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An impala, a leopard and a patient hyena

Thought you might like to see an illustrated blog from 3 consecutive days' game drives on our recent Botswana trip.

https://www.microcontrast.com/new-bl...ience-rewarded

All images on the E-M1ii with 40-150 f2.8 (some with the 1.4tc) and 300 f4.0, at up to ISO3200 in fading light.
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Re: An impala, a leopard and a patient hyena

Quite a lot of the photo's aren't showing for me, Mark.
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Re: An impala, a leopard and a patient hyena

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Originally Posted by Keith-369 View Post
Quite a lot of the photo's aren't showing for me, Mark.
Interesting - I haven't had that reported by anyone else, Keith.
Please let me know if it continues or if anyone else has a problem.
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Assorted legacy lenses, plus a Fuji X70.
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Re: An impala, a leopard and a patient hyena

A good, interesting read and excellent images Mark.

Thanks for sharing your experience.

Dave
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Re: An impala, a leopard and a patient hyena

Superb images and a good insight into life in the wild.
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Re: An impala, a leopard and a patient hyena

Just tried again, Mark, and all was well. Must have been some glitch somewhere.

Amazing pictures and great documentary.
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Re: An impala, a leopard and a patient hyena

Excellent images, beautifully presented
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Re: An impala, a leopard and a patient hyena

Lovely photos Mark and very well presented.
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Re: An impala, a leopard and a patient hyena

Thank you very much, nice photos. Are you still in Africa?
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Re: An impala, a leopard and a patient hyena

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Thank you very much, nice photos. Are you still in Africa?
Unfortunately not!
These were taken on the 20-something of September.
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Re: An impala, a leopard and a patient hyena

Some stunning images there. We're off to the Kruger again in February and images like this serve as a useful reminder of why one travels thousands of miles to see African wildlife.
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Re: An impala, a leopard and a patient hyena

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Originally Posted by Melaka View Post
Some stunning images there. We're off to the Kruger again in February and images like this serve as a useful reminder of why one travels thousands of miles to see African wildlife.
I'll look forward to seeing your shots.

This sort of thing certainly isn't a cheap form of recreation, but it does get under a lot of people's skin, and as long as you choose how you do the trips with some care (i.e. where you go and which companies you travel with) at least you have some satisfaction that you're supporting conservation and local people to an extent.

I found my Oly kit ideal for the trip, for my purposes. I had 2 E-M1ii bodies, 5 lenses + the 1.4tc from 15 - 840mm equivalent focal length, and all fitted within the required 7 and 8 kg carry-on weight limits on several of our flights.

I did a couple of days at a specialist photo-safari lodge in the Chobe park in Botswana (I'll do a page on this in due course) and I was in vehicles with some very experienced wildlife photographers with absolutely top gear (e.g. a Canon 1DX mkii and and 200-400 f4 with built-in 1.4 teleconverter - look up the cost & weight of those, so they otherwise could only take one or two small prime lenses with them).

I'll say more in the blog post, but for my point of view the only gear-related negative in comparison was my losing around 30-40' at the start and end of each day when my required ISO went much over 3200. To set against that, I was much more maneuverable for snap shot opportunities throughout the days, and they were very interested to see Procapture at work on rollers and kingfishers.

On game drives it was fantastically dusty at times, but the gear didn't miss a beat (I can see no sensor spots at all) until the hood of my 300 stuck 'out' right at the end of the last game drive on the last day. As someone here recommended, it came free after briefly warming with a hair dryer, and a couple of tiny bits of grit came out.
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Too much Oly gear.
Panasonic 12-35, 15. Samyang 7.5 fisheye. Laowa 7.5.
Assorted legacy lenses, plus a Fuji X70.
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Re: An impala, a leopard and a patient hyena

Thank you - interesting and informative as always.

One reason - there are lots - for going to the Kruger is cost. We've booked for ten nights in the park; three each in Satara and Letaba and two each in Lower Sabie and Skukusa. The accommodation cost for a two bed bungalow (rondeval) for the ten nights was £712.93 at the time of booking when the exchange rate was better than it is now. The conservation fee which we pay by taking a year's subscription to the Wildcard scheme was £201.33. That's a total of £914.26 for the basic safari bit.

The estimated additional costs are
Car hire - not yet booked, but probably something like a Tiguan for the height of eye. Off road driving isn't allowed in the Kruger so you don't need a 4x4.
Fuel - petrol is just under £1 per litre. We'll get through a bit as it's a four hour drive to/from Jo'burg to the park and we'll cover some distance whilst we're there.
Food - we've decided not to self cater although all the accommodation is fully equipped. Based on our last visit two years ago I anticipate that using restaurants for breakfast and dinner with a picnic lunch will be about £50 per day for the two of us, so around £500 altogether.
Rissington Inn - we always stop here for the night before going into the park. £52 for B&B but we'll have dinner too.

I'm planning to take 2xEM1i, one with the 12-100 and the other with the 100-400. Back up will be an EM5 with 40-150+1.4 and 14-42EZ. Weight is less of a constraint for us as there are no flights in small aircraft.

One way in which South Africa differs from other countries is that many of the park visitors are locals. There are luxury safari lodges and private parks but in the main the target audience is the local holiday maker. Even if you've never been on safari before a DIY visit to the Kruger is easy. The roads, whether dirt or tarmac, are good and well sign posted and the accommodation is well maintained. Anyone who didn't like the drive from Jo'burg could fly to Nelspruit/Mbombela or Skukusa and hire their car there. It's always struck me as odd that you can hire a car in the park but we've done it twice.
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Re: An impala, a leopard and a patient hyena

Yes, we stayed a couple of nights at Rissington a few years ago: lovely place, and the owner is a great character.

We met a handful of people who were self-driving in Botswana. Most had hired in Namibia and were doing 3+ week tours: the roads were pretty rough and virtually all unpaved outside the parks, and inside the parks you not only need a 4wd, but you need to know how to drive it properly in deep sand. Namibian roads and vehicles are apparently very good, and safe.

The self-drivers we got to know were all taking game drives from the lodges with their guides. The only ones we came across in their own vehicles were stuck, and our guides sometimes towed or pushed them out...

Self driving in Botswana parks you miss out on the radio comms between the vehicles, and based on what we saw I’d say it wasn’t worth going without taking advantage of the local guides - they are excellent. Botswana’s a unique environment, but so expensive anyway that I think it’s spoiling the ship for a ha’peth of tar not to do guided drives there.
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Assorted legacy lenses, plus a Fuji X70.
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Re: An impala, a leopard and a patient hyena

South Africa is said to be the only country south of the Sahara where you can walk into a room, flick the light switch and not be surprised when the light comes on! The same applies to the roads where even the dirt ones are well maintained. When I last drove in Kenya in the early 90s I often needed a Land Rover on the main roads.

There are 2,400km of roads in the Kruger of which 800km are tarmac. There is a speed limit of 50kph on tarmac and 40kph on dirt but that is to protect the animals rather than save the vehicle's suspension. Speeding is so common there are mobile speed traps. It's a far cry from having self driven in the Mara, Tsavo etc.
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