Wildlife Photography in Kruger and Kagalagadi
We are trying to put together another wildlife photography adventure abroad. First, we are challenged by two big limitations – funds and language barriers. Our trip to South Africa in 2003 was ideal in terms of being able to travel in an English speaking country on our own without the expense of a guide. That attracts us to return there again. We have outstanding new photo equipment that would be thrilling to focus on the extremely diverse and plentiful wildlife that exists in Africa. It is the best wildlife continent on the planet.
However, we cannot hope to spend the time or money we did in the past when we traveled 7000 miles to photograph wildlife in so many national parks and reserves throughout South Africa. This presents us with another great dilemma – do we go for the gorgeous scenic Kagalagadi of the Kalahari Desert or Kruger National Park?
As an example of how this dilemma plays out, consider the leopards that occupy both habitats. Kagalagadi Transfrontier Park is an open reserve of lovely colored sand dunes and ancient river bottoms where wildlife congregates at watering holes during the dry season. The animals are free to roam unlimited miles and are able to avoid scarring brush and frequent competitors. They are outstanding specimens, but they are harder to locate. Subjects that do appear before us are more often found in the open in an aesthetic setting. (The leopard below was photographed in Kagalagadi.)
Kruger, on the other hand, is a huge national park (the size of Israel) that is mostly fenced. It has the densest populations of wildlife in South Africa and most likely the entire world. Encounters with predators are frequent. The thorny bushveld that characterizes much of the landscape is scarring, often unsightly, and it is difficult to photograph animals that are brushed up. (The next leopard was photographed in Kruger.)
As we consider revisiting Africa, we are reviewing volumes of slides and digital images taken during our previous adventure there. This discussion will continue. Through this process we will establish an African Gallery. It will offer an impressive number of species that only a trip to Africa could hope to produce.