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18. February 2017 15:02
by Rene Pallesen
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South Africa - Kruger National Park

18. February 2017 15:02 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

In South Africa we did two days in the Kruger National Park.The first day we hired a private guide t
In South Africa we did two days in the Kruger National Park.

The first day we hired a private guide to take us around in a 4WD and the second day we did a self drive.

With the guide we were lucky enough to spot all the Big 5 (Elephants, Lion, Leopard, Buffalo and Rhino). The advantage of a guide is that they are in constant radio communications with all the other cars and therefore can track the animals. On this day it was very hot and a lot of the animals were hiding in the bush and it seemed that we spotted all the animals and called it in to the other cars.



Having the private guide was a massive advantage as we could spend the time as we wanted, so we didn't spend much time on say elephants, but we did spend 45 minutes stalking a lion hoping it would get too hot under a bush and get out into the clear.

The second day we went it was raining and a lot more challenging, but we still spotted some that we didn't see the first day.

Camera wise I knew it would be a challenge to get good photos with a normal lens and didn't have the budget or justification to spend on a fast long lens. Instead all the photos in this post were taken with my 80-200 f2.8 with a 2x teleconverter. I used my tripod as a monopod and the guide was great at moving the car into spots where I had a clear line of sight (another advantage of not having to consider other passengers).

Here are the Big 5 we spotted.

Leopard:



Lion:



Rhinos:





Elephants:













African Buffalos:





And here are some of the others such as Zebras:







Hyenas:





Giraffes:





Impalas:





Kudu:





Waterbucks:



Wothhogs:





Baboons:





Monkeys:



Guinea Fowl:



African Fishing Eagles:



Storks:



Marabous:



Turtles (These ones are predators):



Weaver birds:



Chameleons:




17. February 2017 16:02
by Rene Pallesen
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South Africa - Panorama Route

17. February 2017 16:02 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

On the first day in northern South Africa we drove the Panorama route. This is a beautiful drive up
On the first day in northern South Africa we drove the Panorama route. This is a beautiful drive up through the mountains and is full of scenic views of the Blyde River Canyon and waterfalls.

The most famous place is Bourkes Potholes.







And the Pinacle







But everywhere is full of beautiful scenery



3. February 2017 08:02
by Rene Pallesen
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Zimbabwe - Flying out

3. February 2017 08:02 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

Leaving Zimbabwe we had the experience of the aircraft (an old B737) breaking down with engine probl
Leaving Zimbabwe we had the experience of the aircraft (an old B737) breaking down with engine problems prior to our departure. Although this is not uncommon, most international airports would have a team of aircraft mechanics along with spare parts to fix problems.



Victoria Falls do not have all the same facilities due to the low volume of aircraft, so in our case the pilot and co-pilot stepped up and went out to fix the problem themselves. With just a two hour delay we were back underway.



I doubt a pilot from a big international airline would step up and get his hands dirty or even have the skills to fix basic and common problems....credit go to bush pilots!

1. February 2017 15:02
by Rene Pallesen
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Zimbabwe - Victoria Falls

1. February 2017 15:02 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

The main reason why we made the trip up to Zimbabwe was that our trip to South Africa would be our b
The main reason why we made the trip up to Zimbabwe was that our trip to South Africa would be our best opportunity to see and experience the Victoria Falls (and also give Kim and the boys to opportunity to visit another African country).





It is an amazing sight as the entire area around the falls is completely flat. The Zambezi river is at the point of the fall over a kilometer wide and the entire river suddenly drops into this narrow gorge.







The falls themselves are on the Zambian side of the border, and most of the lookouts are on the Zimbabwe side.

The effect is that the water spray gets pushed several hundred meters into the air above the gorge and creates a perpetual plume of rain clouds and spray making it impossible to stay dry.

This also meant that it was a challenge to keep my camera gear dry. I did bring a waterproof case for my camera, but after a few minutes a stopped using it because I couldn't mount the camera on a tripod at the same time. Instead I opted for covering the camera with a microfibre towel that somewhat helped, but otherwise I had to rely on the weather sealing on the Nikon camera and lenses.

To make it easier to dry we had dressed the boys ourselves in rash and sports shirts. This dried very quickly after getting wet unlike cotton clothing. We did bring some disposable ponchos but only Kim used hers a little.






















31. January 2017 13:01
by Rene Pallesen
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Zimbabwe - Big (Baobab) Tree

31. January 2017 13:01 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

Just outside Victoria Falls there is this Baobab tree that they keep showing to tourists (behind fen
Just outside Victoria Falls there is this Baobab tree that they keep showing to tourists (behind fencing so tourists don't vandalise it). We were brought there on the way to the Boma restaurant because the other people in the bus wanted to see it.

They all went Ooooh and Ahhh by seeing it, but I must say that it is neither big or beautiful as far as Baobab trees go...even the fig trees here in Australia are bigger (and better looking).


31. January 2017 12:01
by Rene Pallesen
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Zimbabwe & Zambia - Sunset cruise on the Zambezi River

31. January 2017 12:01 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

In the evening we booked a sunset cruise on the Zambezi river.It was a beautiful calm evening and th
In the evening we booked a sunset cruise on the Zambezi river.





It was a beautiful calm evening and the boat slowly cruised in and out between the river islands within Zimbabwe and Zambia. In the distance there were clouds and rain forming beautiful rainbows.



There were lots of hippos around and we also spotted a couple of crocodiles and other wildlife. This time of the year there weren't any elephants as they don't need to go to the river during the rain season.











30. January 2017 14:01
by Rene Pallesen
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Zimbabwe - Instant Billionaires

30. January 2017 14:01 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

One thing about Zimbabwe was that everything is quite expensive for tourists in Victoria falls.Back
One thing about Zimbabwe was that everything is quite expensive for tourists in Victoria falls.

Back in 2008/09 the whole economy collapsed and the local currency was worth less than the paper it was printed on. As a result the entire country started using stable currencies such as US dollars.

In Victoria falls this means that everything is paid for in US dollars and since everything is more or less government controlled they try to milk tourists for as much hard currency as they possibly can.

As a result most tourists stay for a shorter duration as they probably would otherwise which is a pity as the benefits of tourism isn't shared with the rest of the country.

The country also has all the typical African inefficiencies and illogical processes which I experienced back in my days in East Africa, but which greatly annoyed Kim.

She was however greatly amused when I came back after a walk telling her that I had made her an instant billionaire - with the note here held by Aiden with a smug on his face.


30. January 2017 13:01
by Rene Pallesen
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Arriving to Zimbabwe

30. January 2017 13:01 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

During the break we decided to make a trip to South Africa and on the way do a quick detour to the V
During the break we decided to make a trip to South Africa and on the way do a quick detour to the Victoria falls on the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia.

The first evening we book dinner at Boma restaurant. Even though it is a bit touristy (everything around the falls are) they promised a buffet dinner with various game meat and dancing/drumming.





On the menu was Mopani worms, Wort Hog, Elan, Guinea Foul and spit Lamb.






Poor little Lucas was so tired that he fell asleep in the car there and slept the whole way through.
Although Aiden was tired he did enjoy the experience (in his silly fashion).



The drumming was very interactive and the dinner guests could join in.



Good start to the trip.





19. December 2016 13:12
by Rene Pallesen
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Christmas family photo 2016 - Naughty Elves

19. December 2016 13:12 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

It has been another year and again Merry Christmas 2016.Following the tradition I have created anoth
It has been another year and again Merry Christmas 2016.

Following the tradition I have created another family photo for this year. Aiden and Lucas are growing older and also more naughty, so this year we decided to do something different and let the parents have a quiet evening while we let the boys 'hang out' together.


9. December 2016 17:02
by Rene Pallesen
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Botany Bay walk

9. December 2016 17:02 by Rene Pallesen | 0 Comments

There are some interesting areas around Botany Bay. One of the is the old WWII cannon positions and
There are some interesting areas around Botany Bay. One of the is the old WWII cannon positions and ammunition bunkers along the coast line to protect against Japanese invasions.

We have been there quite a few time and here are some of the photos from our last walk there.

 



















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