Getting ready for your next Kgalagadi safari? The new eBook The Photographer’s Guide to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park will help you make the most of your next photo safari. By Romi Boom, pictures courtesy of Jenny and Mario Fazekas
For a self-drive photo safari, it is hard to imagine a more useful tool than The Photographer’s Guide to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, a new eBook by Mario and Jenny Fazekas. It seems as if the authors have covered every square inch of the park. Fifteen years of annual visits have enabled them not only to compile the nitty gritty, but also to take gorgeous images which serve as inspiration to get that shot yourself.
This eBook is an indispensible tool for swotting up beforehand and consulting once you are in the park. The 450km of dry riverbed in the park is divided into three sections: south, central and north, to facilitate navigation on screen if you choose not to print hard copy.
The text describes all 41 active waterholes in great detail, and simple maps show the layout of each so that you have an idea of what to expect. It even tells you where to park your vehicle to optimise early morning and late afternoon light – as a wildlife photographer, you should be light or situation driven, not subject driven. The distance from the vehicle to the waterhole is also given. For each waterhole the key species (predators, herbivores and birds) are provided, together with handy tips about where to look for them. The waterholes that have sweet water are listed; these attract a wider variety of animals, although this is no guarantee of good sightings.
Where appropriate, interesting background information is shared. I learnt for example that one of the highlights of Craig Lockhart waterhole is the giraffe, because this is where they were kept when they were reintroduced to the Kalahari. “They were housed in an enclosure for some time before they released them, so the giraffe tend to hang out around this area between Mata Mata and Urikaruus. A large tree provides great shade if you want to sit and wait.” Shortly after reading this, six giraffe put in an appearance, right on cue, and then three more came strolling down the riverbed.
Apart from being utterly useful, whether you are an amateur or a professional photographer, the book is entertaining, mainly because of Mario and Jenny’s anecdotes about their own experiences.
Writing about Dertiende boorgat, Veertiende boorgat and Dalkeith, they recount one episode:
“We had travelled about one kilometer when we saw four wildebeest carcasses on the dune with a pride of lions feasting on them! When this male [shown with a bloody mane] saw us, he put out his paw on the carcass as if to say ‘it’s mine’ and then he proceeded to drag it up the dune and under a tree, about 30 meters away from us. It was mid-morning but overcast so the light was still OK for decent photographs. We now do a circle around all three of these waterholes just in case there are more of these unexpected surprises waiting for us!”
Descriptions of the waterholes are interspersed with 17 photographic lessons. There is background on the different seasons, the leopards of the Kgalagadi, flowers, animals that visit you at your accommodation, and photographic gear for day and night shots.
The Photographers Guide to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park costs US$27.80 and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.