safari

Safari - Impala Antelope by Harold Brown

Safari - Impala Antelope

Impalas are medium-sized antelopes that wander the savanna and woodlands of eastern and southern Africa. I snapped this photo in Kruger National Park, South Africa in 2009. You can see the needles sticking out of the impala's face from the barbed trees surrounding it. Impala's are very beautiful animals with very unique markings. If you go on safari you will see a lot of impalas and many times with other animals among the herd. While on safari I typically have my 70-300mm zoom lens mounted on the camera. You aren't going to get a picture like above without one. I have a second camera with a wider view in the event I need to get a picture of something closer to me, like an elephant. You need at least a 300mm lens if you are going to capture good photos of a rhino. It is difficult to get close to them.

[dropshadowbox align="none" effect="lifted-both" width="350px" height="" background_color="#efc34d" border_width="1" border_color="#dddddd" ]I took this picture on the site marked below[/dropshadowbox]

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Safari – Impala Antelope

Safari - Crocodile by Harold Brown

Safari - Crocodile

One of the scariest sights to see are the crocodiles laying in wait ready to chomp into their victims and drag them under the water. Whenever you see a body of water you just need to start looking close and you will eventually see them. They are good at blending in and/or looking like logs floating in the water.

Safari - Crocodile

The above pictures were taken with a Nikon D90 at 300mm. The picture with the croc in the water was taken much later in the day at ISO 1600.


The first picture with the croc on the reddish soil was taken in Kruger Park at the map location below

 

Safari - Vervet Monkey by Harold Brown

Vervet Monkey

Nikon D200 - ISO 3200 - f/7.1 - 135mm

We saw this sneaky Vervet Monkey at Nkuhlu Picnic site in Kruger Park, Mpumalanga, South Africa. From the tree tops he would watch over the picnic tables ready to bounce down to grab his favorite foods from unsuspecting diners. In a blink of an eye he grabbed the food and was back up in trees out of reach. Throughout the picnic site crying children were heardwanting their snacks back that this thief grabbed from their hands so quickly that the reaction to the theft came seconds later after the children realized their goodies were gone. It was actually pretty funny as long as you weren't the victim!

 

Yellow Billed Hornbill by Harold Brown

Bhaga Video - Harold Brown On Safari in South Africa I saw the Yellow Billed Hornbill each day I was out on a drive. The bird is sometimes referred to as a flying banana. In the dry season in southern Africa the birds favorite foods are termites and ants. Based on the termite mounds that I saw they certainly need a bird like this. It prefers the climate of Sub-Saharan Africa. Watch the video below to see the bird in action. At the end of the video clip the motion in the background is from a monkey.

Bhaga Video - Harold Brown

Yellow Billed Hornbill

Nikon D90 720HD Video Yellow Billed Hornbill from Bhaga Video on Vimeo.

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Ngala Safari South Africa Part 2 by Harold Brown

Ngala Safari South Africa Part 2

In part 1 of my South Africa safari story I blogged about the experience of a safari in Ngala. This is the same camp that Jack Hanna featured on his TV show "Jack Hanna's Animal Adventures". Ngala means “place of the lion” in Shangaan. One of the most interesting, thrilling and scary events happened on Saturday after I had returned from our morning drive. I still had my camera when I saw an elephant walking up to the swimming pool. I took some pictures and then walked around to another area where I felt he might go next. As it turned out he did come my way, but he wasn’t too happy that I was there. He stopped and extended his ears, stared at me for what seemed an eternity, and then started to charge me.

Ngala Safari South Africa Part 2

He stopped after a few steps, but I did not run. The day before the ranger had said not to run away but to rather walk away at the right time. He said this after an elephant wanted to charge our Land Rover. One of the ladies who worked the gift shop yelled to me to come into the shop before he decided to come after me. Looking at the giant beast I was forced to agree. The longer he looked the more worried I became. After I walked away he walked over to the lunch area and began to tear down tree limbs and eat the bark. I worked my way over to the lunch area and started shooting pictures again. Some other people started to get a little too curious and he charged them, I shot pictures as they ran past me and fortunately I was safe. He stopped and began to eat again. He eventually pushed down a tree and started to eat it as well. Of course he also deposited a little something extra before rangers shooting shotguns in the air finally drove him off. I , complete with zebra strip hat was then lifted into the air in a chair attached to two poles by the locals shouting “JUNGLE DEVIL”, “JUNGLE DEVIL”. Ok, actually the local rangers commented that I never stopped taking pictures and were laughing that my fellow guests had stumbled over one another  to get away from the elephant while I kept taking pictures.

Perhaps of interest to some, my tracker was a local native named Elvis!!! He was 32 and had been tracking since he was 15. He is the best tracker at Ngala. After the elephant incident Elvis must have heard about it because when we went on our evening drive he asked me if I wanted to see the elephants at night. "That would be great!"  was my response, and true to his word we saw some elephants that night and they were doing what they almost always do, eat!

Ngala Safari South Africa Part 2

One of the best parts of our daily drives was the chance to get out of the Land Rover and walk around and explore on foot. When you are in the private game reserve you don't have to stick to the roads. The private game reserves are built along side Kruger Park and the fence between the two is dropped allowing the animals to expand their territory into the reserve, allowing the rangers to drive off the dirt roads in pursuit of the wild. Which means their guests have a better chance to see more animals and get a closer look. It is well worth the extra money to visit the private game reserve.

As a side note, when I was a kid every movie ever made that takes place in the jungle eventually had the scene were the local natives who are carrying your supplies hear a noise, get scared, throw everything down and run away. At one point both the tracker and ranger left us to look for lions. I reminded our group of those movies and perhaps we were abandoned.  At last I felt like I was truly on safari. My experience in the bush was complete.

Ngala Safari South Africa Part 2

I have been on a total of 5 safaris but have seen leopards only twice and both times at Ngala. Hunting and loss of habitat has greatly reduced the number of leopards and explains why they are so seldom seen. It is capable of running at 36 miles per hour and it is unequaled in its ability to climb trees, which I witnessed from a cub going after its lunch.

As they say, all good things must come to an end. Sadly I returned to civilization on Monday August 10. Well, maybe not, when you consider the Sangoma, Muti and the Tokelosh, but that is another story.