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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Thank you again Stu for your trip report of our Botswana trip. It has been very useful to me as I go through my photographs and try to identify the birds especially. It has also given me ideas on how to treat some of my photographs of similar subjects, Also a big thank you in general for the technique guidance you have give me this year and for your fantastic decisions about anticipating animal behavior. My resulting photographs are largely due to your help and to travelling with you. You have had a significant impact on the quality of my photographs and I am very appreciative. Looking forward to hearing about your Tsavo trip. Regards
Sharon Thorp, Canada
I found Wild4 through an article in Popular Photography magazine about how to choose a photo safari. They were one of five recommended in the article. After checking them all out, I saw that Stu and Wild4 offered the kind of experience that I wanted: 1) Small groups of dedicated photographers 2) Variety in wildlife viewing 3) Tuition on photography and wildlife behavior 4) Good communication and organisation. I can say that Wild4 met and exceeded all expectations on all points (and then some). 1) We used one vehicle for three photographers. Stu is a trained photographer himself, so his goal was always to get us into the best position with the best light. Having only three on the tour meant plenty of room for equipment and the ability to shoot from either side of the vehicle when surrounded by a herd of elephants! It also gave us the flexibility to be patient and wait for the shot. 2) The three places we visited each provided a unique experience and wonderful variety in scenery and wildlife viewing. 3) Stu's tuition was excellent. It was there if we needed it but never pushed. Tips, reminders, anecdotes on wildlife behavior. All given with patience and good humor. 4) From the first email, the communication was timely & clear. Justyna was a joy to work with and handled the back-office part of the tour seamlessly. It can't be as easy as she makes it seem. Wild4 didn't provide the wildlife or the spectacular sunsets that we experienced, but they put us in position to enjoy and capture a little piece of it in our cameras and in our memories. Our Safari was amazing and I would not have changed a thing...well, maybe I would have eaten a little less. If you're looking for a Photo Safari, there is nothing to consider. Just go ahead and contact Wild4 Photographic Safaris. You will not be sorry.
Doug Croft, USA