TAKE OFF

African Fish Eagle taking off after a bath and a drink

Lake Panic, Kruger National Park

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Kruger National Park – From South to North and back …

I am sure that many of you have heard of the famous Kruger National Park (KNP) in the North-Eastern part of South Africa. This large nature reserve is about the same size as the country of Israel and measures approximately 360km (220miles) from North to South.

Since my first time in South Africa almost 20 years ago I always wanted to explore KNP all the way up North. But during all my visits over the years I always ‘got stuck’ in the South exploring its game rich areas and spending a lot of time at my favourite hide at Lake Panic.

A few weeks ago I decided that it was time to get the job done properly, drive up all the way North, and experience the various ecological zones with its varying fauna and flora.

I reserved 10 days for this trip, booked accommodation in various rest camps, packed all my photographic gear, signed off from social media and the internet and started my KNP adventure.

Because of recent heavy rainfalls and subsequent floods I had to travel mainly on the tar-roads (H-roads in KNP terms). But I was compensated, with incredible vistas of overflowing rivers which are usually dry, with waterfalls at places where usually a little creek winds its way down a hillside, and with lush green grassland areas instead of yellow/brown savannas.

I experienced the many changing landscapes from the open areas in the centre of the reserve to the Mopani forests in the Northern part. The North is a great place for tree lovers with its many species including my favourite tree, the Baobab.

I am planning to come back to do the same trip in Winter (June/July) to experience the differences in the various areas and drive more of the dirt roads.

Over the next few weeks I will share with you some of the pictures which I took while exploring this beautiful part of South Africa.

If you have any questions about the trip please post them as comments or send me an email to info@sperka.com.

I hope you will enjoy them!

PS: I am now back home on Thanda Safari (www.thanda.com) and back on social media, instant messaging, email and the Internet. But I very much enjoyed my two weeks of using my iPhones and my iPad only as cameras and audio book players. It was very relaxing!

#ChristianSperkaPhotography #ChristianSperka #Kruger #KrugerNationalPark #KrugerSouthToNorth #KrugerNorth #KrugerSouthAfrica #ExploreKruger

Some trip information in case your are interested:

  • Total distance travelled = 3,333km (from Thanda and back, driven in my own Toyota Fortuner)
  • Total time spent in the park = 208 hours ~ 8.6 days
  • Daily morning start time: 4:45am (Rest camps’ gates open at 5:30am at this time of the year)
  • Overnight rest camps used = Skukuza, Satara, Mopani, Punta Maria, Olifants, Pretoriuskop
  • Entry gate used = Kruger Gate
  • Exit gate used = Numbi Gate
  • Rest camps visited during the day = Lower Sabie, Letaba, Shingwezi, Orpen
  • Furthest point North = Pafuri Gate
  • Furthest point South = Lower Sabie Bridge
  • Favourite rest camp location = Letaba Rest Camp
  • Favourite restaurant in the park = Kruger Station, Skukuza Rest Camp
  • Most productive major road = H-10 between Lower Sabie and Tshokwane
  • Most productive dirt road = S143 (Tropic of Capricorn) with the Tihongonyeni waterhole
  • Favourite hide = Lake Panic Hide near Skukuza Rest Camp
  • Favourite outlook point = Nkumbe outlook on the H-10
  • Game drives with local guides in an open safari vehicles = 2 hour night drive at Mopani Rest Camp, 3 hour evening drive at Punda Maria Rest Camp, 2 hour night drive at Olifants Rest Camp
  • Favourite tree = Baobab
  • Favourite bird sighting = Grey-hooded Kingfisher at Lake Panic
  • Favourite mammal sighting = Lion interaction on the S-50 road South of Mopani Rest Camp
  • Favourite reptile sighting = Two fighting Crocodiles at the low bridge at the Shipandani hide
  • Favourite sunrise location = Low-bridge over the Olifants river
  • Life-list bird sightings = Grey-headed Kingfisher, Yellow-crowned Bishop, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Rock Kestrel, Square-tailed Nightjar, Montagu‘s Harrier
  • First time mammals = Roan Antelope, Southern African Springhare (Krugeroo)
  • Total number mammal species identified: 31
  • Total number bird species identified: 112
  • Camera equipment used = 2 x Canon EOS 1D Mark IV, 1 x Canon EOS 6D Mark II, Canon L-Lenses: f4/500mm, f2.8/300mm, f4-5.6/70-300mm, f2.8/24-70mm, f4/17-40mm, 1.4x Converter, Manfrotto Tripod, iPhone Xs MAX

And these are few ‘trip photos‘:

Trip map …
My ‘work place’ …
Having a rest …
My trip mascot (Ground Hornbill) …
Lunch view – Letaba River …
Crossings the Tropic of Capricorn …
Having a drink at Red Rocks …
Turn around …
Flooded bridges (this one over the Olifants River) …
A common sighting ..
At Lake Panic hide (still my favorite place in KNP) …
Olifants river at sunset …
Green KNP …
Human made waterholes …
Very close …
Water everywhere (this is a picture of the banks of the Sabie river) …
A Woolies’ lunch on the Sabie river …
Very relaxed …
Wet morning drives …
I love hides …
Many beautiful sunrises …

GROUNDED!

This Lapped-faced Vulture was grounded in today’s heavy rains, which gave me a chance to get a close-up portrait! … and it is still raining at Thanda …

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Zebra Crossing

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Small and Cute

Baby animal season at Thanda – Have a good week 😊

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What an experience!

Following a Cheetah mum and her cub on her hunt …

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Dung, beautiful dung!

That is what this beetle thought when he found some fresh droppings and started forming them into a large ball 😊

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