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Author:  Des Jacobs

Really good seascape photography is not about expensive equipment or hi-tech methods. You need a decent DSLR camera (any make will do), good lenses and a basic understanding of camera settings. You will need a tripod. Also a wide angle lens. A 10-20mm lens, 10-22mm, 11-16mm or 17-40mm. The basic 18-55mm lens or similar lens will also do the trick.

It is not compulsory but it is wise to invest in lens filters to attach to the lens to get more special effects. Personally, I think a Circular Polarizing Filter is a must when working with water. Not only will it get rid of reflections in the water but also darken the whole scene a bit to be able to work with slower shutter speeds. An ND8 filter will also come in handy when doing water photography as it gives you a much slower shutter speed when not working in shady or overcast conditions.

Des Jacobs Photography

If you really want to be artistic you can try a ND400 or ND500 filter. With this, you will be able to use shutter speeds of 2 minutes or even longer depending on the light conditions available. Make sure you buy the correct size filter for your lens.

Most of the time your timer function on your camera will work fine to limit camera shake but if going for longer shutter speeds than 30 seconds you will need a remote to trigger the shutter.

Des Jacobs Photography

Work with the weather. Make sure you know what the weather will be like when you do the planning for your photo shoot. I use a website called www.yr.no for most of my weather forecasts when I plan a shoot. It will give an indication on what kind of clouds there will be if it will rain etc. Also, make sure you know at what hour the sun will rise or set. Try to avoid very windy days. The chances are good that your photos will blur because of camera shake. Early morning before sunrise and late afternoons with sunset are the best times to photograph seascapes. Make sure you are at your ideal spot at least 20-30 minutes before sunrise or sunset.

Camera Settings

I like using “Aperture” mode when doing seascape photography. This way I can decide on what my depth of field must be. Normally I choose a wide depth of field so that everything in the photo will be sharp and in focus. With a 10-20mm lens, I normally set the aperture to F/11. The camera will decide for itself what the shutter speed will be according to the available light. Before sunrise and after sunset the shutter speed will be very slow and during the day, while the sun is shining the shutter speed will be very fast. I like doing seascape photography in the early mornings and late afternoons. Personally, I like the colours during the golden hour. I also like the slower shutter speed effects on the water.

Des Jacobs Photography

Try to get a good composition before taking the photo. A nice rock in the foreground, a piece of driftwood or something else that will make the photo interesting. Make sure to set the focus on this subject. Also, make sure the ISO is set to 100 when doing this kind of photography.

www.desjacobsphotography.co.za

Authors: Annelie & Neil Pretorius

Wow! I don’t even know where to begin. This place is just magnificent and exceeded all our expectations and more.

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is situated in the Kalahari Desert region of South Africa and Botswana and is about a nine-hour drive from Pretoria on the N14.

A few years ago my husband came across a Facebook group called Kgalagadi Sightings where visitors to the park posted their personal photos of their experience in the park. We fell in love with it and could not get enough of the photos of all the lion, cheetah, leopard and spotted hyena.
 

So we started planning our two-week trip to the South African side of the park mid-2015. We decided to visit the park during April/May 2016 as it was is just after the rain season and temperatures were bearable and the evenings a bit cooler. We started buying our camping gear … As it was our first visit to the park, we decided to book accommodation at the three main fenced rest camps namely Twee Rivieren, Nossob and Mata-Mata, and to do a three-night, four day 4×4 eco-guided tour en route to Nossob.All these rest camps comprise of very neat ablutions and laundry areas and even have electricity connectivity. Twee Rivieren has a restaurant and tiny shop and there is cell phone reception too.

Our holiday began on 22 April; we left Centurion very early that morning. We checked in at Twee Rivieren for the next 2 nights and days. Twee Rivieren is situated on the bank of the dry Nossob Riverbed. We travelled up the Nossob River bed between Twee Rivieren Camp and Nossob Camp, we left our camp early at 07:00 and was surprised to see 2 lionesses’ on the dunes not long after we left our camp, we stopped for a few minutes, but they disappeared behind the dunes and we decided to drive on, 10 minutes later we came across a few cars in the road, next to the road a lioness and her 2 cubs was drinking water in a puddle, I was ecstatic to see the 2 cubs so close to our car. The highlight was when I noticed the most beautiful lions walking in the direction of the mom and cubs, went and paused for a rest period on one of the Kalahari’s idyllic red dunes with the morning sun in his face, I snapped so many photos of that beautiful moment. We saw big herds of springbok, oryx, blesbuck, blue wildebeest mainly travelling on their own, vultures, a small group of meerkat playing, but no hyena, cheetah or leopard sightings.

We stayed another night at Twee Rivieren and from there, prior to our visit to the park we booked a 3 night, 4 day guided 4×4 eco trail group tour across the red dunes to Nossob, where we stayed at 3 unfenced camps, without electricity, running water and a long drop toilet, but that was all part of the experience. During our trip, we were taught a lot about the dunes, fauna and flora in the Kalahari desert. I definitely recommend the eco-tour. We didn’t see lots of game but saw ostrich, kudu, lion and lots of birds.

On day 6 we arrived at Nossob camp, we started the day off by just relaxing at camp for a change. The following morning, we left early to see if we could spot some hyena, as we were informed at reception that there is a den not far from camp, so we headed in the direction of Polentswa waterhole. We didn’t drive far and came across 3 lions having an early morning nap in the sun on the road near Bedinkt waterhole. We couldn’t believe it, we were the first car to view the sighting and had the 3 all to ourselves for nearly 20 minutes. We drove off and had coffee and nice rusks in the bakkie at one of the many waterholes along the road, before driving back to the camp for an afternoon nap. The following morning, we left as the gates opened at 07:00, made sure we are the first vehicle to exit.

Today is the day we are going to spot some hyena I told my husband, full of optimism we left and drove for about 10km next to the Nossob riverbed heading again in the direction of Polentswa waterhole when I spotted 2 creatures in the distance walking very fast, grabbed the binoculars and yes, it’s 2 hyena. I was in my element as I have never seen a hyena in the wild. We drove to get ahead of them, but they were still very far in the distance walking in the riverbed, and then they turned towards us and walked straight up to our bakkie and sniffed on the bakkie’s tires. What and awesome experience to see them so up and close. My day was made! Once again we headed to a waterhole and had our daily coffee and rusks in the bakkie before we drove on for some more game viewing and came back around 15:00 and set up camp and lit the fire. Nothing can compare to the peace and quiet and the night sky in the Kgalagadi with distant jackal calls in the distance.

On day 8 we headed to Mata-Mata, situated on the bank of the Auob River, this side of the park borders Namibia to the west. Mata-Mata offer 2 hour long guided night drives, we saw bat-eared foxes, muskeljaatkat, spring-hare, scrub hare, Cape fox, African wildcat, jackal and night owls and lots of antelope. The rest of our trip we stayed at Mata-Mata and travelled up and down the Auob Riverbed  and saw Masego the famous young leopard hunt an African wildcat in a tree next to the road after exploring various trees looking for prey, we followed her on this particular day for more than an hour between Dertiende and Veertiende boorgat.

The riverbed is also home to large herds of giraffe and we came across them everyday sightseeing, we saw Masego the leopard almost every day. One morning on our daily route we saw 2 hyena walking in the direction of Veertiende boorgat and followed them slowly, they reached the waterhole and both jumped in the water trying to cool off while drinking water. This was so interesting to watch as they were playing. Like at Nossob they walked straight up to our bakkie and sniffed on the wheels but this time biting at it with their sharp teeth, my husband had to pull away to avoid any damages to the tires. We spent the last two days at Twee Rivieren before heading back to Pretoria. During our trip, we were lucky enough to see a total of 32 lions, some leopard and two cheetahs in the distance near Mata-Mata, among others.

All three rest camps have little shops with all necessaries, a petrol station to refuel. Twee Rivieren and Nossob have swimming pools. We bought delicious freshly baked “rooster brood” every night while at Mata-Mata and Nossob. You can place your order at the shops in the morning and collect your items after 06:00. At Mata-Mata there is a little shop across the border on the Namibian side that sells delicious lamb chops and boerewors at a very good price. You are allowed to cross the border without a passport to visit the shop, just inform the security at the border.

Kgalagadi is an absolute must for bird lovers, we saw yellow-billed kite, black-breasted snake eagle, tawny eagles, bateleur, pale chanting goshawk, lanner falcon, Namaqua sand grouse, Namaqua Dove, spotted eagle owl, veer aux eagle owl and tow species of vultures. The camps are also home to yellow mongoose and ground squirrels. They are not shy at all and will even walk up to your camp chair if you sit very still. One even tried to take a dead butterfly out of my hand! Big herds of gemsbok and springbok can be spotted throughout the park along the roads and at waterholes. Unfortunately, we didn’t see meerkat up close, but maybe next time.

I can definitely say that this breakaway to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park was and will be remembered as one of our most memorable and relaxed holidays yet. We returned revitalised and the park definitely exceeded our expectations. The staff is friendly, fellow campers greet you in the morning on your way to the ablutions and on the roads. People are very considerate and everyone gets a chance to view a sighting. We are already planning our next trip with friends to the Botswana side of the park this year April. We cannot wait to put our feet in the sand and get that overwhelming feeling of joy that comes with it.

Authors: Dave van Graan and Ista van Zyl

Dave van Graan, a 60-year-old resident from Louis Trichardt in South Africa, is walking the length of Namibia to raise awareness on rhino poaching.

His journey by foot, with only his trolley – which he named Bart Mobile – as company, started on 30 November 2016 at Sendelingdrift. Dave’s friend, Koos Moorcroft, founder of  AAPS (Africa anti-poaching services) is in constant contact with him to ensure that he is well and doesn’t need anything.

The last time I spoke to him before writing the article was on 17 January 2017.  At that time he was in the  Uis/Khorixas area where it was extremely hot and dry.

He still had 450 kilometers to go to reach is destination – the Kunene River at the Angola border – if everything goes according to plan we will be back in South Africa by mid-February 2017…

Dave had a message to our readers and all his supporters: Get up, get out and live your dream.  Do not limit your challenges, challenge your limits!

Here are some of the highlights from his trip to date, and some of the people he met along the way.

2 December 2016

I am on my way at last. Left yesterday morning at 1:30 from Rosh Pinah. My first town will be Aus which is 163kms away. During the day the temperature is in the high 30’s and at night it is 11 degrees. Yesterday the whole area was covered in mist.

3 December 2016

My first hot meal in three days! Bully beef is king. Bitter black tea to wash it down. Eish, I forgot to pack the coffee and condensed milk.

6 December 2016

Seymore Jonker and his party met up with me! Luckily Zelda spotted my afternoon rest camp where I was hiding from the sun.

11 December 201

Between Aus and Helmeringhausen. It was a really tough section. Thick sand, heat, cold and a 30 km uphill are some of the handicaps I had to endure. It is one of the most panoramic areas I have seen in years, but photographs don’t justice to the scenery. Pack your car or book a tour and come and visit the Southern parts of Namibia.

The guys far left and far right are South Africans who traveled from the UKand are on their way to Cape Town. We had a chat and they cannot believe what I am doing. Just look at the size of those boertjies!

17 December 2016

The section between Helmeringhausen via Betta to Wereldend.

Disaster struck at four in the morning. Both axels broke simultaneously! It took me a few hours to devise a plan but I eventually got on the road again.

Grossberg en route to Betta.

Koos Moorkroft and his lovely wife, Issie, visited me for two nights. Across the road, one can see Koos’s Land Cruiser house. Braai, stew, and plenty of beer. Thanks, guys it was an absolute pleasure having you here.

21 December 2016

The section between Wereldend and Sossusvlei.

My camp at a place called Toekoms, which means “future”. Although I cannot see a future as a farmer here, they are farming with sheep and game.

23 December 2016

I encounter Chelsey White and Nico Knight, who are currently walking from the Orange River near Rosh Pina to the Kunene to raise awareness and money for Africa Anti-Poaching Services to help protect what is left of our rhino population. The are covering 1 870kms in temperatures of 40 degrees plus! They are by far the bravest of them all here in Nam.

24 December 2016

Graeme Mouton says – thanks for creating awareness in Namibia. Some like to walk…

25 December 2016

The section between Sossusvlei and Solitaire.

I am proud to say that I have completed the first 600km. Next will be the formidable tough section of 230km from Solitaire to Walvisbay. I will cross the Gaub and Kuiseb canyons which have steep descends and ascends. I think this part of the route will take around 12 days to finish. I have arranged with Solitaire guest farm to send me some water with tourist who will travel my way

Christmas eve braai in the desert with the owners and friends from the Solitaire guest farm. The following photos were taken with a drone camera. What an amazing part of the world!

29 December 2016

The section between Solitaire and Kuiseb Canyon.

Still, a long way to go. Desert and more desert…

1 January 2017

Hanlie Ackerman and Ludwig Geyser: As promised – another visit to Dave van Graan on our bikes! (28th Dec 2016 and promised beer ) We met up about 10km north of Tropic of Capricorn between Walvisbay and Solitaire. Man, this is not an easy ride – the road is terrible! Dave really has perseverance – always a smile and a quick joke to tell – if you happen to spot him on his journey to the Kunene River, stop and support this cause – AAPS

2 January 2017

The section from the Kuiseb to Walvisbay.

Had to tie my tent to the water cans because of the strong wind.

Arranged all the way from Australia and hand-delivered to me in the desert. Thanks, guys. It was a nice touch.

6 January 2017

From Walvisbaai to MondesaWindpomp 14

Dune 7 Adventures where one can do quad bike trips.

My desert camp between Walvisbay and Swakopmund.

13 January 2017

Dave’s visit to Windpomp 14 made the local newspaper

14 January 2017

The area between Windpomp 14 and Uis

Apparently the smallest municipality in the southern hemisphere. Only five permanent households living here. But come holiday time and the place is packed.

I thought I was tough doing this walk until I met a girl from Germany. She came through West Africa, toured through countries such as Mali, Nigeria, Congo and now Namibia, all by herself. Now that is tough. You humbled me. Enjoy your trip and remember I have a place for you to stay and a big steak waiting for you at Camp Africa in Louis Trichardt on your way back up East Africa.

17 January 2017

Dave has been suffering from severe blisters since day 3 of his journey, he says pain is now his new best friend.

I intentionally chose the road passing Anixab near the Ugab River in the hope of seeing some elephants but I didn’t bargain on getting this close – a bit scary when you are on foot…

This is what Dave looks like after a long day of walking is extreme conditions. He says he is still positive, but this walk is getting long now…

Hopefully, in the next edition, Dave will tell us his whole story!

Dave van Graan, we salute you!