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!

One thought on “The law of the waterhole”

  1. You missed a vital piece of advice
    Drive up very slowly to avoid disturbing what is already at the waterhole, other people may be about to experience a once in a lifetime sighting. Having blundered into a potential lion kill in the Kgalagadi and spooked the springbok I quickly learnt my lesson

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