Camera Gear and Carry-on Allowance for In-country Flights

I am interested in the experiences and advice from those who have recently traveled with Tauck on an African Safari. Tauck provided "duffel bags" for transporting clothing, etc. on airplanes traveling between locations inside the country. There is also a carry-on weight limit. What is the experience of the more serious photographer in terms of transporting their camera gear on these flights? Tauck seems to think that it is okay to put camera gear in the duffel bags. I cannot imagine having my gear in a duffel bag that gets tossed into the cargo hold. Thanks in advance for any replies.

Comments

  • edited May 2

    I would not put camera gear in a duffel bag. A small backpack you can put on your knee would be the best idea. If you look up older posts on the forum, oyushould be able to find plenty of tips. In addition, you might want ot take photo from the plane, I have so,e great omes, they might even be phone ones, I can’t remember.

  • jldodge710 - As British said the duffel bags are for your clothes, toiletries, etc that are required for the day or two that you are separated from your luggage. That stuff goes in the cargo hold.

    My camera gear came with me on the planes, in a small camera case that held the camera, a couple of extra batteries, extra memory card, etc.

  • I've been on two Tauck Africa tours where there were several on-tour flights. I would never put my camera gear in my duffel- the reason for the duffel is that it is soft and its shape can be manipulated so it can be stuffed into just about any available space in the cargo area (you'll notice I didn't use the words 'cargo hold') You'll be flying in smaller aircraft, primarily Cessna Caravans and de Havilland DH-6 Twin Otter (Dash 6).

    I don't consider myself a serious photographer, but I take a lot of photos using a DSLR with 16-300mm lens (the only lens I take) and sometimes a GoPro. I always carry it on the aircraft in a small, soft-sided camera 'bag', actually it is more like a courier's pouch. Unless you are a very serious, bordering on commercial, photographer, you won't have any problems with carry-on weight limits. Your carry on is not weighed, neither is your duffel, but there are significant space limitations. Don't equate a typical jet airliner "carry-on" which is usually just smaller suitcase, with the "carry-on" you will be able to use on the aircraft during on-tour flights. There are no overhead storage bins in the aircraft and little space beneath your seat. You'll need to cram the carry-on under your seat or hold it on your lap. You walk out to the aircraft, climb aboard and fly off. Many of the runways are just dirt strips.

    Also, do not plan on taking a tripod- while you can probably fit a mini or small collapsible tri- or mono-pod in your duffel or camera bag, it will be too awkward and very difficult to use on game drives- no space, no time, and you never exit the vehicle. Seriously, consider what you will honestly need the most on tour and remove everything else from your camera bag. Many who use a DSLR will get a good zoom lens and use it, just one lens, almost exclusively. During game drives, the ride is very bumpy and there is a lot of dust so you really don't want to be changing lenses and you hardly ever stop long enough in one spot to take photos swap lenses and take a few more photos.

    Boarding a Dash 6 in Nanyuki for the flight to the Maasai Mara. Note the typical "carry-ons"- small backpacks- most are carrying.

    Boarding a Cessna Caravan for the flight from the Serengeti back to Arusha

  • AlanS - In your first picture I recognize Seth in the orange and white shirt with blue backpack. He was our TD as well and he wore that same shirt. :D

  • Thanks AlanS. Very helpful commentary and, especially, pics. This makes me more comfortable with my plan. I plan to take two cameras, one with a long zoom and the other with a small zoom. I can fit both cameras in a backpack similar in size to what is shown in your pics. I normally take a laptop but will not take one on this trip. I also plan to put extra batteries and a backup drive in the pockets of my vest. Will likely have the backpack sit on my lap given they type of equipment being used. Thanks again for the help/advice.

  • Smiling Sam
    10:33AM
    AlanS - In your first picture I recognize Seth in the orange and white shirt with blue backpack. He was our TD as well and he wore that same shirt. :D

    You mean this Seth? :D:D

  • You mean this Seth? :D:D

    No this Seth.

  • jldodge710
    10:57AM
    I plan to take two cameras, one with a long zoom and the other with a small zoom. I can fit both cameras in a backpack similar in size to what is shown in your pics.

    I purchased a spare body and had planned to do the same thing, but thought better, and glad I did. Juggling one camera was more than enough. There are a lot of exceptions, but again, remember you'll be taking most photos during game drives, and only when the safari vehicle comes to a stop- if you are not moving the animals are. You typically won't have a lot of time to compose and shoot- if you wait too long, the shot is gone!

    .

  • Alan’s photos of the Safari vehicles demonstrate very well how you stand on the seats and brace yourselves over the lip of the open roof to take your photos

  • British, hello. I direct messaged you with some Africa questions and just wondering if you personally received that message pertaining to questions I have among the ghee’s Tauck trips? I am in a quagmire of trying to decide which would be the best for us. In other words, and long story super short, I realize Victoria Falls can be mind blowing and spectacular but I’ve also seen close up and personal Iguazu Falls in South America and walked along its catwalks to hear the thunder of the water; so I’m wondering if Victoria Falls is an absolute must-see plus the flight go get there. I’m trying to compare trips because Botswana, SA, and Zambia doesn’t go to the Falls. I’m not into winelands or a spa (I can get that here in wine country, California) but I do enjoy a touch of culture. Thanks all for your input again.

  • OurTravels34
    7:13PM
    . . . . so I’m wondering if Victoria Falls is an absolute must-see plus the flight go get there. I’m trying to compare trips because Botswana, SA, and Zambia doesn’t go to the Falls. . . . . "

    I must be missing something? The Botswana, SA, and Zambia tour starts in Livingstone which is on the Zambia side of Victoria Falls. The back gate to the Royal Livingstone property is 20' from the entrance to Vic Falls park! On Day 2 you visit the falls then you visit a rhino sanctuary where you'll get within 50 feet or so of a herd of rhinos- no fence. You won't find rhinos at Iguazu Falls! :D

  • edited May 3

    Our travels, did not get a private message from you, will answer any question you have. And yes, Zambia does include the Falls, I’ve seen them from Zimbabwe also. Not been to Iguazu

  • Out travels, AlaanS suggested ro me you might have posted in the wrong place and you had. I have now seen your message and replied. You should see an extra red icon on the top right near your info/forum name, click on that and you should see my message.

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