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South African Safari

South Africa. Home of Kruger National Park and the famous White Lions of Timbavati.  Our destination for our South African safari was a tented lodge within the Timbavati region.

The last time David and I had been on a Big 5 Safari was nearly 10 years ago, on our honeymoon.  Back then, we were armed with a simple APS point and shoot.  Today, we would be bringing Canon DSLRs, L lenses and flash guns. Yes, this was going to be one serious photography trip.

Yellow Billed Hornbill

We had gone out with a certain “professional” photographer. The itinerary sounded different and very interesting – aside from the usual game drives, this tour offered night time safari drives and even an afternoon walk. The safari was very different, but sadly not in a good way.

Magpie Shrike

Despite the fact that we were there for four days, we saw lots of birds but very few mammals, not even buffalo.

Burchell's Starling as photographed on our south african safari

In fact, game viewing was so scarce that our organiser actually asked our guide if we could get out of the car and take a wander into the bushes.  Not the most intelligent suggestion made since if we were caught beyond our borders, this would result in a crippling fine for the owners of the lodge that we were staying at.

Hippo in water at sunset

We left the camp on our last day feeling very disappointed at the lack of animal sightings.  Had it not been for the sighting of six lionesses from the Caroline super pride on day three, our south african safari would have been a complete and utter washout.  What made things worse was that when we got home, we read that most other camps had had lots of animal sightings on a daily basis.

Lionesses photographed during our south african safari

However, there is a silver lining even to this bad photographic safari.  Since we got back from India last May, David had been pestering me to agree to go back to Kenya to photograph the Great Migration and I had been resisting.  This trip to South Africa and the lack of game viewing had whetted my appetite and I was now ready to go back to Kenya.  We’re now busy planning our trip for 2012!

Impala looking back

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