Posted by Wild4 Photo Safaris on 1st Nov 2014
My personal favourite part of the Kruger National Park, Northern Kruger has an appealing and different atmosphere all of its own.
This part of Kruger is extremely beautiful with Fever Tree Forests, Baobab Trees and the beautiful Shingwedzi, Mphongolo and Luvuvhu Rivers. Silwervis and Rooibosrant dams provide great water birds and a stop at Letaba rest camp on the Letaba River will offer some of the best bird photography without even leaving the camp. My personal favourite is the Luvuvhu River and the drive to Crooks Corner where South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe meet. This was the perfect getaway for early Ivory smugglers as they could evade capture by crossing the Limpopo River into a different country. Pafuri Picnic site is a mecca for birds.
The birds in the north are extremely good however there are other animals too. Predators are here but in low densities and it is considered lucky to see them and more lucky to spend time with them as they tent to be more wary than their cousins in Southern Kruger. Northern Kruger has some really big tuskers, plenty of Nyala and it is the best place in the park to see Tsessebe antelope. You would be very lucky to see the very rare Roan antelope who's numbers have plummeted due to a number of factors such as predation, rainfall and the implementation of artificial watering holes in the 70's (that have now largely been removed in an effort to build their numbers up again) . A small number of Eland are also found in the north and if you are very very lucky, you might see a Lichtensteins Hartebeest !!!
Cape Hunting Dogs are seen fairly regularly around Letaba.
Northern Kruger is also a lot quieter, with not many people and very few other safari vehicles, so it is a very peaceful and relaxing place. Do not go there looking for multiple sightings of the Big 5 - but if you enjoy the peacefulness of nature and being out in the wild, taking in the atmosphere and beautiful sights then you will love it, what ever you see is an added bonus and there will be a fair share of these too.
We offer a very exclusive photo safari for only 2 participants to this northern wonderland in October every year, the focus is on the birds but we do photograph all the other animals too..
Here are some photos from Northern Kruger.
Brown Headed Parrot feeding on the flowers of the flame creeper (Combretum microphyllum) The Venda people used the roots of this creeper to expel a retained placenta after childbirth. October is a good time to see the flame creeper in bloom and it attracts a lot of birds.
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The Wild 4 team made my trip to South Africa a truly memorable experience. Photographing some of the orphaned captive animals at the private game reserve on the extension was a great way to start the holiday, and Stu's tuition on techniques, composition and familiarity with your gear was the foundation for the rest of the trip. In Kruger we had some wonderful sightings - including the 'Big 5' all in one day on two consecutive days! The highlights were spending 20 minutes with a leopard cub in a tree no more than 30 metres away, and on the last day watching a pride of 14 lions stalking a herd of zebra for more than an hour - just wonderful experiences! I'm sure the quality of the shots I took was infinitely better than if I'd gone on a regular safari, as the whole focus of the experience is expertly designed to maximise photographic opportunities - including only 3 photographers in the specially designed vehicle. Stu's knowledge, enthusiasm and patience were boundless, and Ann's spotting and catering skills were also priceless! I hope to visit Africa again soon, and without doubt Wild 4 will be my first option.
Greg Morgan, UK
We couldn’t have enjoyed our trip with Wild 4 more. We were made to feel extremely welcome right from our very first e-mail contact, something which continued throughout our trip and beyond. We’d like to thank Stu, Justyna, Ann, & John for being such wonderful and enthusiastic hosts. Being looked after by such a friendly and caring family was a delight and we were very reluctant to leave after two weeks. Stu is a very knowledgeable, hard-working and helpful guide, always on hand with useful pointers and offering us plenty of encouragement to experiment with our photography. Having a whole row each of a specially adapted safari vehicle was a real find, ensuring we didn’t miss out on any of the action. Being able to stay out in the bush all day was also a real bonus. While many other vehicles drove off after only a few minutes, we were able to spend hours observing groups of lions and other wildlife. As this was our first African safari, Stu suggested we spend the first few nights at the Big Cats reserve and this proved to be a magical experience, with some great close-up action that resulted in some beautiful shots. It is a great place to hone your existing skills & learn some new ones. Given the opportunity we would go again tomorrow without any hesitation. Simply perfect!
Arnoud & Lynsey Van Foreest, NETHERLANDS