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Animals Archive


April 2015





March 2015



South Africa Part 5: Big Five at Kruger National Park #RenelInSouthAfrica

Written by , Posted in Africa & Middle East, Animals, Buffalo, Canon 7D, Elephant, Kruger National Park, Leopard, Lion, National Park, Rhino, South Africa, Travel

I spent nine days in South Africa! If you missed part 4 click here, and be sure to follow my South African adventures using the tag #RenelInSouthAfrica2014.  The itinerary included two days in Kruger National Park.

Kruger National Park, named after Paul Kruger, is one of Africa’s largest game reserves covering over 7,500 square miles.  The park’s origin began in 1898 as the Sabi Game Reserve, which was initially created to control hunting.  In 1926 the Sabi Game Reserve and neighboring Shingwedzi Game Reserve were combined to create Kruger National Park.  A year later it was opened to the general public.

The “Big Five”

The “Big Five” is a term originally used by hunters to refer to the five most difficult animals to hunt in Africa. The members of the Big Five are the lion, leopard, African elephant, rhinoceros, and African buffalo.  All except the buffalo are on the protected species list.

We went on two day safaris and got to see all of the Big Five on the second day before lunch! Our guide said at the time of our tour in May he had only two or three other tours that saw all five of the animals.  Seeing the Big Five made the whole trip for me!  I later bought a Kruger sticker for my laptop and a Big Five wooden sculpture to commemorate my trip.


I was looking forward to seeing leopards the most because they are elusive and extremely well camouflaged. There’s believed to be about a 1,000 leopards in the park.
photo by Renel Holton - www.renelholton.comThis one was just chilling in the tree with not a care in the world. It repositioned a couple times but never came out of the tree.

photo by Renel Holton -


We saw this group of lions on both days lying in a dry riverbed. Much like the leopard, the lions were just sitting around being lazy (typically cat). It was difficult getting a clear shot because there were trees covering most of the road.
photo by Renel Holton - photo by Renel Holton -


This was the only decent shot I was able to get.
photo by Renel Holton -


The elephants were easily my favorite to photograph. They usually came close enough to the roads to get some really nice photos.
photo by Renel Holton - photo by Renel Holton -


I love their horns!
photo by Renel Holton - photo by Renel Holton -

Next up… Part 6: Kruger National Park favorite animals!!!

To follow along with my South African travels use the tag Renel In South Africa 2014.



June 2014



South Africa Part 2: Cape Town to Cape Point #RenelInSouthAfrica

Written by , Posted in Africa & Middle East, Animals, Canon 7D, Cape Point, Cape Town, Penguin, South Africa, Travel, Zebra

I spent nine days in South Africa!  If you missed part 1 click here, and be sure to follow my South African adventures using the tag #RenelInSouthAfrica2014.  Today’s itinerary took me from Cape Town to Cape Point including several parts of the Table Mountain National Park.

Table Mountain

We started our morning in Cape Town by heading up to Table Mountain. Table Mountain received its’ name because it’s a level plateau, which is approximately 2 miles side to side.

The sky was overcast for most of the morning, but we decided to take a chance. We were hopeful because on the road up to the mountain everything looked clear. However once we parked and got in line the ticket office said there was little to no visibility from the top. As you can see from the photos the clouds were heavy and swooped in within the short time it took us to park.

Table Mountain - photo by Renel Holton - / IMG_7328 Table Mountain - photo by Renel Holton - / IMG_7340

After a quick stop at a local camera shop we continued on our way towards Cape Point.

Muizenberg Beach

Muizenberg is a beach-side suburb of Cape Town also known as the birthplace of South African surfing. The shark spotting program is an early warning initiative in place where spotters on the mountain relay info for the surfers.

The black flag means the spotting conditions are poor. It was really cloudy, but that didn’t stop surfers from entering the water.

Shark spotting flag at Muizenberg Beach - photo by Renel Holton - / IMG_7351 surfer on Muizenberg Beach, South Africa - photo by Renel Holton - / IMG_7372 edit 1My favorite part was these cute and colorful beach houses on the beach. Muizenberg Beach huts - photo by Renel Holton - / IMG_7364 edit 2 (more…)



May 2014



African Penguin at Boulders Beach, South Africa #RenelinSouthAfrica

Written by , Posted in Africa & Middle East, Animals, Canon 7D, Cape Town, Penguin, South Africa, Travel

I’m still editing photos from my recent trip to South Africa.  In the meantime please enjoy this little guy from the African penguin colony at Boulders Beach.

This sheltered penguin colony, located between Simon’s Town and Cape Point, was started in 1982 with just two breeding pairs.  The African penguin is listed in the Red Data Book as an endangered species.  They were previously called Jackass Penguin because of their donkey-like braying call.  Some South American penguins also produce the same sound so they were renamed African penguins.  According to the park’s brochure,

“Of the 1.5 million African penguin population estimated in 1910, only some 10% remained at the end of the 20th century.  The uncontrolled harvesting of penguin eggs (as a source of food), and guano scraping, nearly drove the species to extinction.”

Boulders African penguin - photo by Renel Holton - / IMG_7427

African penguin at Boulders Beach colony, South Africa

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