Etosha & Secrets of the Kalahari photo safari trip report 2 - August 2017
Posted by Wild4 Photo Safaris on 10th Sep 2017
Here is this years second trip report from the "Etosha and Secrets of the Kalahari" photo safari.
The dry season in both Etosha and the Kalahari produced a great number of special sightings and photo opportunties, most of the animals seen and photographed on the first trip were again seen and photographed on this trip. These included: 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.
A convenient cold front that pushed inland from the Cape brought the day time temperatures down more so than on the first trip. This helped in a big way in the Kalahari as these colder conditions brought out the Aardvark to feed during daylight hours. We were treated to 5 sightings of this unusual creature and our expert guide, Kosie, managed to walk us to the Aardvark and get some close up photos.
We visited the waterholes in Etosha 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. We also saw an unusual sighting of a Kori Bustard hunting Doves at Chudob waterhole in Eastern Etosha.
We had a very special arrival at Tswalu Kalahari, on our way from the airstrip to the lodge we bumped into our first Aardvark sighting - what a start ! The African Wilddog den site had moved but we still got to spend an afternoon with the dogs.
We had a good daytime sighting of the Cape Fox and spent two sessions with the Meerkats, the more habituated group allowed us to follow them as they went in search of food.
Sable, Roan, Cheetah, Red Hartebeest, Oryx and Eland also presented great photo opportunities at Tswalu.
This second trip was again a great success and we look forward to hosting more trips to these two special dry African Environments.
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, David, and also to Cameron for taking us out on our last morning drive at Tswalu !
Finally thanks so much to David, Francoise, Keith and Sharon for joining us on this photo tour to Etosha and Tswalu, it was a great pleasure travelling with you all again and experiencing the magic of nature.
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
Our 14 days with Wild4 Safaris will always be remembered as the best learning experience we have ever embarked on. Not only for the improvement in photographic skills and knowledge, but also the animal behavioural knowledge that we gained. We were totally immersed in the world of wildlife photography in the best place in the world with one of the best pro photographers around. Stu genuinely enjoys sharing his knowledge and passion for wildlife and photography. More than a holiday, it was an unbelievably rewarding learning experience and has taken our skill level up significantly. Stu and his team were able to help us learn about our equipment and coach us to apply these new skills quickly. Their sharing of knowledge, expertise in photography, and being able to read wildlife behaviour along with the excellent booklet (which became Marie's bible) are world class. This ensured we got to places that others didn't and that we were always in the best position to shoot. We also booked the extension and were most impressed with the "behind the scenes" access we gained at each Reserve. Stu didn't disappoint and was able to put together some memorable opportunities for us to get many excellent shots. The whole package was first class, from the pick up at Nelspruit, accommodation, food and day trips, to the people (now friends) who we met on the trip. This is one of those bucket list adventures that we will be doing again with WILD4.
John and Marie, AUSTRALIA