Written by: Jon Bryant
In mid-October I returned to South Africa. It was an unexpected trip at short notice, but I was so excited to be returning to, what is without a doubt, my favourite country for wildlife photography.
This was my second stay at Jaci’s Lodges in Madikwe. Jaci’s is a family owned lodge that has a very personal approach, and the hospitality is second to none. Jaci’s comprises of two lodges – the main lodge and the tree lodge. On my first stay and this subsequent trip I stayed in the tree lodge. I’ve stayed in a few different lodges in South Africa and I have to say that Jaci’s tree lodge is probably my favourite. The rooms are incredible – they are luxurious and have a bathroom and outdoor shower to die for. Coming from northern Europe where we just don’t get the heat to have outdoor showers, it was a revelation.
The lodge is built on stilts and there are walkway passages amongst the trees between the rooms and the main lodge area. This gives you a real feeling of being in the African bush, and there are some interesting animals to be seen within the lodge itself. Most notably, bushbuck, banded mongoose and vervet monkeys.
But that’s about where it starts and ends in terms of wildlife within the lodge as Jaci’s is fenced. This makes it ideal forfamilies. It means that parents and children are free to roam; whether that be to the star bed lookout or to one of the swimming pools to relax. As Madikwe Game Reserve is also malaria-free, it is a serious contender if you are considering a family safari experience.
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Greg du Toit is probably Africa’s best known wildlife photographer. In 2013 he won the BBC World Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. However, this award was long overdue as Greg has been taking some of the best wildlife photographs in Africa for almost two decades.
Today the 38-year-old is also one of the best photographic guides on the continent, and leads tours to some of the most beautiful protected areas in Africa. I caught up with Greg recently to ask him a few questions.
Greg, which are your top three wildlife regions of Africa?
I think the first one would be Mala Mala. It’s the largest part of Sabi Sands Game Reserve in South Africa, and all their infrastructure was built on less than 10% of the land. There’s nothing between you and Kruger National Park, except lowveld bush and phenomenal wildlife. For me, I think the lowveld is still the place where my heart is because that’s where I grew up. It’s where I first fell in love with the bush.
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Posted by Africa Geographic Photographer of the Year in Photography, Wildlife and the Africa Geographic Photographer of the Year post series.
The first in our series of photographic tips and gear reviews to set you on your way to becoming Africa Geographic’s Photographer of the Year!
Corlette Wessels of Africa wildlife Photography believes that photography isn’t just a hobby, it allows us to capture a fleeting moment in time. That image that takes us back time and time again to the feeling, the texture, the emotion of that special moment in time. It’s not a piece of equipment or skill. It’s the cataloguing of lives, of a changing world and our connection to it.
Here are Corlette’s seven tips for creating a winning photo:
1. Know your camera
Photographic opportunities with wildlife do not occur in slow motion and most of time are unexpected and happen rather fast. You cannot sit there fiddling with the camera buttons trying to find the ideal setting when the action is taking place in front of your eyes. By the time you’ve figured it out, the action would have been long gone and you would have missed out on the ultimate shot.
See more at africageographic.com/blog/