Trip report: Londolozi, South Africa – Apr 2016 (Part 1)

It is been a while since I’ve posted a trip report – so I decided to do this trip report “live” while on location. We are very fortunate to have internet access but luckily very limited cell phone reception. So, here we go.

My wife planned this trip and we decided to stay the first night in Berg en Dal camp in the Kruger National Park. We left home very early on Saturday morning (around 05H00) and we arrived at Malelane gate around 14H00 after 3 stop-and-go’s on the N4. An afternoon drive and a Sunday morning drive to Sukuza provided us with sightings of 4 of the Big 5 (no lions) as well as a glimpse on wild painted dogs. And who said there are no photo opportunities in the Kruger National Park!

Two interesting images from our drives:

Oxpecker on bufallo 1080 W A Oxpecker on the nose a buffalo.

Nikon D4, Nikkor 600mmf4 lens, 1/4000 of second, f4, ISO1600, exposure = 0.

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Dwarf mongoose three 1200 W

We came across a den of about 11 dwarf mongoose in a termite mount next to the road (6-7 meters away) – so we spent almost 1 hour with them. After a while they got use to us and started to relax. They are so curious and are very interesting to watch.

Nikon D4, Nikkor 600mmf4 lens, 1/4000 of second, f8, ISO1600, exposure = -2/3.

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After some quality time in the Kruger Park itself, it was time to leave the park just to re-enter the Greater Kruger park a few kilometres from the Kruger gate for a stay at Londolozi. This is our second visit to Londolozi with Byron Serrao and we were so looking forward to our stay. And we were not disappointed! The following images are just a few highlights from the first few days.

Leopard in night 1200 W

During our first afternoon/evening drive Byron took us to a young female leopard with a kill in a tree. There was not much left of the kill and the female was very relaxed. However, there were a few hyenas around, so she went up a Maroela tree kept a watchful eye on the hyena and she provided us with some excellent photo opportunities like the image above.

Nikon D4, Nikkor 600mmf4 lens, 1/400 of second, f8, ISO4000, exposure = -1.0, manual mode.

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Leopard backlight yawn 1080 W

Also some backlight shots with a yawn or two!

Nikon D4, Nikkor 600mmf4 lens, 1/160 of second, f8, ISO1600, exposure = -1.0.

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Fish eagle catch 1080 W

So Byron decided that this trip is not just about blood and claws – lucky for us there were two fish eagles hunting at Taylor’s dam. I was not so lucky with these birds but I got this shot of the only fish caught by the eagles that morning (after a few misses). Using a f8 aperture to ensure both wings tips are in focus – could have used f11 as well but it was overcast and the light was not good.

Nikon D4, Nikkor 600mmf4 lens, 1/1600 of second, f8, ISO1600, exposure = -1/3.

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Where is the milk 1920 WBack to the claws of the trip – there are two lioness and two cubs around and we got a quick glimpse of them before the cubs disappeared into the thickness of the bushes.

Nikon D4, Nikkor 600mmf4 lens, 1/4000 of second, f8, ISO1600, exposure = -2/3.

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Leopard protective mom 1080 W

We also visited the Mashaba female leopard and her (almost) 1 year old cub feeding on an impala kill on the ground. Interesting to see how the female tolerated the presence of the young cub (almost time for the cub to leave the mother). Not very often one gets two leopards feeding on one kill. And they came within a meter or two from our open vehicle!

Nikon D4, Nikkor 600mmf4 lens, 1/640 of second, f8, ISO4000, exposure = -2/3.

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Sunset in the bush 1080 W

There is always time for a landscape photo or two (taken from the vehicle) while waiting to enter a sighting – especially with a sunset like this. The vultures waiting patiently for an opportunity above the Masaba female leopard and her kill.

Nikon D3S, Nikkor 70-200mmf4 lens @ 70mm, 1/800 of second, f8, ISO100, exposure = -1.3.

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Elephant small 1200 W

There are lots of elephants around and I could not resist taking an image of this young one doing a mock charge towards our vehicle.

Nikon D4, Nikkor 600mmf4 lens, 1/4000 of second, f8, ISO1600, exposure = -2/3.

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Lion water watch 1080 W

And a sad story for a giraffe but an easy meal for the two dominate male lions of this area. On one of our drives, we came across a giraffe that was stuck in the mud of a waterhole. During the day it became too weak and it drowned. Later during the night & the next morning the two male lions arrived to enjoy this free meal left in the water.

Nikon D4, Nikkor 600mmf4 lens, 1/250 of second, f4, ISO4000, exposure = -2/3, fill-in flash and spot light as light source

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Cheetah head 1200 W

Cheetahs are not often found in this area because of all the other predators around. However, there was one male found in one of the sections of the park.

Nikon D4, Nikkor 600mmf4 lens, 1/640 of second, f8, ISO1000, exposure = -2/3.

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Eagle take off branch 1920 W

And there were also some opportunities to practise my favourite type of photography – birds in fight. Not very often one get a African hawk eagle siting in the open on top of a branch. So we parked the vehicle and waited patiently for the eagle to take off. And eventually it did. My first decent shot a this type of eagle in flight. Patience is the name of the game.

Nikon D4, Nikkor 600mmf4 lens, 1/4000 of second, f8, ISO800, exposure = -2/3.

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What a first few days in the bush – full of action and opportunities. To be continued.

  1. #1 by EFRAIM VAN DER WALT on April 28, 2016 - 6:10 pm

    Wow! Regtig stunning!!!!!

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