Trip report: Kgalagadi Transfron. Park, November 2012 (Final part)

Sorry about the delay in posting the rest of this trip report but I am now back to do the final part of this trip report to the Kgalagadi T. park in November 2012. As I mentioned before, there were not a lot of great sightings and it was a bit slow at some stages of the trip. But nevertheless, just to be out there with Mother Nature is relaxing enough. Great sightings is a bonus.

As we entered the park and on our way to Urikaruus, we saw a lot of dead eland. Just pass Houmoed, we came across this jackal enjoying a feast.

Jackal eating eland 1024 500k 300d sRGB WJackal eating eland

(Nikon D3S, 600mmf4 fixed lens with 1.4 convertor – 850mm, ISO200, f5.6, 1/1000, exposure comp = -0.7, WB = sun, Aperture mode)


We stayed for the entire week at Urikaruus and we had such a relaxing time – just like the Cape silver foxes around their den next to the camp. Unfortunately it seems like only one of the cubs survived as we only saw this one cub outside the den every morning (next to the last unit).

Cape fox cub 1024 500k 300d sRGB WCape fox cub

(Nikon D3S, 600mmf4 fixed lens with 1.4 convertor – 850mm, ISO500, f5.6, 1/20, exposure comp = -0.7, WB = sun, Aperture mode)


One of my favourite water holes – the 13th borehole – is “close” to the Urikaruus camp and every morning we drove to see what the water hole has to offer. I’ve already posted photos of some of the visitors in earlier posts and we saw several jackals came to the water hole to have a drink of water – like this couple. Interesting to remember that these jackals are “married” (paired) for life.

Jackals drinking water together 1024 500k 300d sRGB WJackals drinking together

(Nikon D3S, 600mmf4 fixed lens, ISO800, f5, 1/1600, exposure comp = -0.7, WB = sun, Aperture mode)


This time of the year it is time for the bee-eaters to breed and a few kilometers outside of camp on the way to the 13th bore hole we found this bee-eater nest. One needs to spend hours sitting and waiting for the adults to bring food to the nest to feed their young ones. And you need quick reflexes to catch them as they approach or leave their nests.

Honey I'm home 1024 500k 300d sRGB WHoney, I am home

(Nikon D700, 70-200mm f2.8 lens @ 200mm, ISO200, f2.8, 1/8000, exposure comp = -0.7, WB = sun, Aperture mode)

Just remember you need at least 1/4000 of a sec shutter speed (or even more) to get the tips of the wings sharp as these birds are VERY quick/fast-moving. As you can see, even 1/8000 of a second is not really fast enough as the tips are not pin-sharp. We’ve tried several methods of catching these birds and this was one of the option – parking very close to the nest directly opposite the entrance (see my Message to take home at the end of the post).


We found a group of hyenas around the Rooibrak water hole area every day and for a few days they enjoyed using the waterhole as their local swimming pole. Lots of playing around by the young ones.

I am out of here 1024 500k 300d sRGB WI am getting out of here

(Nikon D3S, 600mmf4 fixed lens, ISO400, f5, 1/4000, exposure comp = -0.7, WB = sun, Aperture mode)

Remember to get your shutter speed as fast as possible for moving objects like these hyenas to capture the movements of your objects and to get sharp images. 1A shutter speed of 1/200 or 1/400 of a second is not fast enough to capture the movements. Make sure it is at least above 1/1000 of a second.


And then there were the “ever-present” lions – these two young males were doing what lions do best, having a nap. This time in the middle of the river bed. I am not sure how comfortable this pillow was but he enjoyed his nap. Nothing disturbed him.

Kalahari cushion 1024 500k 300d sRGB WKalahari pillow

(Nikon D3S, 600mmf4 fixed lens  with 1.4 convertor – 850mm, ISO640, f6.3, 1/640, exposure comp = -0.7, WB = sun, Aperture mode)


And to conclude this trip report – an interesting sighting of three giraffes between Dalkeith and the 14th bore hole.

Three giraffes 1024 500k 300d sRGB WThree giraffes

(Nikon D700, 70-200mm f2.8 lens @ 180mm, ISO200, f2.8, 1/2000, exposure comp = -0.7, WB = sun, Aperture mode).


Message to take home:

Try something new if your subject allows you some time to experiment. It is not always possible and therefore, first get the shot you want to get. Then try to experiment with your environment/subject. Do not just keep on shooting image after image on the same camera settings from the same position. Think of your situation and the possibilities. Therefore, change your location/position, change some of you camera setting, change your lens and so on. You might just get a total different image after all.

Until my next trip report to the Kgalagadi (December 2012), keep on shooting!!!


  1. #1 by puppy1952 on March 29, 2013 - 6:30 pm

    I have thoroughly enjoyed reading about your trip, Willem. Kgalagadi is one of my favourite places to visit. Your sightings were fantastic and your photography superb. Thanks for sharing.

  2. #2 by whk139 on March 29, 2013 - 6:37 pm

    Hi P, only a pleasure! Much more to come in my next Kgalagadi (December 2012) trip report.

  3. #3 by hogsbackphotos on March 30, 2013 - 7:27 am

    Pragtig Willem. Ek geniet altyd jou mooi fotos.

  4. #4 by whk139 on March 30, 2013 - 7:01 pm

    Thanks Josef, ek waardeer jou woorde.

  5. #5 by Gert Van Zyl on April 18, 2013 - 11:36 am

    Willem. Dit is aansteeklik! Pragtig

  6. #6 by whk139 on May 28, 2013 - 6:06 am

    Thanks Gert – hoop jy kry eendag tyd om die park te besoek. Uit en uit die moeite werd. Jy moet net nie jammer vir jou voertuig voel nie.

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