Category Archives: South Africa

Articles relating to travel and photography in South Africa

Returning to Kenya and Israel

I am pleased to announce that we will be heading abroad later this year, with visits to Kenya and Israel in the same big trip.

It has been a few years since we have been to either country (2015 and 2016 respectively), but a return to Africa was something high on the agenda for some time.

Because we need to return to Israel for some family events, it made sense to combine the two destinations into one trip.

The original plan was to visit South Africa again, as it seemed to be the logistically simplest option, whereby we would fly directly to Johannesburg, photograph wildlife in the Timbavati, and then fly to Tel Aviv.

Unfortunately, a combination of circumstances meant that South Africa was not a viable option for this trip.

Firstly, the cost of accommodation at safari lodges has considerably risen since our visit in 2012.

Secondly, we could not easily obtain a private 4WD vehicle, as the lodges either no longer offer them due to low-impact regulations in the Timbavati, or as was the case with one lodge, we would have had to pay for an extra tent/rondeval, which made the cost prohibitively expensive.

Thus, South Africa was off the agenda.

Enter Plan B: Kenya.

The initial thinking was that Kenya would be more logistically difficult than South Africa, but it is actually not much more difficult in terms of logistics.  Plus, we were able to secure outstanding accommodation and a private vehicle at a lower cost.

After a FaceTime conversation with our friend and safari leader Mario Moreno one night, we worked out a plan, and booked a safari with Mario — our third.

We are heading back to the Mara North Conservancy with Mario for a fantastic time of being in the African savannah and twice daily pursuing amazing sightings and images of the wildlife in the Mara.

After our African part of the trip concludes, we head north to visit family in Israel for some celebratory occasions.

I am not sure what kind of photographic opportunities I will have in Israel this time (I did not engage in any photography on the last trip), as it is more of a social visit than a photographic visit; but I am sure I will have the chance or two to capture some images I did not capture during previous visits.

Our schedule is going to be quite full, but I am sure I will land an image or two.

The countdown begins!

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Presenting a Wildlife Photography Talk

We recently had some good friends over for dinner and a good catch-up.

They are both passionate and very capable photographers, and I met them when I was involved with the camera club scene some years back.

Last year they started their own club, and during the course of the night I mentioned that I would be happy to appear some time as a guest speaker to deliver a presentation and talk about wildlife photography and our trips to South Africa and Kenya.

Sure enough, today an invitation arrived via email, inviting me to deliver a talk and audio-visual presentation at the club next week.

I was delighted to be asked, and I am very much looking foward to this.  I gave a couple of talks when I was still a member of my old club, and while I loved presenting, I also found a lot of enjoyment in listening to the guest speakers we had there.

With two major African wildlife photography trips and the experience, knowledge, images and video footage I have gained, I have a wealth of material to cover.

My plan is to present a slideshow of my stand-out images (including videos), discuss our adventures and experiences, relate what it was like to experience Africa and its wildlife not only as a photographer, but as a person; tell some of the stories behind the images, discuss techniques, tips and equipment (including some show-and-tell); and also reveal some behind-the-scenes material.  I may even delve into post-processing if there is sufficient time.

Hopefully the other photographers at the club will gain something from my presentation, and be inspired to travel to Africa where a world of amazing and potentially life-changing experiences awaits them.

RIP Ximpoko

I recently learned some tragic and disturbing news, and further reading today has confirmed it is true.

Ximpoko, a very large male lion who inhabited the Timbavati region of Greater Kruger National Park in South Africa, was killed by trophy hunters in July of 2013.

Ximpoko was one of the first male lions we ever encountered in the wild.  He was a magnificent lion, and was considered to be the largest in the Timbavati.

Ximpoko and another large male lion (possibly Mabande at the time), had formed a coalition, and they roamed the region as nomadic males.  They were not siblings, and were not even from the same pride.

We spent time with Ximpoko and his companion in their natural habitat on Saturday, 6th October, 2012.

Here is an image I captured of Ximpoko, showing him in life:

The King's Face

The King’s Face

The Timbavati, South Africa, and indeed the world, is a lesser place due to the horrible and unnecessary loss of Ximpoko.

Some creature I struggle to regard as human sought entertainment at the expense of the life of an amazing lion, and an endangered species.

Ximpoko deserves to be running around the African savannah, continuing his lineage, not hung on someone’s wall as a decoration.

This was not nature’s way.

I hope that when Ximpoko‘s killer meets his maker, he is shown no mercy.

Big Nigrescens: Revisiting the African Night Sky

Last weekend, I re-visited some of my unprocessed and/or unpublished images from our epic African trip in 2012, and dragged out from the archives another image of the stunning night sky over Africa.

This is Big Nigrescens, a spot in the Timbavati region of South Africa, through which we had passed during a morning game drive.

Big Nigrescens

Big Nigrescens

I wanted to capture stunning silhouettes of jagged, dead trees against the magnificent night sky over Africa.

After some fantastic wildlife spotting and photography, including pursuit of a leopardess on a stalk some thirty minutes earlier, we returned to Big Nigrescens where I shot this image and a few others in the pitch blackness of a warm African night.

Bukekayo Ingwe: Re-visiting the Archives

Sometimes it is good to go back through older images with fresh eyes and see if there is anything which was captured and forgotten, but which has potential to be a great image.

The other day I went back through my shots of Rockfig Jr, a magnificent female leopard we encountered in the Timbavati region of greater Kruger National Park during our trip to South Africa in October of 2012.

While I have a similar profile of Rockfig Jr, I thought this second version was worth publishing:

Bukekayo Ingwe

Bukekayo Ingwe

I cannot wait to head back to Africa to surround myself with incredible wildlife, and capture more images of the ever-elusive leopards. Hopefully we will do so in 2014…

One Year Since Africa

On this day last year, we were in the African wilderness, on the final day of our magical photographic safari in Motswari Private Game Reserve.

It has been a while since I posted an image from that trip, so here is a new image of one of the magnificent Jacaranda Pride lionesses we encountered on a morning game drive in the Timbavati.

Panthera Leo

Panthera Leo

Seeing images like this and others from my collection, as well as remembering what we were doing and the magical sensory overload we experienced on that trip a year ago, makes me want to go back there and experience it again.

We are still keen on heading back to Africa in 2014 and have some planning to do, so perhaps at this time next year, I will be writing about what we are doing in Africa rather than what we did a year ago.

Makepisi’s Afternoon Rest

It has been a while since I posted an image I captured during our epic African safari adventures in October of 2012.

I still have quite a few images from that trip to publish.

I thought it was time for some leopard love, so here is Makepisi male, a resident of the Timbavati region of South Africa.

Makepisi's Afternoon Rest

Makepisi’s Afternoon Rest

This was our second encounter with Makepisi male, 48 hours after we first met him, and in almost the exact same spot.

On the first encounter, he was perched on top of a mound, resting and soaking in the last rays of the sun for the day.

Here, he was also resting and soaking in the afternoon sun before a long night of hunting impala.