Kalagadi - Heat & Predators
David and I, like so many other South Africans (and photographers) enjoy the wide open spaces and exceptional game viewing opportunites of the Kalagadi Transfrontier parks.
We book every year for January or February and with our early morning wake drive through Johannesburg to avoid taxis and heavy traffic, we enjoy the delightful overnight stay in Upington at a B&B on the Orange River. This year it was a welcome stopover after driving through the drought beleaguered northern Cape.
David finds great solace in the wilderness camps - fewer people and maximum opportunity for game viewing. I think Kieliekrankie must be our favourite with Grootkolk a close second. We didn't choose Grootkolk this time, but on one of our previous visits we 'showered' with two huge Kalahari male lions as they rested under some bushes near our tent.
We experienced almost unrelenting heat while there - as expected. At one stage at Nossob I was certain my brain was scrambling during one steamy night. However, this really means good game viewing as the predators lie at water holes and obviously the antelope are easy prey.
We had spectacular sitings of lions and counted about 67 different specimens during our twelve day stay. Each time we approached a waterhole with little general game around we knew that lions were nearby. We saw lions mating, lying, attacking and sleeping and it's very tempting to book again for September where I am sure there will be many young to enjoy.
But over the last few days there we were there we experienced heavy rainstorms which left lakes in the Nossob and allowed springbuck to paddle in the water as they nibbled new shoots. A remarkable sight.
We always talk about the wonders of nature, but this time we saw the unfolding of new growth after the rains and bounty that is produced after rain.
The images here are mine (unedited) and I am waiting for David to edit his so you can view them. We've booked again for 2017 and look forward to another wonderful experience.
In the meantime, there is a chill in the air as autumn approaches and with the drought in the Free State we are unsure that there will be much cosmos this year. We go down to Rose Cottage over the Easter weekend to explore further and will hopefully be surprised.
Photographers always need to focus on the perfect light and exceptional shot, don't they?