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 Post subject: Mapungubwe: Photography Advice
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 12:40 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Location: York (UK) & Nelspruit
Going to Mapungubwe in a 4x4 in early January for 5 nights (3 at Limpopo, 2 at Leokwe) :dance: and while I know it's a great time for birding, I'm looking for any advice on great phot :cam: graphy spots either from camps, hides, lookout points or the road, are there specific huts that are better than others, is it worth doing a night drive from those who have done one etc etc

I have a range of lenses for all kinds of work from 10mm fish-eye up to 500mm telephoto so I'm looking for landscapes and wildlife. And before anyone mentions it, yes I am aware of the sanp photography and filming rules and regulations :rtfm: and no I do not sell my work.

Can't wait to hit this much-talked-about park and any advice would be most appreciated...cheers 8)

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- Mopani 21 to 23 Dec
- Shimuwini 30 Dec to 1 Jan
- Punda Maria 2 Jan
- Limpopo Tented Camp 3 to 5 Jan
- Leokwe 6 to 7 Jan


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 Post subject: Re: Photography in Mapungubwe
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:18 am 
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Senior Virtual Ranger
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Hi wondercloak. I know more about Mapungubwe than about photography but you're definately in for a treat.

In the Western Section the Maloutswa hide is an obvious winner. Last summer the surrounding wetland resembled paradise full of water lilies and other pretty stuff. You might even get a Pygmy Goose or two in your shot. Bird photography in general should be awesome here in January. As for wildlife, you need to be a bit more lucky in summer but the lower parts of both sections should definately provide some ellies, eland, gemsboks and other antelopes. Recently part of the veterenarian border fence with Botswana has been removed, providing awesome photo ops for the gallery forest along the river drive. Since you have a 4x4 you should also try the ecoroute in the Western section but you might have to backtrack - since the loop is inpassable at some stage.

The Eastern Section is the (even) more scenic and historic part of the park. Confluence, tree top walk, poachers corner, Kongoni loop and Kanniedood loop are obvious point for landscape - but don't forget to book the heritage tour: even if the fascinating history of the place does not interest you, the views from Mapungubwe Hill are amazing (especially in summer)! For the rest just sit next to the splash pool at Leokwe: you can probably take some of the most scenic photos from in the water... 8)


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 Post subject: Re: Photography in Mapungubwe
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 10:09 am 
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Like Joel said.
In the western section you won't find a better spot than the Maloutswa hide. In the drier months you'll see loads of impala, zebra, eland, kudu, elephant, baboons, monkey, some giraffe, bushbuck etc. coming down to drink all day long. During the rainy season it becomes a floodplain with the best birding opportunities.

In the eastern section you'll find loads of landscape shots at almost every place you stop. The rocky hills, baobabs etc make for wonderful panoramas. The hide overlooking the Limpopo on the tree top walk is great for birding but not so great for photos. Subjects are usually a bit far away. Another nice spot for animals might be Zebra pan. No hide there but if you're there at the right time you should get some good stuff.

In between the two sections you've got the newly acquired Samaria which hosts the Den Staat wetlands. It should be excellent for some of the waders and other waterfowl. Not sure if it is open for the public yet.

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 Post subject: Re: Photography in Mapungubwe
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 1:46 pm 
Thanks JoelR and Johann…this is great info!
In November we are treating ourselves big time with 3 nights at Tshugulu Lodge (consolation for giving up Kgalagadi this year :lol: )
The first day we will be travelling from Punda Maria to Mapungubwe….so we will actually only have two full days to explore the park….I suppose it will be logical to then spend one day in the west and one day in the east?
How long will it take for us to get from Tshugulu Lodge to the treetop walk?


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 Post subject: Re: Photography in Mapungubwe
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 2:08 pm 
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Jumbo wrote:
How long will it take for us to get from Tshugulu Lodge to the treetop walk?

From Tshugulu it takes 10 minutes to the tar road, then 10 minutes to the main gate and then about half an hour to the tree top walk - obviously depending on how fast you drive and how many pangolins you see.

Unfortunately the hide at the end of the tree top walk has been reduced to a fifth of its size after the original hide collapsed when the Limpopo came down in full force last summer. Still an awesome place but try to avoid the crowds!


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 Post subject: Re: Photography in Mapungubwe
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 2:14 pm 
JoelR wrote:
obviously depending on how fast you drive and how many pangolins you see.


:big_eyes: :dance: :mrgreen:
Oh, who needs to walk between treetops anyway….

Thanks again for some great info!


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 Post subject: Re: Photography in Mapungubwe
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 6:20 pm 
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Excellent, thank you Joel and Johan. Looking forward to spending plenty of time at Maloutswa and also finding some baobabs for some landscape work.

If anyone has any other advice from their experiences then I'd love to hear it, especially whether the night drives are worth doing or not (not necessarily from a photography point of view).

Jumbo...don't be shy after you've visited in November :wink:

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- Mopani 21 to 23 Dec
- Shimuwini 30 Dec to 1 Jan
- Punda Maria 2 Jan
- Limpopo Tented Camp 3 to 5 Jan
- Leokwe 6 to 7 Jan


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 Post subject: Re: Photography in Mapungubwe
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 7:20 pm 
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wondercloak wrote:
...especially whether the night drives are worth doing or not (not necessarily from a photography point of view).

Sorry, forgot about the night drives. It is very much worth it! Leopards are regularly spotted and you have quite a real chance of seeing aardvark or even brown hyena. There is a troop of baboons that can be seen sleeping on a cliff face which is also pretty special. Birders can hope for a three-banded courser in the road.


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 Post subject: Re: Photography in Mapungubwe
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 11:31 pm 
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Sold! :wink:

I really hope that the drives have improved since some of the reports on here though.

Just one question though Joel, I understand the night drives run from the main gate...so if you want to do a drive do you have to get yourself there and back in the dark? Not that I'm complaining or worried...just want to know the process.

Oh yes, and what is the size of the vehicles they take out - those hideously big trucks or a normal safari 4x4?

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- Mopani 21 to 23 Dec
- Shimuwini 30 Dec to 1 Jan
- Punda Maria 2 Jan
- Limpopo Tented Camp 3 to 5 Jan
- Leokwe 6 to 7 Jan


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 Post subject: Re: Photography in Mapungubwe
Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 7:49 am 
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wondercloak wrote:
I really hope that the drives have improved since some of the reports on here though.

I know most of the guides personally and like any of us they have good days and bad days in the office. I was paging through the visitors book on my last visit in September and saw more positive comments than ever before. Gedeon, for example, spotted leopard, caracal and white rhino on a single night drive... :shock:

wondercloak wrote:
Just one question though Joel, I understand the night drives run from the main gate...so if you want to do a drive do you have to get yourself there and back in the dark? Not that I'm complaining or worried...just want to know the process.

Hehe, to me that would be great because then you could do your own free night drive back to camp! But as far as I know the night drives start from the camps.

wondercloak wrote:
Oh yes, and what is the size of the vehicles they take out - those hideously big trucks or a normal safari 4x4?

I believe the park recently got hold of a number of handsome 9-seaters, definately not the "hideous big trucks" they use in a lot of big camps in Kruger.


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 Post subject: Re: Photography in Mapungubwe
Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 9:58 am 
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I get really envious when I see posts like this! I have not been to a place with such diverse options for photographers. Either for landscape, or birds and animals. The Western section has some amazing areas of weathered rock which offer great colour contrasts in late afternoon light. Maloutswa hide also offers some good opportunities for uncommon birds. These are some pics I took during December 07.
Image
One of the viewing decks at the Confluence viewpoint
Image
Image
Image
One unlucky frog, one happy bird!
Image
Maloutswa hide argument
Image


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 Post subject: Re: Photography in Mapungubwe
Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 10:16 am 
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Great photo's Dave, especially the Roller!

Wondercloak and Jumbo - I am :mrgreen: ! Hope we get to see some of your photographs on the Forum.

Tshugulu Lodge has the most amazing setting. Did not stay there ourselves and probably never will, but we stumbled upon the camp while doing the Eco 4x4 trail in January 2007.

Mapungubwe, especially in summer, is a photographer's dream - the different shades of green, the flowers, the multitude of birds, the rock formations and the boababs - we took dozens of photo's of boababs - every tree you see looks different and more special than the one before!

Enjoy!!


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 Post subject: Re: Photography in Mapungubwe
Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 10:34 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Don't worry naomi..I'll bore you all with the endless bird and baobab shots :wink:

Tshugulu looks nice but we're staying at Limpopo and Leokwe...though as we're taking a 4x4 we'll hopefully also be able to 'stumble upon' the odd gem.

Thanks for sharing the photo's Dave. Did you or anyone find the treetop walk any good for photography or is it like Johan said and are the birds etc too far away for, say, a 500mm lens?

Joel - this is why I asked the question......

Quote:
all the activities start from the Main Entrance Gate (Reception)


was part of my reply from the park when I enquired about drives :huh:

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- Mopani 21 to 23 Dec
- Shimuwini 30 Dec to 1 Jan
- Punda Maria 2 Jan
- Limpopo Tented Camp 3 to 5 Jan
- Leokwe 6 to 7 Jan


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 Post subject: Re: Photography in Mapungubwe
Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 10:48 am 
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wondercloak wrote:
Joel - this is why I asked the question......

Quote:
all the activities start from the Main Entrance Gate (Reception)


was part of my reply from the park when I enquired about drives :huh:

Oh, strange. I have done night drives from Leokwe. Maybe they start from the main gate if guests from both western and eastern section book the night drive? I would still be surprised if they let people drive through the park themselves after sunset. You'll have to clear this up on arrival, I am afraid.


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 Post subject: Re: Photography in Mapungubwe
Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 10:55 am 
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wondercloak you will have an awesome time!! :mrgreen:

I have been there in winter and summer and both are great for photo opportunities… trust me I took 1000’s of photos! :roll:
Unfortunately for me the hide did not produce much chance for photos, as most of the birds were a bit far… BUT I must say that it was at the end of winter so the water levels were very low and the pools of water that were left were quite a distance away.

Stayed in Limpopo forest tented camp and Leokwe and it is beautiful from both these camps. Also the confluence point and all the other places Joel, Johann etc mentioned. Another spot is a little dam just as jou past the main gate and turn to your right... you will also have a nice view of the Voortrekker koppie from there.

The nightdrive… well I won’t really comment on that because unfortunately had a bad experience, but as Joel said hopefully that is sorted now. I do however know that the sunset and the scenery on the drive (while still light enough too see) is absolutely awesome! You most probably will get nice shots with the baobabs and the sunset 8)

We stayed in Limpopo TC and had to drive to the main gate for the drive, and then had to drive back alone later. I suggest if possible take a good spotlight with AND be careful… although exciting (and scary) the elephants love that ‘forest’ part around the camp at night so be on the look out! O yes and you must open the 'gate' yourselves.... LOL we waited for quite sometime and no one pitched... so i had do jump out quickly and make a dash for it. Afterwards it seems that it is actually what everyone does :?

You must have a stunning trip!

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