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Africa & Middle East Archive

Wednesday

1

April 2015

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South Africa Part 6: Kruger National Park #RenelInSouthAfrica

Written by , Posted in Africa & Middle East, Animals, Canon 7D, Kruger National Park, South Africa, Travel

I spent nine days in South Africa! If you missed the part 5 click here, and be sure to follow my South African adventures using the tag #RenelInSouthAfrica2014.  The itinerary included two days in Kruger National Park.

In the previous installment I posted some shots of the Big Five. Here are my favorite shots from Kruger.  If you ever have the chance to visit be sure to buy a park map and animal identification book available in the visitor’s center.  It’s a great resource and has a check list for all the animals you see.

Impala in Kruger National Park - photo by Renel Holton - www.renelholton.com

Impala

Giraffe in Kruger National Park - photo by Renel Holton - www.renelholton.com

Magpie shrike - photo by Renel Holton - www.renelholton.com

Magpie shrike

Lizard in Kruger National Park - photo by Renel Holton - www.renelholton.com (more…)

Monday

30

March 2015

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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.

Leopard

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 - www.renelholton.com

Lion

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 - www.renelholton.com photo by Renel Holton - www.renelholton.com

Rhinoceros

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

Elephant

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 - www.renelholton.com photo by Renel Holton - www.renelholton.com

Buffalo

I love their horns!
photo by Renel Holton - www.renelholton.com photo by Renel Holton - www.renelholton.com

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.

Thursday

12

June 2014

0

COMMENTS

South Africa Part 4: Panorama Route & Greater Kruger Area #RenelInSouthAfrica

Written by , Posted in Africa & Middle East, Canon 7D, Nature, South Africa, Travel

I spent nine days in South Africa! If you missed part 3 click here, and be sure to follow my South African adventures using the tag #RenelInSouthAfrica2014.  The itinerary took me on the Panorama Route including God’s Window, Bourke’s Luck Potholes, and the Blyde River Canyon.

We spent last night in Johannesburg at the Malikana Guest House, which is about 10 minutes away from OR Tambo Airport.  We left the guest house with a packed breakfast early in the morning to avoid the Johannesburg traffic.  I plan to do a separate post on my time in Johannesburg so stay tuned.

 

Panorama Route

The Panorama Route from Johannesburg to Kruger National Park winds it’s way through the Drakensburg mountains in the Mpumalanga province (part of the Highveld) down to the Lowveld.  There’s a 5,900 feet difference from the Highveld down to Kruger in the Lowveld.  The main draws on the route include God’s Window, Bourkes Luck Potholes, and the Blyde River Canyon.  In addition to these attractions we made stops in Lydenburg and Pilgram’s Rest.

Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve

The Blyde River Canyon is located in the Drakensberg escarpment region and one of the world’s largest canyons.  Blyde means “glad” or “happy” or Dutch.  It’s also considered the largest “green” canyon because of its’ tropical foliage.  There has been at least 1,000 plant species recorded with the varied plant life is influenced by extreme climate, a range of altitudes, and various soil conditions.

God’s Window

God’s Window is a popular lookout point at the southern end of the Nature Reserve offering panoramic views of the Lowveld.  The world veld comes from the Afrikaans word for “field,” and is a generic term used to define certain wide open rural spaces in Southern Africa.

I was using my 24-70mm lens, but I wish I had a wider lens better suited for landscapes.  I ended up getting better photos on my iPhone using the pano feature.God's Window pano - photo by Renel Holton - www.renelholton.com / iphone_0314God's window pano - photo by Renel Holton - www.renelholton.com / iphone_0310 I have no clue what these flowers are called but they are beautiful.  If you know the name let me know in the comments.God's Window flower - photo by Renel Holton - www.renelholton.com / IMG_8077

Bourke’s Luck Potholes

This area was after a local miner named Tom Bourke, who prospected for gold here.  The potholes formed as a result of a thousand years of swirling eddies of water where the Treur River  (river of sorrow) meets the Blyde River (river of joy) which over time has caused water erosion.

Bourkes Law Potholes - photo by Renel Holton - www.renelholton.com / IMG_8133 Bourkes Law Potholes waterfall - photo by Renel Holton - www.renelholton.com / IMG_8115Renel at Bourkes Law Potholes - photo by Renel Holton - www.renelholton.com / iphone_0326 Bourkes Law Potholes - photo by Renel Holton - www.renelholton.com / IMG_8108

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Thursday

5

June 2014

0

COMMENTS

South Africa Part 3: Shosholoza Meyl Train to Johannesburg #RenelInSouthAfrica

Written by , Posted in Africa & Middle East, Canon 7D, Cape Town, Johannesburg, South Africa, train, Transportation, Travel

I spent nine days in South Africa! If you missed part 2 click here, and be sure to follow my South African adventures using the tag #RenelInSouthAfrica2014. The itinerary for the next two days took me on a 30 hour train ride from Cape Town to Johannesburg on the Shosholoza Meyl.

Day 1

We left Cape Town around 10am for what would end up being a 30 hour ride on the Shosholoza Meyl to Johannesburg.  “Shosholoza” is the name of a Ndebele folk song that originated in Zimbabwe but was popularized in South Africa.  “Meyl” is a word that is related to a South African word for “long distance train.”  (Click here to see a lyric video with the English translation.)

I was in the 4-person sleeper with two other ladies from my tour.  Our cabin was the biggest out of the group so it ended up being the hangout room.  The other two cabins were two-person sleepers.  The cabin was actually bigger than I thought it would be but still a little claustrophobic such a long journey.  The sleeping cars are considered tourist class cost about 620 Rand (USD $59) for a one-way ticket from Cape Town to Johannesburg.  That price is about half of what it would cost to fly.  There’s a economy class with only seats on the other side of the dining car.

Shosholoza Meyl train cabin - photo by Renel Holton - www.renelholton.com / GOPR0016
mountains - photo by Renel Holton - www.renelholton.com / IMG_7641
mountains - photo by Renel Holton - www.renelholton.com / IMG_7679
mountains - photo by Renel Holton - www.renelholton.com / IMG_7692
mountains - photo by Renel Holton - www.renelholton.com / IMG_7701
mountains - photo by Renel Holton - www.renelholton.com / IMG_7729
solar panels - photo by Renel Holton - www.renelholton.com / IMG734
mountains - photo by Renel Holton - www.renelholton.com / IMG_7650

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