Keeping Photography Gear Charged on Safari

Thoughts on Charging - Not the Elephant Kind

Keeping your photography gear charged on safari is a challenge. Here are some thoughts on how you can make the process as painless as possible. All of the camps that we are visiting are very proud of their minimal footprint on the environment. This concern is the primary reason for the minimal use of anything that may require the use of fossil fuel like generators for the camp.

As digital photographers this does raise a bit of a problem, getting all of our photography gear charged. There are no electrical outlets in the tents; we will be sharing connections in the main camp tent. When I was there, the camps had a reasonable number of plugs for everyone to use. On safari charging your gear requires a bit of planning and common sense. Foremost in your mind should be, don’t get behind in your charging. You should be topping off batteries at every opportunity. Be courteous and please don’t use more than your fair share of the outlets to catch up.

I am taking two batteries per camera, one to use and one to charge. I was able to shoot all day with one battery, and there were days with a few thousand shots. If you are concerned about a battery failing, bring a 3rd. Not all of the outlets had surge protectors. However, most of our chargers and gadgets have internal protections. My gear did just fine. If you are nervous, you could bring a small surge protector, and most of them have 3 or 4 plugs as well so that would also give you ample charging outlets.

Some of the Land Rovers have charging outlets that use regular electric outlets. My experience was that these did not always work so you can’t count on that, but it was wonderful when they did.

I am bringing my Watson charger. It charges two batteries at the same time even if they are different types. An ingenious little machine because it will even charge a USB device and it works with a cigarette lighter too. BTW, the cigarette plugs did not always work on the vehicles either.

Even if you don’t come on safari, upgrade whatever you are now using with this amazing charger. The image will link you to Amazon and you can read all of the tech specs. It leads to a Nikon version, but they make one for most cameras.
Watson Charger

This is my review of the Watson.

You should have enough G type (Great Britain) adaptors for everything you are charging. The camps may have some, but don’t count on it. I bought these on Amazon, $8 for 3 of them. The picture is a link back to Amazon for details.

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