The law of the waterhole

If you want to enjoy your game viewing, and especially game photography, the one thing that you need, is patience. And lots of it…

There are a few more things that you have to keep in mind when you visit the waterhole.

Be choosy

To hurry from waterhole to waterhole is not a good idea. Rather choose one or two spots and be prepared to spend time at each one. Take enough food and water, and maybe even something to read, as well as entertainment for the children. Then settle down and enjoy the ambiance of the bush while you stay alert for animal movement.

Delight in the small

Expect the small and be surprised by the large! Prepare yourself for some bird watching and keep a look out for the small animals. If the big icons of the bush arrive, it will be an added bonus.

It is interesting to watch bird behavior at a waterhole.
It is interesting to watch bird behavior at a waterhole.
The Black heron has perfected the art of canopy feeding.
The Black heron has perfected the art of canopy feeding.

Be well-informed

Take with you books or apps featuring birds, animals and trees. Guide books on the specific park can usually be bought at reception or the curio shop, and these will also enrich your experience tremendously. You even get apps where you can follow and share the latest sightings, if you have an internet connection. If you are not technologically inclined, however, you can still stay up to date by checking the animal sighting display boards at reception, which most parks have to keep visitors informed.

Be considerate

When you arrive at a waterhole and other people are there before you, don’t push into their line of sight. If you can’t see from your position, you’ll have to wait your turn. Once again, be patient, switch off your engine and be quiet. DON’T play loud music or have loud conversations. Keep your kids under control! Unusual and loud noises will scare the animals away and annoy others.

Be careful

In many parks you are not allowed to get out of your vehicle and even where this is allowed, you should be sensible before doing so. Wait, be quiet and observe your environment before exiting. Lion can easily hide in the bush, waiting for prey. Always be extremely cautious of crocodiles. They are masters of deception, are lightning fast (that is after all the key to their survival) and if you go close to the water you can easily fall victim.

Be prepared

Equip your camera with a mounting for the window (a bean bag also works well) and position your vehicle so that you can take photos without obstructing other vehicles or having to move your vehicle.

Do not litter

Finally, and it almost seem ridiculous to mention, but don’t litter!

Detour via Nieu-Bethesda to the seaside

For most South Africans the Christmas holiday season means long, lazy days next to the sea… braaivleis and fun times with family and friends. If you are one of the people who annually migrate down to the coast from upcountry, make your road trip an equally important part of your holiday.

Explore the beautiful back roads and interesting little towns rather than speed down the N1 highway. Make this an opportunity to get to special out-of-the-way places like Nieu-Bethesda which is a good overnight stop between Johannesburg and the Southern or Western Cape. Continue reading Detour via Nieu-Bethesda to the seaside

How a little knowledge can help you survive

Modern overlanders travel well-equipped with maps, instruments, water tanks, etc, but just imagine your vehicle in the middle of the Kalahari, Kaokoland or Richtersveld where you sometimes don’t see other people for days. Then, whilst you may or may not know where you are, having a little knowledge about the signs of nature can make the difference between surviving or not.

bots-map-met-kolligThe San people, the oldest inhabitants of Southern Africa, knew how to survive in the veld; a skill which modern humans have lost. They knew how to read the weather, where to find water, what plants were safe to eat, how to hunt and also how to find their way home. They learned to read nature’s signs because their survival depended on it. Continue reading How a little knowledge can help you survive

Travel Africa informed