Category Archives: Zimanga Photo Safari

Zimanga Photo Safari: Another Very Full 24 Hours with Great Photographic Success …

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Brendon Reports from the Zimanga Photo Safari:

We started the morning with another fabulous game drive. We found a pack of Wild Dogs almost immediately and as the early golden light bathed everything in that special warm glow we were able to capture dozens of fabulous photographs. We followed the dogs for quite some time me time until they headed into a gully where we could no longer follow.

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3 Zimanga Brendon Wild Dogs2987

We stopped for a welcome coffee break after which we photographed a herd of elephants followed by rhinos. There are herds of buffalo dotted around the area, so we collected plenty of shots of them in groups or singly.

We tried to find lions again, but they were nowhere to be seen this morning. However, we did find a female cheetah. She posed for us as she peered around, scrutinising the area for any possible prey nearby. She looked rather skinny, so we realised that she would definitely hunt seriously quite soon.

The guests who visited the different hides also came away with lovely images of some of the different species that abound here. Weavers, Quelea, Waxbills, Fire-finches, Brown-hooded Kingfisher to mention a few of the smaller birds. The Vulture Hide was extra active again and a Black-backed Jackal arrived again to harass the birds.

The group that went on the afternoon game drive found the two male lions that we had hoped to see in the morning. They were in the open and everyone on the drive was able to fill their cameras with great photographs of the two. Soon after they found the female cheetah that we had spotted in the morning and sure enough! She had a fresh impala kill. She had hunted during the course of the day and had a good meal.

In the afternoon we went to the Overnight Hide that was as busy as can be again. There was so much action! Buffalo arrived in their hundreds throughout the afternoon and right through the night.

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Rhinos arrived in between the buffalos which meant that we had very little time with nothing to photograph.

Everyone is delighted with today’s results again, and we are looking forward to our final full day here tomorrow, when we plan to make the absolute most of our time …

Zimanga Photo Safari: Lionesses Hunt a Buffalo …

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Hendri Reports News from the Zimanga Photo Safari:

The weather was glorious when we woke up and we set out in our different groups in beautiful, early golden light. Just the type of morning one dreams about when back in the city.

During the night those at the Overnight Hide again had plenty of buffalo and rhino visitors while warthogs accompanied by oxpeckers arrived just in time to be photographed as the dawn colours lit up the sky.

The Scavenger Hide was a real winner today.

The attendant vultures included plenty of White-backed and a few Lappet-faced Vultures while the odd Hooded Vulture could also be spotted from time to time. Then a Spotted Hyena arrived and immediately sent the vultures scattering and flitting in all directions – but not for long.

As always the Birdbath Hide proved to be very productive with numerous species stopping to bathe or for a welcome drink. Suddenly all the birds flew away. Why … ahhhh, fabulous! A Banded Mongoose family arrived to enjoy the water.

On our terrific game drive we found a lioness with her three little Cubs aged about four months. They were too cute as they played their kittenish games. They stalked each other, tumbled on and over each other and enjoyed a lively game of see who can catch mommy’s tail!

Then the lionesses spied a lone buffalo and immediately went into hunting mode. Here we go, we thought, and watched with bated breath as the started to close in on their unaware prey. Unaware? No! The buffalo wily spotted his stalkers and dashed away at full speed.

A pack of Wild Dogs ran along a wide open plain and we followed them for a while, taking photographs as they ran, stopped, looked around and ran again. When they gave up we returned to the Lodge for a late breakfast.

This afternoon a thick bank of clouds rolled in and the rain started. A few hardy photographers decided to try the Lagoon Hide but it was very gloomy there with very poor light and few visitors.

But another night in the Overnight Hide was very successful again … by now we really expect the nocturnal visits from buffalos and rhinos and different buck, and for us it was rounded off in the early morning when a herd of elephants arrived to drink and splash …

Our cameras are full and we are all delighted with our images as we look forward to clear weather for our final precious hours at Zimanga …

Zimanga Photo Safari: All Night Visitors at the Overnight Hide

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Hendri’s News from the Zimanga Photo Safari:(Unmarked images from back of Brendon’s Camera)

Spending the night at an Overnight Hide in the bush is one of those indescribable experiences. There is such a special aura and hush as different animals and birds appear out of the mysterious night to drink water at the dam overlooked by the Hide. It is quite magical …

We had a very busy night in the Hide, but let us start with our morning activities that started with clearer skies and plenty of sunshine. Fabulous. Our photography was back on track.

We split up to visit the different hides again, with the Vulture Hide being ultra successful with fifty plus vultures visible at any one time. There was some fabulous interaction between the vultures and Black-backed Jackals with each species trying to dominate the other, but with neither really gaining the upper hand.

I joined a game drive with some of our safari guests. We searched for lions and found two lionesses with thee cubs very busy with a Nyala kill. Although they were behind some bushes we were able to position ourselves to watch the action without too much obstruction in the way. We were delighted when the cubs started a game when they managed to grab the tail of the Nyala. They tugged it in all directions, pounced on it, growled menacingly at it, and simply had a fun time with their prize. The action and interaction gave us plenty to photograph.

In the afternoon one group enjoyed a game drive and found a pack of Wild Dogs at a kill. The setting sun provided a beautiful backdrop for everyone to capture wide angle shots.

At the Lagoon Hide the Fish Eagle was very busy. He flew back and forth, back and forth, and concentrated on the still water hoping to see and catch some fish. The flight shots turned out well as the bird was so busy that he gave everyone a chance to get it right.

At the Overnight Hide we were busy all night long. It was hectic! There were just so many visitors. Buffalos seemed to arrive all the time, with few breaks between one herd and the next. We also photographed Oxpeckers, Kudus, and plenty of other visitors.

As I said, an Overnight Hide experience is something really special for any nature lover and wildlife photographer.

Tomorrow we are expecting clear weather again and we are looking forward to plenty more sightings at this wonderful reserve …

Zimanga Photo Safari: New Photographic Techniques with Stupendous Results …

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Brendon Reports News from from the Zimanga Photo Safari:

We left the Hide early this morning. As expected the morning started gloomy and overcast and it remained drizzly and dull for the entire day. (No complaints … we need the rain!) But being keen photographers we were out there, ready for anything the day would present to us.

While in the Overnight Hide we had some really fabulous animal visitors to the water. A bunch of rhinos appeared at one time, and we were able to do some multiple exposures that turned out well. The dark clouds in the background overlaid in the camera with buffalo in the foreground are particularly impactful.

It was a really great learning experience for many of the guests who have not tried this type of photography before. It was enjoyed by all, and as they mastered the techniques you could see the smiles widening.

The groups split up again today to visit the Bird Bath Hide and the Vulture Hide. There were many Red-billed Quelea at the Bird Bath Hide. Elephant bulls and later a mongoose family arrived to drink. At the Vulture Hide crows, a Woolly-necked Stork and a Tawny Eagle hung around. But being so overcast it was relatively quiet at both hides.

This afternoon we found a Wild Dog pack. They tried to shelter from the inclement weather, but we managed to capture portrait shots.

The afternoon at the Lagoon Hide was most successful. Malachite Kingfishers carried on unperturbed by the weather, as did the African Jacana, Black Crake, a Grey Heron, and the Fish Eagle.

We have all returned to the Lodge, pleased that despite the weather we managed some good photographs. Maybe the weather will clear again by tomorrow …

Zimanga Photo Safari: A Variety of Exciting Nocturnal Guests at the Overnight Hide

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Hendri Reports News from the Zimanga Photo Safari:

Once again our TuskPhoto Safari guests divided into small groups to make the most of the different hides and game drives here at Zimanga.

As planned I spent the night in the Overnight Hide with a group of our TuskPhoto Safari guests. And we were really spoiled! Buffalo visited four times, giving us plenty of opportunities to capture those magical nighttime shots. In fact, even before the sun set the evening before, warthogs appeared at the waterhole, and they also visited again early this morning. In addition four Kudu cows arrived for a drink. They had plenty of Oxpeckers accompanying them.

And also late yesterday one of the other groups found male lions that they photographed by spotlight.

This morning one of the groups went out on a game drive where they photographed elephants, cheetah, and plenty of general game.

A different group visited the Predator Hide where a large number of vultures could be seen again. They were joined by a Black-backed Jackal, and the action really became quite frenetic as the jackal and vultures took exception to each other, with each trying to be very assertive for brief moments before being intimidated again by the other – for a short while.

At the Bird Bath Hide plenty of Kingfishers were photographed, as well as a number of other birds that were all disturbed briefly when a herd of elephants arrived to drink at the waterhole.

This afternoon we visited the Wild Dogs. It became very overcast, and when the light faded we practised doing panning shots with slow shutter speeds as the dogs moved. Everyone was thrilled with the outcomes.

A visit to the Bird Bath Hide this afternoon was a little disappointing as it was windy and rather gloomy, so not ideal for photography, but the Lagoon Hide was far more productive. Close-up images there turned out particularly well. The resident Fish Eagle posed with outstretched wings, while the Pied Kingfishers either sat on handy twigs or hovered expectantly above the water before plunging in to catch a fish.

Another lovely day has ended, and although the weather report for tomorrow does not look promising, we are hoping for the best …

Zimanga Photo Safari: Great Success at the Different Photographic Hides …

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Brendon’s News from from the Zimanga Photo Safari:

The TuskPhoto safari guests who decided to spend last night at the Overnight Hide had a wonderful time. Hyenas and buffalo stopped there to drink during the night and with the moon we were able to amass some fabulous photographs. In a word, it was awesome.

Another group of TuskPhoto guests visited the Scavenger Hide, where no fewer than 45 vultures accompanied by Tawny Eagles, Marabou Storks and crows milled around busily. Among the vultures were two Lappet-faced Vultures. The scene was busy, busy.

Other guests visited the Bird Bath Hide where not only different birds came to bathe – warthogs arrived to drink there as well. Golden-breasted Buntings, Acacia Pied Barbets, Black-collared Barbets, Blue Waxbills, Firefinches, Lemon- breasted Canaries, Turtle Doves, and Emerald-spotted Wood Doves, are just a few of the many species that come to mind.


This evening a different group will spend the night in the Overnight Hide with Hendri. Others joined me this afternoon for a dame drive. We saw quite a few rhinos, and giraffe seemed to be just everywhere, and we also photographed elephants.

Then we saw a female cheetah, and luckily she posed really well for us. Finally we found two male lions.

Meanwhile a number of our guests visited the Lagoon Hide and others elected to spend the afternoon at the Bird Bath Hide.

At the Lagoon Hide very active Fish Eagles, Black-winged Stilts, Grey Herons, and Egyptian Geese kept cameras busy.

After a very full day everyone has collected a number of outstanding photographs, and all are keen to continue with the ‘rotation’ system where small groups participate in different activities …

Zimanga Photo Safari: This Photographic Destination Really Delivers …

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Hendri Reports from from the Zimanga Photo Safari:

After everyone arrived we mat for our briefing and decisions about the best course of action. Zimanga has a number of fabulous hides, and to make the most of these we decided to split into groups, with some deciding to visit an overnight hide and to spend the next 18 hours or more there.

Our group visited the Lagoon Hide, where we had a real treat. A Fish Eagle put on a wonderful show for us, watched by African Jacanas, Black Crakes, and a variety of other beautiful birds.

The light was perfect and we took full advantage for our photography. Some guests at a bird-bath hide saw Waxbills, Finches, Doves, Finches, and Kingfishers. To their delight a Banded Mongoose family arrived to drink, and kept everyone entertained for a while.

Yet other guests decided to enjoy a game drive. The reserve is well known for its Wild Dog population, and the TuskPhoto guests collected an enviable set of images of the dogs.

A Rhino family with little calves was a hit with everyone. There is plenty of general game here, and this afternoon the Warthogs were particularly active.

After the very successful first day we have decided to take the same approach tomorrow to experience the variety that the reserve has to offer …

Zimanga Ultimate Hides Safari: Wild Dogs Kill two Warthogs …

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News from Brendon Cremer:

(All images from back of Brendon’s Camera)

Yesterday afternoon we did as before – with half the group wanting to go straight to the overnight hide to wait for visitors to the water while the others elected to enjoy an afternoon game drive. Which was a better option? Well, each group felt justifiably smug with their choice while simultaneously thinking that the other had some pretty amazing experiences …

So what did the two groups see? Those on the game drive found the two male Lions again and collected some great images of the handsome duo. A beautiful female cheetah came next and posed beautifully on the ground, and allowed some closeup shots without bothering at all. She was very full and therefore not inclined to be active, but she was happy to look up and around.

There were plenty of Buffalo, Elephants, and Rhino around the reserve. Nyala, Herds of Impala, Zebra, and Giraffe dotted the plains, and two of the Wild Dogs appeared, running too fast for the vehicles to keep up.

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The group in the overnight hide experienced another huge thunderstorm and downpour during the night. What an awe-inspiring experience, enhanced a hundred-fold out there in the hide, overlooking the water. That is about as close as one can get to being out in the bush with nature being dramatic with echoing thunder and a lightning show to intimidate even the bravest. So fabulous, but tough for photography.

We got some beautiful lightning shots – and before the storm actually started animals came to the water to drink, including hundreds of Zebra that approached nervously, but bolted away with each lightning strike or thunder clap.

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The Wildebeest were more placid, and during the night Buffalo arrived to drink. We got long exposure shots of the Buffalo drinking in the foreground, with those thick storm clouds lit up by lightning behind them.

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And finally, this morning a few Rhinos arrived to drink at the hide.

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The group that did the game drive yesterday decided to go to Lagoon Hide this morning where Grey Herons, Black Herons, Yellow-billed Storks, African Jacanas, and Pied Kingfishers kept everyone busy – until a Fish Eagle arrived! This was a cue for the other birds to depart hastily or discreetly …

Both groups met up to go in search of the Wild Dogs. We arrived just as they had killed a Warthog, and within moments they chased a killed a second Warthog very close to us. We photographed them from ground level as the nineteen dogs ate!

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So, who had the better day? I guess it was a draw, as each group has wonderful photos and incredible memories – and there is more to come …

 

Zimanga Ultimate Hides Safari: Overnight in a Hide …

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Zimanga Ultimate Hides Safari: Overnight in a Hide …

News from Brendon Cremer:

(All images from back of Brendon’s Camera)

We arrived and set out for our first afternoon adventure. Our groups soon split up with one deciding to go straight into the overnight hide for the whole afternoon, the entire night – and much of this morning as well!

We photographed so much! Buffalo arrived during the night, and we grabbed the opportunity to snatch up our cameras for some great night-time shots, in addition to rhinos and elephants.

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Dramatic clouds built up and when lightning started to blaze across the sky we also gathered a decent number of those images.

It rained from about midnight until just before dawn, creating a most wonderful atmosphere in the hide – but was rotten for photography.

This morning some Hamerkops came down to the dam and kept us busy for ages as they caught Raucous Toads in the dam in front of us. As each toad was caught it was thrown into the air, caught again, before attempting to feed, only to throw it back up into the air. The action and photography proved to be quite marvellous!

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And the other group?

They had an equally amazing time. There were zebra, giraffe, rhino, buffalo and two male lions that were resting peacefully.

Then a pack of nineteen Wild Dogs pitched up. The Wild Dogs here are quite phenomenal. The pack included 12 pups that are doing well, having been born earlier this year. The pack was hunting – and managed to nab a Scrub Hare right next to us. Well, two of the dogs got stuck in, and there was very little left in just seconds!

This morning the group headed straight to the Lagoon Hide where they amassed collections of images of Yellow-billed Storks, Fish Eagles, Pied Kingfishers, Little Egrets, and African Jacanas – all busily fishing – maybe more active than usual after all that rain during the night.

Right now we are looking forward to the remainder of the day …