In February 2005, I was privileged enough to go on a photographic safari to the Kalahari. This special place stole my heart in one short week. The photo opportunities were nothing short of magical, and I am already planning my visit in 2006.
If you look at successful wildlife or nature photographers that has visited Southern Africa, you will find that a lot of them have been to the Kalahari, and produced award-winning photographs there. Those photographers operating mostly in Southern Africa have taken a good percentage of their published work here. The photographs of Suricate taken here are world-renowned and everyone marvels at the opportunity to photograph these social little creatures.
All this tells you one thing. If you want good photographs, this should be one of your first choice destinations!
What is the Kalahari? It is an arid semi-desert region that covers the far north of South Africa, big parts of southern and central Botswana and parts of Namibia. In my opinion, the best place for photography in this region is the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, the first of its kind in Southern Africa.
Another option is to visit the Central Kalahari Game Reserve in Botswana, but this is a far more destitute reserve and you have to be totally self-sufficient to visit the reserve on a self-drive safari.
The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park consists of the old Kalahari Gemsbok National Park of South Africa and the old Gemsbok National Park of Botswana. It is a peace park, and there is no physical boundary between the two countries inside the park. We visited the South African side of the park only, and this section of Africa Nature Photography discusses the park itself, the photographic opportunities and the subjects on offer for photographers on safari in this part of the park. A pleasant surprise indeed!
Please follow one of these links:
General Information on the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
Photography in the Kalahari
The Carnivores (photos)
Larger Plains Mammals(photos)
The Smaller Mammals(photos)
Birds of Prey (photos)
Oops! I almost forgot to mention another big attraction of this park. At night in the camps my wife and I got to meet a number of fellow photographers sharing our passion for this wonderful hobby or career of nature photography, and for the beauty of Africa. We want to thank Johan Joubert, Gerhard and Alida Pitout and Helmut and Eva Pum for the valuable information they were so eager to share, and for their warm friendship. We look forward to seeing each of them in again in future!
It was awesome being able to discuss photography around a campfire after a good day in the field. Sipping on a ice cold Windhoek Lager of course!
If you are interested in the region, and would like to learn more about its wildlife, while at the same time reading a very entertaining story, I can recommend Cry of the Kalahari by Mark and Delia Owens.