We decided to take our annual family trip to Kruger in April, rather than the winter months. This is a very different time of year to when we normally visit. The viewing of birds and animals was challenging due to the late rains. The bush was green and dense and many of the migratory birds had already left for warmer climes and many of the animals had dispersed into the bush with the late rains and abundance of groundwater. Spotting game was challenging and viewings were relatively sparse to what we are normally used to.
We were fortunate to camp next to some professional wildlife photographers who regularly publish their pictures in National Geographic and sell stock photography. They gave me some great tips and one realizes there is always something new to learn to get great shots. My camera malfunctioned a day before the trip but I was able to work around it though it impacted the auto focus and ability to change iso on the fly. So my % of keepers was far less successful.
Particularly noteworthy was a wild dog hunt with 24 wild dogs pursuing an impala down the Timbavati river until they headed bang smack into 4 black maned lions in their prime. The dogs barked at the lions and were then pursued by the lion which passed right in front of the car. I realised the limitations of my old canon 20D as the light was dim and it was raining and overcast. I really needed a high iso camera free of noise to make up for the poor light. There was so much happening and my photos were mostly disappointing but driving down the road with the dogs hunting on either side of the vehicle calling to each other was an amazing experience and one of my most memorable in 30 years of visits to the Kruger.
The following day there was a great leopard sighting within a few hundred meters of of the previous afternoons viewing. This time the leopard which sat calmly for 20 minutes in a clearing was suddenly chased up a log by 2 wild dog who made a brief 5 second appearance before disappearing. Alas it was too far to get a shot with dogs and leopard in the same frame.
The middle and southern part of Kruger gave up a lot more sightings compared to the Letaba and Olifants area but the strong flowing rivers and number of pans dams and puddles in the bush generally meant that much of the game had dispersed into the bush and were not reliant on the waterholes. 3 Cheetah were also seen which is also special but I have seldom seen so little game in a 10 day trip. We focused a lot on insect life and bought an excellent field guide which opened up a whole new exciting world.
The trip got me thinking that I must pursue a Field Guiding Course which would enable me to one day achieve my dream of being a safari and photographic guide.
I hope you enjoy the pictures.