Monday, 25 July 2016

South Africa, February 2016, part 3

No trip to South Africa would be complete without seeing some of the wild animals.We decided not to fit a safari into the schedule as it would have required a trip to the north of the country but we did spend a night at Botlierskop Private Game Reserve, not far from George. It had been recommended by  a friend from SA and we would highly recommend it. The accommodation (we had a "tent" by the river) is excellent and the staff are very friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. After a superb meal, we retired to our tent by which time it was well after dark and the noise of the animals, birds & insects was incredible and it continued for quite a time.
Next morning we were picked up for a coffee and pastry before starting the safari just before dawn. It was a good job we remembered to take our coats as it was the only time on the whole holiday we felt cold!. I was not sure what camera gear to take so I took the X-T1 with a couple of lens but only used the excellent 55-200mm zoom. Before the sun came up the ISO had to be raised to 100 but as the light improved I took it back in stages to 200. The quality at 1600 was barely different to 200 provided the exposure was correct. Luckily, it was quite cloudy with occasional brief sunny spells so I didn't have to worry about the lighting too much.
All the animals fend for themselves and find their own food with the exception of the lions which are fed although they have plans for the lions to hunt for their food.

This was taken the previous evening on my iPad and shows the arrangement for getting to our tent -  literally 6 oil drums with a platform  strapped to them & you pull yourselves across using the ropes. A buggy picks you up on the opposite side as there are liable to be wild animals there!

The noise of this lioness tearing the flesh off the leg of this animal was incredible.

This is a 4 year old elephant which was being bought up by its father (below with the big tusks) as its mother had died. The father was also looking after a 1 year old baby which is the last elephant image.

After the large animals it was a change to see this small wild tortoise crossing the road a few miles away from the reserve