Kruger National Park 2011 - Balule Game Reserve

The Balule Game Reserve is on the western edge of the Greater Kruger Park (which comprises the Kruger National Parks and lots of smaller game reserves on its western edge). It was September when we stayed there which is getting towards the end of the dry season so the land was parched, most of the trees had lost their leaves and the only water was at waterholes.

We had 4 full days at the camp with 2 game drives each day so there was plenty of opportunity to take photos.

We stayed at a small comfortable lodge, Sausage Tree Camp, in the Reserve.

Breakfast on the deck overlooking the waterhole.

Giraffe visiting the waterhole.

Sean (back row on the right) was on crutches so his wife Sue came to help him out.

There were 2 others on the photography course, Frank, from Johannesburg, and Rob who was from Holland and was travelling in Southern Africa for a few months.

Dan (front row on the left) was our guide/driver/tracker. Sean is also an excellent tracker and it was interesting to watch how Sean and Dan worked together as we were driving around the Reserve using their knowledge of tracks and animal behaviour.

Each morning we were woken at 5.30am, had a cuppa and then set off on our morning drive. We got back to camp around 10am, had breakfast and then Sean would talk to the 4 of us about aspects of wildlife photography - picture composition, aperture settings, exposure, animal behaviour etc.

After a late lunch we went out on our afternoon / night drive, trying to put into practice what we'd learned.

We both found the course very interesting. I'm not sure that my photos are much better but I certainly feel much more confident in using our camera.

A spider's web.

Springbok play fighting.

On each drive we would stop somewhere for a drink.

Using a high aperture setting to fade out the background. Unfortunately this squirrel was in the shade and then soon disappeared into a hole.


Sean encouraged us to take close up shots.

We saw plenty of birds around the reserve and Dan was happy to stop for as long as we wanted in order to try and get some decent shots.

The golden-breasted bunting only stayed in this bush for a short time so I was lucky to get a quick shot. The dark chanting goshawk however sat in the top of a tree for ages so we all got photos from lots of different angles.

Some of our best animal sightings were at one of the larger waterholes. One afternoon we saw these 4 rhino who had obviously had a great mud bath. After they'd had a drink they walked off and passed by very close to our vehicle - unfortunately I didn't have my camera on the correct setting and the close-up shots were all blurred!

The same waterhole but in the morning so the light was better. Just as we were about to leave this large herd of buffalo wandered out of the bush and down to to have a drink.

One evening Sean got us experimenting with long exposure night shots.

A 40 second exposure (ISO 800) where a torch was used to outline BJ.

A 20 second exposure with BJ moving so the he's in the shot 3 times.


We were each set a task to take an unusual photo of something in the garden at the lodge. My effort was a close up shot of a cactus.


Balule Game Reserve

Kruger National Park

diary (Word 97 document)

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