I had to pinch myself. Many times. My top of the bucket list moment had arrived and I still couldn’t believe it.  Face to face with an angry elephant telling our safari truck to get lost, in no uncertain terms, was a moment I’ll treasure forever. And breaking down in the Klaserie reserve in the Greater Kruger National Park with a broken prop shaft awaiting rescue as dusk closed in, being served sundowners in hostile territory, another stand out. Or walking through a lion prides’ patch of the Kruger with two armed rangers in the dawn light, nervously aware I was a tasty trespasser for who knew what, was unforgettable.  Our self drive safari in the Kruger Park and our three day private safari in Gomo Gomo Game Lodge in the Klaserie lived up to every expectation, and then some.

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This safari was why I had bought a Tamron 100-400mm f/4.5-6.3 VC USD lens, featured in my last post when I weighed it up against much more expensive options from Canon. This post is to show some photos of the safari and the performance I got from the lens. I was really pleased with it and consider it a bargain.

Mostly I shot at ISO 400 and above to get a faster shutter speed and to hit the lens’ various sweet spots, between f8 and f11. The wider open apertures were also very good and sharp. Any photos which were unsharp were due to mistakes on my part, rushing the shot, having too slow a shutter speed etc.

Oliphants river, dawn, in Kruger National Park
Oliphants river, dawn, in Kruger National Park
A kudu, the most beautiful of the Kruger antelopes, with red-billed oxpeckers
A kudu, the most beautiful of the Kruger antelopes, with red-billed oxpeckers

I found that bumping around in the back of a safari vehicle and trying to focus challenging, even when we had come to a stop to watch animals, as you never know who else in the vehicle is going to move around and make it rock. Doing the self drive part of the safari was easier as I could pick the moment, turn off the engine, and rest the lens on the window frame. I had bought Tamron’s expensive tripod collar imagining my tripod would be a necessity on such an expedition. I didn’t use it once, hand holding being a much faster, easier option.

I hope you like the photos. I regret not seeing a male lion or a kill, but I am now hooked on safaris. Botswana looks pretty awesome . . .

Thrilled to see and capture this leopard, my favourite of all the animals
Thrilled to see and capture this leopard
Elephant a bit pissed off with pesky tourists, b/w version
Elephant a bit pissed off with pesky tourists
The elegant giraffe
The elegant giraffe
Vervet monkey in Kruger National Park
Vervet monkey in Kruger National Park
Fish eagle in skeleton tree, name given for trees killed by elephants
Fish eagle in skeleton tree, name given for trees killed by elephants
Spotted hyena in Kruger National Park
Spotted hyena in Kruger National Park
Zebra mother and foal in  Kruger National Park
Zebra mother and foal in Kruger National Park
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Red-billed quelea, the most populous bird in Africa. There are 30 million in the Kruger Park alone.
Morning walk with armed rangers, Kruger National Park
Morning walk with armed rangers, Kruger National Park
Dingaan, Zuluranger, Kruger National Park
Dingaan, Lower Sabie in Kruger National Park
Waterbuck in Kruger National Park
Waterbuck in Kruger National Park
Waterbuck in Kruger National Park
Male waterbuck in Kruger National Park
Scene of our breakdown were we had sundowners
Scene of our breakdown were we had sundowners

IMG_6226Nyeti, our tracker at Gomo Gomo Game Lodge

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The hippo, the most dangerous animal in Africa, said to kill 500 people a year
On the move
On the move

Lilac-breasted rollerLilac-breasted roller

Elephant mating in Kruger National Park

Maribou stalk, one of the "ugly five"
Maribou stalk, one of the “ugly five”
Fish eagle in skeleton tree, name given for trees killed by elephants
Fish eagle in skeleton tree, name given for trees killed by elephants
Hangin' out
Hangin’ out
Oliphants rest camp with spectacular views over the river and bush
Oliphants rest camp with spectacular views over the river and bush
Brown snake eagle
Brown snake eagle
Big kitten
Big kitten
Zebra in  Kruger National Park
Zebra in Kruger National Park
Elephant in Kruger National Park
Tusk and a half in Kruger National Park
Family group at Olifants Rest Camp
Family group at Olifants Rest Camp

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