Kirkmans Kamp photographic Safari 13 & 17 August 2016

14th October 2016
I was fortunate enough to spend 2 days on a photographic Safari with Jen and Sarah, they spent 2 nights at Kirkmans Kamp in August 2016.

After doing lens calibration on their cameras and checking the menus for the correct settings for Wildlife Photography we set off on Drive.

The Wild dogs were in the area and the pups had just recently left the den but were not travelling too far yet so we set off to try and find them, it was not long before the dogs were found and we went to go and have a look, as we arrived the adult dogs set off to go and hunt for the afternoon, they briefly chased a warthog but it managed to escape, we then decided to go and have a look at the puppies that were resting close by, the pups were not very active but we still managed to get a few images of them in the afternoon light.

After leaving the dogs we headed off down to the river where we found a herd of Elephant feeding along the riverbank, we managed to get a few images of one Elephant with the last rays of sunlight before the sun dipped below the horizon.

We spent quite some time with the Elephants as they fed and watched the young ones play, we tried some panning images in the fading light on some young bull Elephants as they sparred as well as a youngster who was running trying to catch up with its mom.

After leaving the Elephants we photographed some Vultures that had perched in a dead tree before stopping for a drink and then we headed back to camp.

The following morning we headed off to go and have a look at the local Hyena den, when we arrived there were 2 young pups and 2 Adults on the rocks waiting for the sunshine to warm themselves up, one of the pups was in a playful mood and it wrestled with the other pup as well as jumped over one of the adults that was trying to have a nap, it was great fun to watch.

While watching the Hyenas a pair of Mating Leopards were found not too far away so we decided to head over to the Leopards and have a look, when we arrived the Leopards were moving out of the Sand river and into the thickets, at first it was not a great view but at the Leopards moved along we managed to get some great views and images of them.

The Male Leopard was not interested in mating at all and the female kept trying to persuade the male to mate with her but without any luck, we were not sure why but he refused to mate with her, the female eventually got on top of the male but still he refused. Eventually the Leopards made their way back down into the river, the female still trying to convince the male to mate but without any success, by this time it was quite late in the morning so we headed back to the lodge for breakfast.

The following afternoon we set off to explore a different section of the reserve, we checked on a small Hyena den along the way and here we found a mom and her young pup, the youngster seemed restless and it would pace up and down, play with mom and then head off again to scramble over some nearby rocks before chewing on a bit of grass, it was great fun to watch the little guy.

After leaving the Hyena den we searched for a good spot to photograph the sunset trying some zoom burst images along the way.

After the sun had set we slowly made our way back to the lodge bumping into a Hyena along the way, this was a good opportunity to shoot in Manuel mode and try some night photography.

The following morning we set off again and one of the first animals we found were a couple of Honey Badgers going about their morning business, it is not often we get to see Honey Badgers so this was real special, although the light was not good and the honey Badger was in a bit of a rush we still managed to get a few images of it before it disappeared.

After the honey Badgers we heard that the pack of Wild Dogs had been found again, the dogs had just finished eating something they had killed and the pups were still begging for some meat from the adults, there was a lot of play between the dogs and some wrestling for some scraps of skin.

Slowly things started to wind down and the pups found some shady spots and lay down, the excitement of the morning now over. We had a wonderful sighting of the dogs and watching them interact with the adults was great.

After leaving the Wild dogs we decided to go and drive along the Sand River and see what we could find, after some time we found the Stained eye female Leopard, she was resting up on a small termite mound, we spent some time with her on the mound before we set off to go and follow up on distant alarm calls.

When we returned back at the Female Leopard a short while later she had moved to the edge of the river, she had the remains of a kill in a nearby Sausage tree and she lay comfortably under the tree where we got some great images of her.

After about 5 minutes the leopard climbed up into the tree and started to feed, we got ourselves in a good position to photograph her as she fed with some good results.

Finally we left the Leopard as it was time for Jen and Sarah to check out and catch their flight home, along the way we bumped into a few herds of Elephants where one youngster was feeding out in the open giving us the final opportunity at some photographs, it had been a great two days of Photography with some wonderful sightings.

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