One thing I can say is that the passion of waking up early in the morning (or in the middle of the night) to head for a distant trip to photograph wildlife is worth the tiredness and is what is often called for. There is that sense of anticipation as one waits for an amazing sunrise and or an elusive sighting caught in perfect morning light. Unless one can afford to go to an upmarket lodge where the games is tracked and located prior to the arrival of paying guests, one otherwise needs to be in the right place at the right time..there is a huge element of luck involved or should be!
I have been fortunate that my parents instilled in me a great love of wildlife and the bush, particularly the Kruger National park and I have visited over 60 times in my lifetime. Having missionary parents, we moved around a lot an were fortunate to live on the parks doorstep, being first based in White River (near Numbi and Phabeni and Paul Kruger gates) and then in Tzaneen which provided relatively quick access to the park (via the Phalaborwa gate).
Having visited so often in my youth, without the benefit of a camera, there are so many memories and some which I wish I could have recorded to film (such as the black saddled zebra)..but such is life . You know that you know the park when you have been on virtually very road, remember certain trees and sights and can remember on which rock, riverbed or under which tree that leopard was sitting..I think I am in that league. Yes, I have my favorite roads but here are just some elusive animals that I am yet to see for no want of trying .. such as serval, caracal, antbear and if you are one of the lucky few, a pangolin. The diversity of the park can be astounding but sometimes an entire trip will only yield a few new birds or a mammal that has not been seen before. This is where the passion lies.
But there is the stress of taking somebody with an expectation of safari to see and photograph specific wildlife..if one knows the bush, nothing can be guaranteed and I make this clear prior to departure. How can I explain that my hit rate for leopard sightings is about 1 in 4 trips and yet I saw 9 leopard in 10 days (and no cheetah) but that on the previous trip I saw 1 leopard ( a poor sighting) but 11 cheetah (over 9 days). I cannot explain it, but the uncertainty of not knowing what could lie around the corner is what keeps me going back to the Kruger and the other wilderness areas of South Africa. Please enjoy the attached gallery of some of my favorite images!!!