: See this KelbyOne class, Capturing the Wild: Safari Photography.

© Rick and Susan Sammon

This post sponsored by Platypod.

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