Planning a Kruger trip? A new guide by pro photographers holds the key to good pictures. Learn from the folks who spent 517 days in the park and make your photos sing. By Romi Boom

If you’re on holiday in the Kruger National Park, you surely want to relax. But some homework will infinitely improve your sightings opportunities and the images you capture. It’s all about attention to detail, more detail, and more detail, say the authors of The Photographer’s Guide to the Kruger National Park.

Picture by Mario Fazekas

This comprehensive 764-page ebook has taken seven years to compile. Based on lessons gained in the Kruger Park over the past 20 years, the authors’ experience will help enormously with your own planning. The take home message from Mario and Jenny Fazekas and co-author Trevor Barnett is that you should know what to expect, what to anticipate, and what to do when the big moment arrives.

The whole idea of the book (which reads like an all-encompassing trip report) is to enable you to make the best use of your limited time when visiting the Kruger National Park and surrounding areas. The goal is to not only find the animals, but be able to capture good photographs of them as well. It is essential reading before you make your reservations, and even more so when you are in the park, before you set out on your daily game drive.

Picture by Mario Fazekas

Suggested drives and viewpoints

Since most people approach Kruger from the south, the book starts there and systematically covers the entire park. The focus is on the camps/lodges, bridges, waterholes and routes that have enabled the authors to get their best nature photographs year after year. All the game reserves, hotels and B&Bs outside the park, which form the Greater Kruger National Park, are included.

For each area they provide suggested drives, with maps showing you what to expect around the next turn, not quite kilometre by kilometre but judging from the attention to specifics, it may well have been! They have even marked secret/hidden viewpoints that they know about on the maps, with the caution that you shouldn’t drive too fast otherwise you’ll drive right past them.

Suggested drives around the Skukuza area

Photo tips from the pros

Each section features photographic lessons and tips that will help improve your chances of getting the money shot. Although everyone knows that patience is key to good wildlife photos, few people use it. Who hasn’t come across a leopard and, as the car numbers build up, watched it get edgy and disappear into the bush? Most people then leave. Top tip: If you stick around, chances are that the leopard will return. Stick around, sip your coffee and, with a little luck, it may reappear in the next 15 minutes or so.

Another trick of the trade is not to keep moving your car, edging closer to where you last saw something under a bush. Sit it out and cross your fingers, for the animal may well get up and approach the road. This will give you the opportunity to take good, clear photos, not average ones. Plan ahead and picture in your mind what you want. And don’t forget to take everything your may need: spare batteries, memory cards, snacks and drinks.

Picture by Trevor Barnett

The informative text is interspersed with anecdotes of the authors’ many adventures, which make for amazing reading. You’d be hard pressed to find a better teaser for your next visit. And if it’s leopards you’re chasing, don’t simply envy them their extraordinarily good luck – a consistent average of 1.2 leopard sightings per day in the north and south of Kruger is not shabby! Read how to find the spotted cats and then do as they do.

Pictures courtesy of Jenny Fazekas

Get the guide

The Photographer’s Guide to the Greater Kruger National Park is the fourth ebook by Mario and Jenny. For US$27.00, less than the cost of one night’s camping in Kruger, they share 764 pages of tips, tricks and techniques.

Wild fans can purchase the guide at 30% discount until the end of July 2019. The promo code is the word K2K.

The Photographer’s Guide to the Kruger National Park by Mario & Jenny Fazekas, Trevor Barnett. US$27 (approx. R400). Available from www.kruger-2-kalahari.com.