Kgalagadi Photography Trip Report – July 2019

Kgalagadi Photography Trip Report – July 2019

Kgalagadi Photography Trip Report during a full 6 days in July 2019 doing a self drive. Myself, Caroline along with Sarsha and Jo Rinkovec had planned this trip in July 2018 and it was their first photographic safari to this incredible great thirstland.

The key to a successful adventure/holiday/safari is to ensure that take time to enjoy all the small things the Kalahari has to offer you and not only rush around for big cats and natgeo type sightings. At the moment the Kgalagadi is experiencing a real drought which has made the more elusive animals and predators more active and are seen in more of the areas accessible to visitors.

Day 1 – Twee Rivieren to Melkvlei (Return) and Twee Rivieren to Auchterlonie (Return)

Sightings:

  • Jackal with scraps of an old kill
  • Gabar goshawk with kill
  • Fighting springbok
  • Red mongoose
  • Honey badger on dunes scavenging alone
  • Honey badger foraging in a tree and then digging around the dune next to the road.
  • African wild cat – very large specimen
  • Leopard , young female named NONISA near melkvlei
  • Caracal hunting next to the road
  • Badger foraging along river bed
  • Pygmy Falcon on dune road
  • Gabar goshawk with small mole kill
  • Lanner falcon next to the road on a perfect perch
  • Meerkats
  • Pale chanting goshawk with small bird kill
  • General game throughout the day including Oryx, Wildebeest, Springbok, Steenbok, Ostrich and many many ground squirrels

My personal image of the day

Canon 7D MK II |200mm – 400mm F4 at 200mm| F7.1 | 1/1000 | ISO 400

I chose this image to show how well this leopard blends into the natural environment and can easily be missed even out in the open. I also chose 200mm focal length to show enthusiast that one does not need a huge zoom lens to capture great images of animals.

Day 2 – Twee Rivieren to Leeudrill 4×4 Trail to Mata Mata and Twee Rivieren to Auchterlonie (Return)

Sightings:

  • Eland bull grazing in the dunes
  • 2 Honey badgers foraging with 2 pale chanting goshawks in attendance looking for scraps
  • Family of 2 stipe field mice sunning themselves
  • Ostrich on the dune ridge
  • Jackal buzzard perched up on a dune tree shrub
  • Oryx high up on the dune ridge
  • Brown morph Tawny eagle taking off
  • Large colony of meerkats foraging all along dune ridge and next to road
  • Crimson breasted shrike perched
  • Mata mata camp ground squirrels and meerkats
  • Hide photography at night with a number of jackals
  • General game throughout the day including Oryx, Wildebeest, Springbok, Steenbok, Ostrich and many many ground squirrels.

My personal image of the day

Canon 7D MK II |200mm – 400mm F4 at 250mm| F4| 1/13 | ISO 6400

The hide at Mata Mata always has some type of activity and one must think a little outside the box to expand your photography techniques. Here one can practice panning from a comfortable and relax position inside the hide. Remember to adjust your white balance to exclude the warm tone of the spotlight.

Day 3 – Mata Mata to Rooibrak (Return)

Sightings:

  • Large herd of springbok in early morning light digging for roots
  • 5 Ostriches engaged in pre mating behavior
  • Tawny eagle on dead tree with fresh bird kill plucking feathers
  • Kori bustard on dunes displaying to a mate
  • Kalahari scrub robin displaying
  • Crimson breasted shrike displaying
  • Lanner falcon hunting
  • Large herd of giraffe mixed with springbok
  • Oryx in teritorial match up with chasing and mock fighting
  • Two different Cape Foxe sightings (One was a pair)
  • Mating lion pair
  • Spotted Eagle owl pair
  • Young honey badger at midday drinking and rolling in the wet soil at a waterhole overflow
  • General game throughout the day including Oryx, Wildebeest, Springbok, Steenbok, Ostrich and many many ground squirrels.

My personal image of the day

Canon 7D MK II |200mm – 400mm F4 at 560mm| F8| 1/1250 | ISO 400

The Kalahari is an incredibly harsh place to survive. You always hear of an image must convey a story but many photographers create fantastic emotional stories after the fact but one needs to look at the image and take it for what it is. Here you can see the effect the harsh Kalahari has had on this young honey badger. It leaves one wondering if it will survive the terrible drought with such a terrible physical condition.

Day 4 – Mata Mata to Rooibrak (Return)

Sightings:

  • Male Oryx back lit with an incredible sunrise
  • Large herd of springbok in early morning light digging for roots
  • African wildcat moving from tree to tree
  • Cape fox sunning himself
  • Flock of Sandgrouse
  • Large male African Wildcat perched high in a camelthorn
  • Red mongoose foraging
  • Wildebeest fighting
  • A cape fox pair close up warming in the cold wind
  • African wildcat sleeping in a camelthorn
  • Spotted Eagle owl pair
  • General game throughout the day including Oryx, Wildebeest, Springbok, Steenbok, Ostrich and many many ground squirrels.
  • The afternoon we spent the time in the Mata Mata camp photographing the meerkat family and interaction with ground squirrels

My personal image of the day

Canon 7D MK II |200mm – 400mm F4 at 400 mm| F4| 1/1250 | ISO 640

Sometimes one must just enjoy the moment and have a good laugh. It’s not everywhere you can get so close to wild meerkats going about their business

Day 5 – Mata Mata to Twee Rivieren via top dune road

Sightings:

  • Large herd of springbok in early morning light digging for roots
  • Gabar goshawk bathing in early morning in a waterhole
  • African wildcat out crossing the riverbed
  • Cape fox in the sun warming up
  • Red hartebeest herd
  • Swallow tailed bee-eater
  • Crow scavenging
  • 2 pale chanting goshawk sharing a meal of a small bird
  • Black headed heron in the dunes near a waterhole
  • Leopard tortoise
  • Kori Bustard
  • Oryx sparing
  • Pale morph Tawny Eagle in flight
  • Large number of Vultures circling and roosting in the dunes
  • Jackals on a leftover Lion kill
  • 2 Big black maned lions in the shade high on a dune ridge
  • Eland in the shade north of Melkvlei
  • Juvenile bateleur waiting for a meal from his parents which were circling
  • Caracal near Kij Kij – An hour long sighting while moving in and out dundergroth hunting
  • Cheetah high on a dune at sunset
  • 2 Honey badgers drinking at Leeudril
  • General game throughout the day including Oryx, Wildebeest, Springbok, Steenbok, Ostrich and many many ground squirrels.

My personal image of the day

Canon 7D MK II |200mm – 400mm F4 at 560mm| F 6.3| 1/6400 | ISO 800

One of the more elusive Kalahari predators that has become more visible during the harsh drought. We spent and hour with this male after he had had a drink at Kij Kij and then moved around along the calcrete ridge and undergrowth. He was watching springbok and had a short altercation with a ackal. I love this image as it shows a more environmental aspect of how these predators need to hunt and search high and low during times of drought

Day 6 – Twee Rivieren to Melkvlei (Return)

Sightings:

  • Southern White Faced Scops Owl
  • Honey badger stripping bark off a dead tree for food with Pale Chanting goshawk in attendance
  • 3 Oryx antelope mulling around the remains of a Oryx kill
  • Huge herd of Red hartebeest 30 plus antelope drinking at Leedril
  • Caracal patrolling the dunes and then crossing the riverbed in front of our vehicle
  • Pair of Secretary birds foraging
  • Magical wildebeest and Oryx silhouetted against the sunset
  • Jackal fighting at Rooiputs
  • General game throughout the day including Oryx, Wildebeest, Springbok, Steenbok, Ostrich and many many ground squirrels.

My personal image of the day

Kgalagadi Photography Trip Report - July 2019
Canon 7D MK II |200mm – 400mm F4 at 560mm| F 8| 1/8000 | ISO 400

The end of another epic day with a beautiful Oryx high on a dune. This is pure Kgalagadi magic. A special place to enjoy and easy to fall in love with.

Thank you for taking the time to read and enjoy the short brief of our major photographic sightings during a short full 6 days of Kalahari magic.

Join me in 2020 for 6 days (click) or 10 days (Click)

Keep chasing the light – Andrew

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African Photographic Safaris | African Wildlife Guide | Andrew Aveley
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2 thoughts on “Kgalagadi Photography Trip Report – July 2019

  1. Stunning pics Andrew!!
    Hope we will be as spoiled you were, I really need a Caracas picture cape foxes etc
    Still just about a month to wait
    Sincerely
    Mp

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