Hello hello!

I am intending to book a 2 to 3 weeks holiday, of which a main purpose would be to do lots of field recording. I'm currently undecided where to go, but my eyes have fallen on Tanzania, as it seems to have a huge amount of national parks and wildlife.

My intention is to visit in December, or perhaps November.

Has anybody here been to Tanzania, and if so, what was your experience like in terms of field recording? Is it relatively easy (and cheap) to organise a personal safari (as opposed to a group), in order to avoid being with noisy crowds?

Related to this; as I'm still undecided where to go exactly, perhaps there are better places to visit in southern Africa for the purpose of a field recording holiday?

Thanks! Daan

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    Sorry i havent got any advice for you but that is an awesome idea, hope it goes well! Perhaps ask Chris Watson for advice if yuou havent already wildeye.co.uk/contact.html ? Jun 27, 2011 at 19:43
  • Hi Haydn, long time no speak :) Yes I was thinking of pestering Chris Watson about this. I was at a nature recording course lead by him this spring, and the man is so full of knowledge and so open and happy to share it all, a bright example for all of us :) He just needs a Social Sound Design account I guess, heh... E-mail will do though! Cheers Jun 28, 2011 at 20:49

2 Answers 2


I am a Canadian living in South Africa and for the past 2 years I have been compiling a South African sound effects archive. There is an immense amount stuff to record based on the diversity of wildlife and the multicultural customs and languages of the people. From the urban areas of Joburg through to Durban and the Garden route, the ambiances change, the spoken languages of the villages are different, the wildlife is different. And for a country of this size, that is really quite amazing.

Some small tips if you are coming through to SA: there are quite a few animal sanctuaries where, if arranged in advance, will accommodate you. Since November/December is summer here and tourism is high, you will have to contend with the throngs of people visiting these places and it does get busy. If you plan to visit the local villages, which I highly recommend, you must first visit the local chief, tell him who you are, why you are in the village and what it is you are planning on doing. You must always appease the local chief by presenting him with a gift to show your respect. The various game parks have accommodation included within the park so you will also have to contend with the noise from these people as well as those on game drives. Check out the parks that have vegetarian animals only so that if you and a game ranger go off on foot to record in the bush, you won't have to worry about leopards, cheetah's and lions. If you have a chance, check out Lesotho and Swaziland- amazing culture, language and a lot quieter than SA. As far as Botswana, Namibia and Zim are concerned, I would avoid Zim due to the political climate but Botswana and Namibia are great. Lots of quiet places but there, the animals roam free and you have to be very careful when going out into the bush to record. Hook up with a local game ranger and spend a couple of days in the bush.

Be prepared to pay for what you get- especially with the local people in the villages. They are poor and see that what you are doing requires payment. It shows respect and also helps them as many of these villages are very badly off and employment is virtually non-existent except for piece work on farms and small industry.

Be aware that crime is very high in SA and that a person walking around with expensive gear such as the stuff you are bringing will attract the wrong people. Always hook up with an experienced person in the area who knows the language, culture and landscape.

Send me an email if you are in SA and we can hook up. I am interested in what you are doing.

  • Great response! Lots of food for thought. I do still have SA in the back of my mind, but Tanzania has become my main focus for the time being. I am sure that wherever I would go though, I can find great stuff to record, be it SA, Tanzania or another of the countries that you mentioned... So Im still orientating myself. You made some really insightful comments with regards to the summer time/crowds and other things to be aware of. Much appreciated! If I do go down to SA, I'll be sure to let you know, hooking up with a fellow recordist would be awesome. Jun 28, 2011 at 20:43

Im also based in SA, and I echo what oinkaudio says. Email me if you end up here, we could go on some recording missions together!

I haven't been to Tanzania, but I have heard only amazing things by my friends. Not sure what the wildlife is like, but for a holiday you'll have a treat of a time. My girlfriend and I might actually go there on holiday around September.

Next to Tanzania is Kenya, there I know you'll find some amazing wildlife! In kenya you get the bush, and amazing beaches - like South Africa. Was in Nairobi a few weeks back, not so nice... So if you go just move on quick to the nice spots :-)

So if you have three weeks, might be worth doing a bit of Kenya and a bit of Tanzania?

You'd be surprised how game rangers will help you out if they can. They appreciate the fact that people are into what they love, and if you wanna doccument through sound their passion, they might just make special provate trips. You can always go to a private reserve and ask them for a favor. If not, there's always money ;-)

  • Thanks a lot Andrew... Yes the game rangers is an angle I had not thought of that yet, but it does make a lot of sense. It has the benefit of being with somebody who's used to go solo(ish) into the area, and knows to find the animals, albeit for different reasons that I would, but all is fair in love and war. Also really like the Tanzania/Kenya combination idea, more food for thought... And yep I will email if I do end up in SA, that'd be great :) Jun 28, 2011 at 20:46

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