site zip: AF ZA 0081 | neighborhood: Parks and Reserves: Kruger, Kgalagadi, Pilanesberg, Etosha | region: South Africa, Namibia, More>>

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Promoting knowledge and understanding about Africa's last wilderness areas through images and our experiences.



A travel site recently published a list of the 10 Most Incredible Things to Do Before You Die and one of them was to 'Take an African Safari'.

Yes, an African safari is incredible - seeing majestic and dangerous wildlife up close in their natural habitat is hard to beat.

Lions at Waterhole, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Lions at Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa

Add beautiful landscapes and barbeques under the stars with a backdrop of nocturnal animal calls, makes for an unforgettable experience!

Baobabs at Sunrise, Kruger Park

Baobab Sunrise at Kruger National Park, South Africa

If you are fortunate enough to be able to do an African safari you will, however, be faced with 3 main choices:

  1. Guided Safari or Self Drive Safari?
  2. East Africa or Southern Africa?
  3. When to Visit

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Safari Choices

Guided Safari or Self-Drive Safari?

You can go on guided safaris in most African countries but self-drive is best done in Southern Africa, particularly in South Africa and Namibia. If you are on a budget then self-drive is best. Please keep in mind that self-drive isn't second-rate or second-best; we have been on over 100 guided and self-drive safaris and we choose to do only self-drive safaris. Guided safaris have been likened to being in a zoo without the cages because the ranger will ask you what animal you would like to see and then take you to the animal as they track the big-five animals on a daily basis. This suits some people who just want to take a few photographs and then go home but for many other visitors they want the thrill of anticipation, which self-drive provides.

Rhino Mother and Baby, Kruger National Park

Black Rhino Mother and Baby, Kruger National Park, South Africa

Buffalo, Kruger Park

Buffalo Stare, Kruger National Park

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East Africa or Southern Africa?

Gort Namutoni, Etosha National Park

Fort Namutoni, Etosha National Park, Namibia

Zebra drinking at a waterhole in Etosha National Park

Zebras drinking at Okaukuejo Waterhole, Etosha NP

Lions and Hot Air Balloon, Pilanesber

Lions and Hot Air Balloon at Pilanesberg Game Reserve, South Africa

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When to Visit?

Summers in Africa can be unbearably hot, with mosquitoes and the grass can be very high. Winters tend to be the best time for game viewing as the grass is short and most water has dried up in the bush thereby driving predators and prey to the few remaining waterholes.

Cheetah cub drinking at a waterhole

Cheetah Cub Drinking at Urikaruus Waterhole, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Giraffe at waterhole

Giraffe Watching Black-backed Jackal at Okaukuejo Waterhole, Etosha National Park

Each park, however, has its special time depending on what you want to photograph but generally birding is best in summer, wildlife is best in winter, landscapes are best in summer and autumn/fall (great cloud formations and lightning storms), and macro photography is best all through spring, summer and autumn.

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Serengeti (Tanzania, East Africa) or Kruger (South Africa)?

 Most people who come on an African Safari do so for three primary reasons:

In the Spring 2011 edition of Travel Africa magazine, Africa’s two most iconic safari destinations, Serengeti in Tanzania (East Africa) and Kruger National Park in South Africa, were compared to see which one is 'the best'.

Eight criteria were used to compare the two parks, each of which reflects a likely priority of a person planning an African safari.

8 points of comparison

When comparing six criteria; 1) Variety of Wildlife, 2) Big five encounters, 3) Profusion of wildlife, 4) Birdlife, 5) Scenery, and 6) Crowd Control, the two parks were pretty much equal with the Serengeti just slightly ahead of the Kruger. When it came to the last two criteria however, namely 7) Independent Travel and 8) Affordability, the Kruger scored a 5 out of 5 for each while the Serengeti scored just 1 out of 5 for each. These are the two criteria that tend to be most important to the majority of travelers, who are budget conscious and want freedom and privacy while on safari.

If you are wealthy or pressed for time then no problem - the East African parks and guided safaris at the private luxury lodges are for you. Most visitors are, however looking for budget accommodation that is clean and comfortable in an environment that provides good game viewing. This is where the Kruger, Kgalagadi and Pilanesberg in South Africa and Etosha in Namibia deliver! They all provide a wilderness experience where you get to see and photograph the big-five plus other unusual animals and beautiful landscapes, with freedom to come and go as you please - all at a reasonable price.  

We stay in affordable bungalows or tents that have en-suite bathrooms, air conditioners, kitchens and bedding (changed every day), so there is no sacrificing of the necessities when doing a self-drive safari while staying in park bungalows.

You also cannot beat the thrill of finding animals by yourself - the anticipation, excitement and daily freedom to make your own choices are what keep drawing us back year after year.

Elephant and rhino photographed at Etosha National Park

Elephant and Rhino at Waterholes in Etosha National Park, Namibia

So by now you have decided on whether to do a guided or self-drive safari, you would have decided on the country as well as which park/s and the time of year.

Your dream is to have a wonderful safari and return home with splendid photographs. For many people their safari is wonderful but they either don't get to see their favorite animals or they return home with photographs that leave much to be desired.

Your safari could be a once-in-a-lifetime event so it's important to ensure that you do find the animals you are looking for and that you get good photographs and this is where we can help you.

Kruger Leopards

Leopard Sightings, Kruger National Park, South Africa

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My wife and I have been visiting African national parks since 1995 and during that time we have  been on more than 100 African Safaris, 95% of them self-drive, and have spent more than 650 days and nights in the African wilderness.

We have been shooting with Nikon photo gear since 1997 and we have been Nikon Professional Service members since 2008.

Many of our photographs have been published and have won in photo contests.

We started to share our passion and knowledge with YOU.

Our website has three main sections:

African Wild Dog

African Wild Dog (endangered), Pilanesberg Game Reserve, South Africa

Bushman Poison Bulb, Kgalagadi

Bushman Poison Bulb, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Gecko Catches Dragon Fly

Gecko Kill at Kieliekrankie Wilderness Camp, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Pale Chanting Goshauk at Kruger Park

Pale Chanting Goshawk in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

And then to inspire you we have published some of our photo safari trip reports and Interviews with Professional Wildlife and Nature Photographers containing some of their best photographs as well as their photo tips!

Even though winter is the best time for game viewing some travelers can only come on a safari during the summer months and many 'experts' will tell you that it is highly unlikely that you will see the big-five animals in the Kruger during the summer. Well we have seen and photographed not just the big-five but the super-seven (big-five plus cheetah and wild dogs) nearly every December, when it is very hot and the bush very thick, because we have implemented a strategy that works for us in the national parks... and that is what we share with you in the pages of Kruger-2-Kalahari.

If you follow our photo safari advice you should enjoy your safari and return home with photographs that you are proud of!

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Gemsbok photographed at Etosha National Park

All the photographs on this page were made while on self-drive safaris, either from our vehicle or from within the rest camps.

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Link to Kruger 2 Kalahari Website
Everything you need to know, from Wildlife Photography techniques to the best Southern African safari destinations of Kruger Park, Kgalagadi, Pilanesberg & Etosha.

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Guide to 4 Southern African
Parks and Game Reserves

Kruger National Park
A photo guide to accommodation, how to book at the Park’s many Camps and detailed information on activities.
Pilanesberg Game Reserve
Another of South Africa's Big Five reserves. Guide to accommodation in lodges, camps, self-drive access.
Etosha National Park
A Photo Guide to Namibia’s Etosha National Park - accommodation choices, camp restaurants and nature photography.
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
The Park spans the arid Kalahari region between South Africa's Northern Cape Province and Botswana. Guide to accommodation choices, photography, park and safety tips.

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