Posts Tagged ‘leopards’

Londolozi: The Best Destination for a Photographic Safari in South Africa

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Thirsty leopard drinking at Londolozi

If you are a planning photographic safari and want a luxury experience, Londolozi Private Game Reserve in South Africa might be the destination for you.

I rented this Canon is 100-400 mm IS lens at Londolozi

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Scenes from a Game Drive at Londolozi, South Africa

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Up close with African elephants at Londolozi Private Game Reserve in South Africa

Last month I returned to Londolozi Game Reserve, where I went on my first safari in 2004. The three days I spent there reminded me of why Londolozi has such a fantastic reputation and constantly winds up on lists of the best safari lodges in the world.

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Solo rhino at Londolozi

This time my husband and I stayed at Tree Camp, the newest of the camps at Londolozi and found the room far more luxurious than we needed it to be. We appreciated all the mod cons like AC and dual vanity sinks and the hot tub, but the point of safari is to go on the game drives and see the animals. Tree Camp was amazing, but I don’t think it’s necessary to get the fanciest room at Londolozi.

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A casual encounter with an African elephant at Londolozi

We also paid for a private vehicle, so that we could go at our own pace and hang out with certain sightings as long as we wanted. If I had to pick one splurge, I’d pick the private vehicle over the largest room on safari. This gives you a more customized safari experience.

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Adorable elephant at Londolozi

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Elephants on an afternoon game drive

There have been some changes at Londolozi since I first visited, and they are great. I’ll dedicate a future post to Londolozi’s photographic studio, which rents Canon and Nikon compatible lenses. This makes Londolozi a top pick for travelers who want the best photographic safari experience.

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Pride of lions feeding on a wildebeest

Game drives at Londolozi last about three hours in the morning and another three in the afternoon. If you’ve never been on safari, six hours of game drives seems like a long time to spend in a vehicle. But the time flies on a game drive when you get to see such amazing wildlife activity up close.

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Thirsty leopard

The elephants and leopards were my favorite animals to view. And I got up close with quite a few of them.

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Londolozi is famous for the leopards

One of the highlights of any safari at Londolozi is the seeing the leopards. They are beautiful and amazing.

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Following a leaping leopard on a game drive

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Leopard on the move at Londolozi

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Leopard napping in a tree

Londolozi is located within South Africa’s Greater Kruger National park on the Sand River. This is also in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve.

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Up close with an elephant on a game drive at Londolozi

Londolozi Game Reserve

Phone number +27 13 735 5653
Email address news@londolozi.co.za

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South African Safari: Video Highlights Reel at Kwandwe

Lions

A typical day at Kwandwe Private Game Reserve goes something like this:

5:30 your Ranger calls your room to wake you up. You get dressed and go to Fish River Lodge for a cup of tea or coffee before heading out on your morning game drive in an open top 4 x 4.  It’s still cold, but there are blankets and you’re got a jacket on.

Ready for the morning game driveSunrise at Kwandwe

Self-portrait: ready for the morning game drive at dawn

From 6 am until 9:30 or so (depending on what you view) you’re in your out on a game drive. The sun has just risen and your barely awake until something wakes you right up. It could be a lion’s roar or an elephant crossing the dirt road or flock of blue cranes flying over head.

Elephant crossingElephant walking

Pictures of Elephant Walking. Guess who gets the right of way?

Then you find yourself fully awake and completely fascinated by the skill of your ranger (in my case, Robin) and tracker (Ernie) who can help track animal movements and tell you all about the dynamics of the animals that live on the land. It’s not really a vacation as much as it is travel and education. You leave far more aware of the ecosystem and amazed by the animals who survive there.

Cape BuffaloRangers know all

Rangers know all

You return to camp around 9:30 for breakfast and free time. You avoid the mid-day sun in your room or at the lodge (which is rather comfortable) before heading out at around 3:30 for an afternoon game drive. One of the perks of the afternoon game drives is that you get to stop somewhere scenic for a sundowner- a cocktail in the bush and a snack before heading back to the lodge. While gin & tonic is usually my sundowner adult beverage of choice, this trip I learned that Amarula tastes great mixed in hot chocolate if the weather is a bit nippy.

Fish River Lodge chess librarySafari Chic bath tub at Kwandwe

Fish River Lodge- a luxurious home base to come back to. I loved the bathtub in room 6.

As a photographer, shooting on safari can be problematic. It’s extremely challenging attempting to get video while on bumpy dirt roads and with other people in the vehicle, often blocking your shot. If I do it again, I’ll rent a good 400 mm lens because I felt that my 300 mm was not quite as sharp as it could be and I would have appreciated that extra telephoto oomph. There is so much I didn’t capture on video or stills because I just wanted to be in the moment and enjoy seeing the animals in Africa. That’s not to say I came away empty handed, I got some great stuff. Of the so-called Big Five animals I did not see a leopard or a black rhino on this trip, but I met a charming leopard tortoise and the white rhinos are just as adorable. I hope you enjoy this highlights reel of some of the game spotting from my recent trip to Kwandwe.

 

A Side Note/rant:

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On Safari in South Africa: Bob Marley and The “Big Five”

Note: Tonight, if all goes as planned, I will be headed to London to catch a flight to South Africa. The trip will include visiting Johannesburg, Capetown, and going on safari at Kwandwe private game reserve.

This will be my fourth trip to one of the world’s most spectacular countries. It’s a very special place te me because a version of the post I wrote below was one that of the first blog posts I wrote in 2010 for then just launched Tablet Hotels Tablet Talk blog, which has changed formats a few times and now longer exists. I’d encourage you to check out the new Tablet Hotels site and their new magazine section.

Bob Marley & The Big Five

It’s a moment I’ll never forget and it happened on safari in at in South Africa. A half-hour before dawn. A local tribesman, who also worked as a security guard for the camp, came to my hut and escorted me to the main lodge. Using his flashlight to show me the path, he stopped and pointed to the nearby bushes.

“There buffalo,” he warned me calmly. Having grown up protecting his father’s cattle, my guard was utterly unfazed by the giant creature a few meters away that could have easily charged and gored both of us to death.

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Cape Buffalo- One of the Big Five game animals

As we continued on our way, the guard began singing to himself, “Buffalo soldier….”

Without thinking, I joined in and finished the lyric, “…dreadlocked Rasta.” The guard stopped in his tracks. It was the first time I’d seen him startled.

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