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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For thirty-five years I had dreamed of going on a photographic safari in South Africa. This year I finally realized that dream and it is fair to say that my hopes and expectations were surpassed in every way. I had done extensive research on African photographic safaris on the Internet before settling on Wild 4 photo safaris. What an inspired choice that turned out to be! This family company run by Stu Porter and his wife, Justyna, and aided by Stu’s parents, John and Ann, provides the perfect safari experience for photographers of every skill level. Stu is one South Africa’s finest wild-life photographers and a first-class teacher into the bargain. His knowledge of the habitat and habits of the animals and birds to be found in Kruger National Park is simply encyclopaedic. I was accompanied on the trip by my 25 year-old daughter, Amy, and we eagerly adapted to the early morning wake-up call to go off into the wilds in one of Stu’s specially fitted jeeps to photograph animals at sunrise. Every day brought its special moments whether the spectacle of lions mating just a few metres from the jeep, or leopards lying lazily in the grass digesting a meal, or elephants and hippos frolicking in a river. The days sped by and we returned home with thousands of photographs of birds and animals to sort through and cherish for the memories they bring back. A safari with Wild 4 is more than a photographic experience with a master photographer: it is an initiation into the wonders of South Africa – its wild-life and spectacular landscapes - and, above all, an experience of friendship as everyone aboard the jeep bond in common purpose. Everything about Wild 4 is first class: organization is superb, accommodations excellent, choices of locale perfect. Our safari with Stu and Wild4 was truly the experience of a life-time.
Andrew Oliver, CANADA
I recently did a trip with Wild4 which far outweighed any expectations that I had! Wow what a trip. There was a great variety of animals, Stu has extensive knowledge of the animals and their habitat and was always mindful of us getting the best shots possible. My friend and I had our own bench seats in all the vehicles, which was great as we both had 2 DSLRs with numerous lenses, each vehicle is equipped with beanbags to steady your camera / lens, pockets and enough room to take a camera bag. We had fantastic opportunities to watch the cats for a good period of time and learn a little bit about their life, rather than taking a photo and moving on. I loved that we could sit and watch the lions at Mala Mala play in the Sand River, it was a fantastic opportunity. Stu provided us with some great tuition, I certainly learnt a lot of new photo techniques which I look forward to using back home. I hired a Canon 500mm lens from Stu which was great, I think I used that about 85% of the time and used a 70-200mm for the rest. We had many opportunities for night photography, silhouettes, time lapse, low light etc At the end of our trip we did the reptile extension at Khamai Reptile Centre. We went behind the scenes at the centre and had one of Africa's leading reptile specialist spend the day talking about the reptiles, spiders, scorpions we were about to take pictures of. Donald and his team certainly made for a very safe photo shoot, they were extremely patient positioning some of the reptiles for better light or different background. I learnt a lot from Donald, living in Australia we do have some venomous snakes, the day certainly gave me a renewed appreciation for the reptiles. I would highly recommend the Wild4 team for your next photographic safari you will not be disappointed.
Linda Cappello, AUSTRALIA