Etosha & Secrets of the Kalahari photo safari trip report 1 - August 2017
Posted by Wild4 Photo Safaris on 14th Aug 2017
We are pleased to release this photo trip report from our very first "Etosha and Secrets of the Kalahari" photo safari.
The main aim of this trip was to spend time in two of Africa's dry environments, namely Etosha National Park in Namibia and the Kalahari in South Africa where a variety of very different species manage to eke out a living for themselves. Along with a number species seen in the other wildlife hotspots of Africa, such as Greater Kudu, Zebra, Ostrich, Elephants, Lions, Blue Wildebeest, Giraffe, Black Backed Jackal, Spotted Hyaena and African Wilddog, these dry environments offer a fantastic collection of less commonly photographed animals. We were very fortunate to see the Damara DikDik, Black faced Impala, Gemsbok (Oryx), Red Hartebeest, Springbok, Tsessebe, Roan Antelope, Sable Antelope, Bat Eared fox, Cape Fox, Black Rhino, Meerkats, Hartman's Mountain Zebra and the endangered Pangolin.
The dry winter season is the perfect time to do this trip as the days are mild and the nights are cold. Animals are thirsty and are dependant on visiting waterholes where the predators often hide and wait.
We spent 6 nights at Etosha National Park visiting a number of very productive waterholes and were treated to a number of sightings of large Elephant herds, Black Rhinos and Lions. There was a staggering amount of general game around which included Zebra, Blue Wildebeest, Oryx, Springbok, Impala and Giraffe.
Our next stop on the tour was a 5 night stay at Tswalu Kalahari Reserve in South Africa. Each Game drive at Tswalu produced a quality sighting, starting with a pack of African Wilddogs with 5 small pupies at their densite. We also followed a female Cheetah with her two small cubs, spent two sessions at two different habituated Meerkat groups (a real highlight), we had a morning with a beautiful Black Rhino and calf, we tracked down two large Male Lions and the North pride, had two evening sessions with the endangered Pangolin and a final morning drive with three predators, the Wilddogs, two Cheetah brothers and a group of Lions.
The tour was a great success and we certainly achieved our goals of photographing the animals of Etosha in the dry season and we discovered many secrets in the Kalahari !
Thanks so much to Usko, our guide in Namibia, and the Ultimate Safaris team, it was a great pleasure working with this great guide and company again, and also thanks so much to Fireblade Aviation and the extremely helpful and friendly team at Tswalu Motse for taking amazing care of us during our 5 night stay in the Kalahari. Extra special thanks also to our great photographic guide, Kosie and tracker, Jackson !
Finally thanks so much to Paul, Pierre and Martin for joining us on this first ever trip to Etosha and Tswalu, it was a great pleasure travelling with you all and experiencing the magic of these two special environments packed with unique species
Enjoy some of the photos from the tour,
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Kruger North to South 16 days of photo safari gone off like a wink of an eye especially when it was fun and memorable. Like an aciton-packed movie, the opening scene at the Skukuza Airport reception by Wild4 Team : Stefan and Sandrine was delightful and the afternoon game drive was filled with excitements with shots of wildlife encountered as we travelled to our first camp in Satara. The numerous sightings we experienced over the next two weeks were nothing less than thrilling and of course capturing the Big 5 was fulfilling. The teamwork of Stefan and Sandrine was excellent giving the traveling photographers absolutely nothing to worry except to be trigger happy. Each day I shot approximately 1,500 images as each day bought new surprises. As a photographer I used the Sony A9 with the 2x teleconverter on the 100-400mm G Master zoom for distant & fast-moving subjects like eagles' flights, lions, leopards, rhinos and the smaller birds in flights while my Leica SL on a APO Vario Elmarit 90-280mm zoom for intermediate distance subjects like elephants, hippos, zebras, Impalas, Kudus and various animals within close quarters of the vehicle, and finally my Leica Q for the panoramic shots of landscape and daily point and shoot. A memorable trip ending with almost 4 TB of mobile hard disk storage. I will re-live my memories when I sort out the images and I look forward to my next trip with Stu on the Tanzania & Elephants of Amboseli and many other trips with Wild4.
Clifford Yap, Singapore
We recently travelled to South Africa for a safari led by Wild 4 African Photographic Safaris. To put things simply, we were completely blown away. I had been on safari before, and had expectations that I thought were reasonable, but Wild 4 completely exceeded those expectations in so many ways. First of all, Justyna handled all of our travel and trip details with exceptional professionalism and always responded to even our most basic questions quickly and in a very detailed manner. Once we had arrived in South Africa, we were met by our guide Stu Porter, who I cannot say enough good things about. He is so organised and cordial. Stu was spotting things that we couldn’t believe that he was spotting, which almost always led to an amazing wildlife experience that we never saw coming. His knowledge and understanding of the wildlife and ecosystem was outstanding, and he went to great lengths to insure that we had the best chance of capturing a great photo, without compromising the rules of the park or the integrity of the animals and ecology within it. His understanding and respect for the wildlife and surroundings made the trip so much more than just a “drive around and look at whatever we see” kind of experience. I know that you can never predict what kind of experience you will have when you go out into the wild, and often it’s up to nature to decide what events you will be a part of, but in all honesty, I can’t imagine a better guide than Stu Porter. We will be doing our future trips to Africa with Wild 4, and cannot recommend them highly enough. Thank you so much for what a lot of people call “the trip of a lifetime”, although we feel that this is only the beginning of many trips of a lifetime. Thank you, Wild 4!!
James Smith, USA