Jump to content

▶︎ Let The Game Drives Begin!


Dallas
  • https://www.fotozones.com/live/uploads/

Here (finally) is episode 2 of the behind the scenes series of videos I am making of the Ultimate Big 5 Safari we did this past August/September. 

 

In this episode we head off on the first of our 12 game drives and we encounter Maxabeni, the dominant leopard of the area as he was finishing off a kill. It's not too long at 12 minutes, so please enjoy. Those of you who have been on safari with me will definitely enjoy this, and hopefully those of you wondering what it's like to be on a safari with us will get a really good idea. 

 

Don't forget, bookings for the 2018 edition are open. Full details, including dates and pricing can be found here

 

 

 

  • Like 1


Comments

Recommended Comments

There are no comments to display.



Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Similar Content

    • By Dallas
      Up on the border of Namibia and Angola on the Namibian side of the Kavango River lies the little town of Rundu. It’s not a particularly attractive looking town. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that if Namibia has an armpit, you may as well slap the label on Rundu. It’s dirty, run down and it doesn’t have a whole lot of visual appeal, in spite of the presence of a very majestic river.
       
      We found ourselves passing through this little town twice on the Namibian leg of our 2013 feature safari. Fortunately we didn’t stay too long on the drive through to Botswana, stopping only for a light lunch, but on the way back we spent the night at a lodge just outside the town. As far as lodges go it wasn’t a place I will look back at with much fondness because the guide accommodation was appalling to say the least. They had just painted the two guide rooms Pepe and I were assigned, so they stank of paint fumes quite badly. The furnishings for each guide room were literally comprised of a single bed and in my case I was lucky enough to also have a single chair, but no bathroom mirror and no towel in the shower either. The glamorous life of a tour leader sometimes isn’t so glamorous at all. It wouldn’t have been so bad had the room not been infested with mosquitoes too, which with the absence of a mosquito net over the bed served to keep me awake just about the entire night.
       
      So the next day I was feeling a bit crabby and being the 29th day of an arduous 32 day road trip, all I wanted to do was get back home to my family and hometown. Photography wasn’t as high a priority for me as staying awake behind the wheel was to the next stop on our tour - a road trip of some 850km to the Waterberg mountains. After breakfast that morning we decided to spend some time at a place called the Living Museum Of The Mbunza where we would be introduced to a kind of tourist’s perspective of what village life was like for the indigenous people of the region prior to colonisation by Europeans.
       
      It was a strange little place. When we arrived there was nobody at the reception area, so we had to go and find somebody in the little village to explain that we wanted just a short tour of the museum because we had a long trip ahead of us and didn’t have time for the full 90 minute experience. Finding somebody, and then finding somebody who could speak English and understand what we were looking for was challenging in its own right, but eventually we paid the entrance fee and were ushered into the various parts of the village to see how the Mbunza lived.
       
      I’ll admit to not being a massive fan of these kinds of contrived ethnic experiences, but I did manage to get some images that I only got around to editing over a year after this safari ended! Photographically it was quite difficult because much of the village was either in shadow or harsh sunlight, so what I did with these images in Lightroom was drop the exposure by -0.67 to make the surroundings look a little less washed out, then I painted up the exposure on the villagers by a little more than that to get them to stand out a little from the darkened surroundings. I used the Adjustment Brush in Lightroom with Auto Mask switched on. I like the results. The camera was the Olympus E-M5 and the lens was the Panasonic 14-45mm kit lens.
       
      Click to enlarge.

       

       
      The Village Bard (something like Cacophonix in the Asterix comics)

      A carver. The people who run this village produce their own artworks that they sell in their curio shop.
       

      Basket weaver.
       

      A nut cracker.
       

      Ladies fishing on the banks of the Kavango River using traditional methods involving baskets.

      View full article
    • By Dallas
      Up on the border of Namibia and Angola on the Namibian side of the Kavango River lies the little town of Rundu. It’s not a particularly attractive looking town. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that if Namibia has an armpit, you may as well slap the label on Rundu. It’s dirty, run down and it doesn’t have a whole lot of visual appeal, in spite of the presence of a very majestic river.
       
      We found ourselves passing through this little town twice on the Namibian leg of our 2013 feature safari. Fortunately we didn’t stay too long on the drive through to Botswana, stopping only for a light lunch, but on the way back we spent the night at a lodge just outside the town. As far as lodges go it wasn’t a place I will look back at with much fondness because the guide accommodation was appalling to say the least. They had just painted the two guide rooms Pepe and I were assigned, so they stank of paint fumes quite badly. The furnishings for each guide room were literally comprised of a single bed and in my case I was lucky enough to also have a single chair, but no bathroom mirror and no towel in the shower either. The glamorous life of a tour leader sometimes isn’t so glamorous at all. It wouldn’t have been so bad had the room not been infested with mosquitoes too, which with the absence of a mosquito net over the bed served to keep me awake just about the entire night.
       
      So the next day I was feeling a bit crabby and being the 29th day of an arduous 32 day road trip, all I wanted to do was get back home to my family and hometown. Photography wasn’t as high a priority for me as staying awake behind the wheel was to the next stop on our tour - a road trip of some 850km to the Waterberg mountains. After breakfast that morning we decided to spend some time at a place called the Living Museum Of The Mbunza where we would be introduced to a kind of tourist’s perspective of what village life was like for the indigenous people of the region prior to colonisation by Europeans.
       
      It was a strange little place. When we arrived there was nobody at the reception area, so we had to go and find somebody in the little village to explain that we wanted just a short tour of the museum because we had a long trip ahead of us and didn’t have time for the full 90 minute experience. Finding somebody, and then finding somebody who could speak English and understand what we were looking for was challenging in its own right, but eventually we paid the entrance fee and were ushered into the various parts of the village to see how the Mbunza lived.
       
      I’ll admit to not being a massive fan of these kinds of contrived ethnic experiences, but I did manage to get some images that I only got around to editing over a year after this safari ended! Photographically it was quite difficult because much of the village was either in shadow or harsh sunlight, so what I did with these images in Lightroom was drop the exposure by -0.67 to make the surroundings look a little less washed out, then I painted up the exposure on the villagers by a little more than that to get them to stand out a little from the darkened surroundings. I used the Adjustment Brush in Lightroom with Auto Mask switched on. I like the results. The camera was the Olympus E-M5 and the lens was the Panasonic 14-45mm kit lens.
       
      Click to enlarge.

       

       
      The Village Bard (something like Cacophonix in the Asterix comics)

      A carver. The people who run this village produce their own artworks that they sell in their curio shop.
       

      Basket weaver.
       

      A nut cracker.
       

      Ladies fishing on the banks of the Kavango River using traditional methods involving baskets.
    • By Dallas
      I spent some time this afternoon transferring my stills from my laptop external drive to my desktop drive. Also decided to rework a few images in my main Lr catalog using the much bigger iMac screen. I think I have improved them with some adjustment brushes in Lr, but you can let me know what you think. 
       
      I'll write up an article about this year's trip as soon as I can. 
       

       

       

       

       
      Maxabeni got into a fight with some other leopard before we got there, hence the nasty gash on his face. He shall hemceforth be known as Scarface.  
       

       

       
      As mentioned in my previous post, an elephant died not far from our camp and every day was just a mass of activity. On one morning, with beautiful light, we caught the Southern Pride feasting on this enormous carcass. These are some of the cubs we saw as 6 week olds last year. They are growing up nicely. 
    • By Dallas
      I spent some time this afternoon transferring my stills from my laptop external drive to my desktop drive. Also decided to rework a few images in my main Lr catalog using the much bigger iMac screen. I think I have improved them with some adjustment brushes in Lr, but you can let me know what you think. 
       
      I'll write up an article about this year's trip as soon as I can. 
       

       

       

       

       
      Maxabeni got into a fight with some other leopard before we got there, hence the nasty gash on his face. He shall hemceforth be known as Scarface.  
       

       

       
      As mentioned in my previous post, an elephant died not far from our camp and every day was just a mass of activity. On one morning, with beautiful light, we caught the Southern Pride feasting on this enormous carcass. These are some of the cubs we saw as 6 week olds last year. They are growing up nicely. 
    • By Dallas
      After the first safari I hosted for Nikongear in 2009, I decided that road trips with a group of people were not the kind of adventures I found conducive to good photographic experiences. Getting everybody to convene at pre-determined times and stay together was like herding cats, an exercise in frustration. Also, we’d no sooner get into the groove of a place before we found ourselves on the move again, keeping up with an itinerary. All the packing and unpacking became quite a strain over the 2 weeks of that first trip and I’ll admit, it didn’t bring out the best of my personality.
       
      I wanted something more rewarding from a safari.
       
      I can’t recall exactly where I read about Sabi Sabi, but I’d heard of this private game reserve that was situated on the border of the Kruger National Park where the rangers and trackers used a variety of methods, including radio comms with other rangers to locate animals for their guests. Only after driving yourself around the KNP for long stretches of the day and seeing nothing can you appreciate the value of having specialists do that successfully for you.
       
      It wasn’t very difficult to make up my mind that a single week spent in a place like Sabi Sabi would be a much better proposition than 2 weeks of driving around national parks hoping to find good sightings, all the while competing for position with many other self-drive safari seekers. And so the Ultimate Big 5 Safari was born.
       
      The concept behind this now very popular safari is simple; we take over an entire camp for a whole week and let the experts do their thing as far as finding the animals goes. Over the 6 years since our first UB5 edition we’ve never been disappointed. We’ve seen cheetah chases twice, lions hunting and feasting, leopards making kills (and also losing kills to hyenas), giraffe males fighting, African wild dogs hunting successfully and numerous other incredible sightings.
       
      Unlike many “photo safari workshops” organised by others, we’re not selling education. People who join our UB5 safari are generally already familiar with basic photographic principles and all we do is put them in the right places at the right times to make amazing photos. That said, what we’ve found over the years is that many who join our groups usually have some techniques that they share with us (and of course us with them), be it a camera hack or even a cool way of post processing. We just go there to have fun and enjoy the company of other people with an interest in wildlife photography. These safaris are for fun-lovers, not disciples of any particular exponent of photography.
       
      As we get ready to enjoy edition #6 of the UB5 safari I thought I would share some memories of previous visits there. Click to enlarge the photos.
      UB5 #1
      This first trip was held towards the end of October in 2010 and it will forever stick in my mind for the two amazing rangers we had looking after us, namely Ranger Rich and Rika. I had more fun with the banter that we had going between the two vehicles than I did photographing the animals. Sadly they have both moved on from Sabi Sabi, but we still keep in touch on Facebook. Here they are pretending to be giraffes on one of our drinks breaks.
       

       
      The stand-out moment on that safari came on our very first drive. We may have been about 20 minutes in when we came across the cheetah (the first I have ever personally seen in the wild). Little did we know that a few minutes later the sleepy male would be up and stalking some impala before breaking into the chase, albeit unsuccessful. That was absolutely exhilarating to watch. Because it was so dark already I didn’t bother trying to photograph the actual chase - I just watched it and I am really glad I did. Some memories are better without blurry photos. After he had missed his dinner he stood on some burnt ground and I got this shot.
       

      UB5 #2
      The next time we got to enjoy Sabi Sabi was a couple of years later in 2012. This visit became all about lions, specifically the dynamics around the Southern Pride. I think we saw the pride almost every day we were there. One morning when Pepe and I were driving from our guide rooms at Bush Lodge to Little Bush Camp a whole bunch of them were sprawled out blocking our access road to the camp. Being as we were in a Hyundai H1 there wasn’t much we could do to go around them, so we just waited there until they decided to rouse themselves. I love lions. They are definitely my favourite creatures to observe and photograph in the wild. They don’t seem to care much about anything other than eating and loving.
       

       

      UB5 #3
      2013 was a smaller affair with only 6 guests joining us for an earlier than usual week at Sabi Sabi. The reason for this was because we had scheduled a month long safari from Cape Town through Namibia and Botswana for September, so the UB5 trip had to take place during the last of South Africa’s winter. I never thought it could get cold in the bush, but boy was I mistaken.
       
      The early mornings that August were pretty fresh. It’s not so bad while you’re standing still, but as soon as those open Land Rovers begin moving though the cold air it’s only the Bear Grylls sort who admits to not feeling a bit cold. Even one of our guests from Chicago (a city not known for their mild winters) had a few layers on. For a guy like me who lives in a sub-tropical climate this sort of thing is ridiculous, so I surrounded myself with as many hot water bottles as possible whenever we headed out.
       
      The highlight of this safari was coming across a white rhino one morning who had given birth to a calf just hours before we arrived. It was probably one of the most special sightings because there was also a hyena lurking, waiting perhaps for an opportunity to snag the little one. A short while afterwards a leopard we’d been following earlier also showed up, so we had a kind of stand-off happening as both the cat and the hyena sized up their opportunities.
       

      UB5 #4
      In 2014 there were a few changes in my approach to photography, not least of which was the move away from Nikon to Olympus and their mirrorless technology. I found that I was getting much faster and more accurate auto focus with the Olympus E-M1 than I had ever gotten with the Nikon D700. As a result I got more in focus shots than ever before. Also, I began shooting video on this safari and found that certain moments that I may have missed with stills I now have memorable video of, including that of the leopard and her cub losing their kill from its high position in a tree to a waiting hyena below. Watch this video - it's classic!
       

       
      There were also moments I recorded where a young leopard had killed a scrub hare and began playing with its dead lunch. It was almost as if he was trying to impress us with a re-enactment of his hunting skills!
       

      UB5 #5
      Last year saw another smaller group on the UB5 safari which we linked in with our Wild Waterways Safari in Botswana. However, in spite of the smaller numbers, the sightings we had were simply amazing. There were lion and leopard sightings, including leopards mating, which is something most people can only dream about seeing. Not only that but we came across a colony of dwarf mongooses living in an old termite mound. Usually these diminutive animals will scarper as soon as they see humans, but it was almost as if we had on an invisibility shield because they sat and posed around their home for us for what seemed like ages, giving us some very rare photo opportunities.
       

       
      In just a few weeks we’re off to do UB5 #6 and I can’t wait! Be sure to follow our adventures here and on the Photographers.travel social media pages.
       
      Bookings are open for UB5 #7 so if you think this is the kind of safari you'd like to experience please go check out the page. Spaces are getting taken quickly, so don't delay if you're serious about going as we will only offer one group safari to Sabi Sabi in 2017.

      View full article
  • Join Our Small Community

    Like what you see on Fotozones? Why not join up and make friends with like-minded photography enthusiasts from all across the planet. We are limiting our membership to no more than 2000 individuals, so if you are seeing this message there is still space available for you to join. We'd love to have you along. :)  

×

Important Information

By visiting this website you are agreeing to our Terms of Use, Privacy Policy & Guidelines.