There are a plethora of choices. Most people have converted to digital, (thus don’t have to pack bags of film or worry about airport X-ray issues!) I have the following points to offer you:
If you are buying an SLR camera that will take your existing interchangeable lenses, expect to spend serious money. The Nikon D5600 body alone can be found selling for about U.S. $ 600.00 (June 2017). In all cases the storage cards and lenses then have to be purchased, and they are not cheap.
For compact models, the most important consideration is to buy a camera with a big OPTICAL zoom. Nowadays you can get up to 40X optical zoom or even more, as in the Nikon Coolpix B500, to be the absolute minimum for wildlife photography. I personally use an older 5.0 Megapixel Canon Sureshot S21S which has a 12X zoom, (approximately equivalent to a 320mm zoom). Many of the pictures on this website have been taken with this model. It can be found for $ 300.00 (June 2017)
The number of mega pixels largely determines the cost of digital cameras – the more pixels, the better the photo. Quality is seldom a problem, unless you want to significantly enlarge your images. Generally speaking, even a 4.0 mega pixel camera will produce a good 8 x 10 print, IF you don’t crop your picture to make your subject bigger! A camera with a large optical zoom allows you to do the cropping at the time of taking the picture.
When on safari where you must pack light and be able to carry everything you take, photographers must address the issues of charging batteries, storage and editing of photos. Digital cameras consume a large amount of battery power. Rechargeable batteries are a good answer, but require planning ahead for charging time (not yet always available) – and remembering to do it! Charging facilities are available in most lodges and camps, and most safari vehicle these days. You may want to bring your own plug adapters!
Storage and editing procedures must be based on each photographers’ needs and intended usage of images. Shooting in raw /high resolution requires more storage capacity – on cards, on your cameras and on your laptops. High-density memory cards are available, but tend to be expensive. Back up devices are readily available and inexpensive these days.
The alternative to storage cards is to lug along your laptop computer. This allows you to carefully edit and share photos with safari companions as you go along, as the small screens on these cameras are not really good enough to do this. However it will be hard to find the time! Your days will be full, and evening hours rush by chatting about experiences you’ve just had, or are about to have, learning the local lore and hearing your hosts’ adventure tales.
The disadvantage to bringing a laptop is that it is yet one more thing that needs charging, and a laptop, however light, further challenges your weight limits for the light aircraft you will be taking – unless you plan on asking your partner to leave their change of clothes at home!
WiFi in the camps, where available, is not fast enough to upload your daily take to the cloud .. so be warned !