When the flights arrived with all out Tusk Photo guests we gathered at Upington Airport to drive through to the Kgalagadi Reserve. Our comfortable accommodation at the Rooiputs Lodge is a pleasure. It is unique, beautifully situated and luxurious.
On arrival at the park we saw large herds of both Gemsbok and Springbok all the way to the Lodge.
After settling in to our rooms we gathered for high tea, and were relaxing, getting to know one another and chatting when we heard a rustle under the decking. We hardly had time to focus on the sound when a Cape Fox took us completely by surprise when it dashed out from under the covering. None of us had a camera ready, and although the sighting was exciting for us, we have no photographic record. However, we won’t forget that encounter soon. What a welcome.
As we had two hours still available to start exploring the reserve we set out for a game drive. We started at a waterhole where oryx, Springbok and Red Hartebeest arrived for a routine afternoon drink. We also saw a Black-backed Jackal and then checked the surrounding area for any tracks.
On the drive back to the Lodge we came across a Honey Badger. He scurried around busily and although he was a little too far for close-up portraits it was great to see him on our first game drive. Not far from there were saw a jackal loping along at a perfect speed for everyone to practice their panning techniques. Of course these turned out really successfully, and even those who tried panning shots for the first time had good results. We then used a variety of other photographic techniques to enhance our photography.
It was great to encounter a Spotted Hyena next. This was especially remarkable because they are unusually few and far between in this area at present. Strange how eco systems change!
When we saw a shape in a Camelthorn tree we went to check it out. It was a Spotted Eagle-owl. It looked beautiful as it sat there, glaring balefully at us.
Back at the Lodge we settled down to dinner accompanied by the sounds of the Kalahari punctuated by lions roaring repeatedly. In the morning we would like to check where those lions are …