Saturday, 16 January 2010

There be giants here...

This past December we spent some time in the Kruger National Park - oh wait, it's now called the 'Greater Kruger Transfrontier Park'. The summer sees the bushveld transformed from the dull yellow and brown of winter into a lush green paradise. This also makes spotting the wildlife a little trickier, but it also brings a lot of beautiful migrant birds from the Northern Hemisphere.

We headed north to avoid the hustle and bustle of the southern part of the park. The north is quieter - not just in terms of visitor numbers but the game is also more spread out. But the sightings you DO get are a lot better since most of the time there isn't a traffic jam at any of the sightings.

The north of Kruger is also where most of the larger elephants roam. The vegetation suits them - and if you ask me - the smaller number of tourists also suits them...

We came across this bulky bull north of the Shingwedzi rest camp on a rainy day when we were the only ones driving out.

Applying HDR to this picture helped me pull a lot of detail from the moody rain clouds behind the elephant, as well as from its skin texture. I also quite like this shot as a black and white conversion.

As you travel to the utmost northern part of Kruger, you meet less and less people, and you also wind your way to a magical place called 'Pafuri'. This is a region of lush riverine forests, exotic birdlife and the ruins of ancient civilizations. The Levuvhu river winds through a dense fevertree forest and ends up joining the Limpopo river at a junction called "Crook's Corner". This 'corner' gained its notorious name from the fact that many fugitives from justice came here to escape the arms of the law of South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia). At the time the place was literally a no-man's land and all the fugitives would sit and watch as the law-enforcement from the 3 countries fought over who could arrest them.

Here are some shots I took while driving through the area. You are not allowed to get out of your car so these were all taken from the car window.

I could spend hours in these tranquil forests.

So, the next time you book a trip to Kruger, don't just hang around the nexus of Skukuza and Lower Sabie, even Satara. Head north, and let your soul unwind...

Till next time...take care.

Morkel Erasmus