West Rand HR host first Photographic Weekend
The West Rand Honorary Rangers recently held their first Photographic Weekend in the Mapungubwe National Park – with much hope that this will become as popular as the birding weekends and a regular fixture on the SANParks calendar!
Thirty-two eager guests arrived at Mapungubwe on Friday 18 September, their cars overflowing with zoom lenses, tripods and cameras of all makes and sizes. After settling into their respective camps (Tshugulu and Leokwe) and having a most welcome dip in the pool, the guests were taken to the Limpopo View Point for sundowners.
The first dinner was served around the pool at Leokwe on Friday night - a real South African braai with pap and sous, home-made sosaties, wors, salad and a 5-star bread-table, followed by cheese cake for dessert. Guests then retired to their chalets to get some sleep and charge their batteries for the early morning start on Saturday.
The guests were divided into smaller groups and taken to various vantage points throughout the day. Unfortunately the weather did not play its part and it was rather cloudy and overcast, but this did not dampen the spirits too much!
Saturday’s sundowners were served at the confluence viewpoint and our guests then came down the hill to the makeshift restaurant which had been set up by the Honorary Rangers at the picnic site. Considering that everything had to be transported to Mapungubwe, the table settings and personal touches looked fantastic and the food was delicious – various potjies, rice, samp and salad, followed by apple pudding and custard.
The guests were treated to an impromptu talk by Stefan Cilliers, (Section Ranger, West) on the elusive Aardvark. Stefan is passionate about this animal and West Rand pledged a donation toward the funding of his project (www.aardvarkafrica.org). An added surprise was that one of the guests (Albert Kopp of Avnet-Kopp) matched that donation with one from his company – thank you so much!
And the giving did not stop there! Every guest received a lucky draw prize kindly donated by our sponsors.
Eric Reisinger (SANParks Photographer based at Head Office) then announced a competition which would be set up on the SANParks website and judged by Eric, with two weekend visits donated by Mapungubwe management as the prizes for the best photographs. Watch this space!
After dinner, guests were transported back to Leokwe and Tshugulu camps and the next morning a few groups took up the offer of another early morning drive before check-out.
Heartfelt thanks to all the guests who participated in this inaugural event – we do hope that everybody enjoyed themselves and will return soon!
West Rand Honorary Rangers would like to thank the staff and management of Mapungubwe for their assistance in getting this project off the ground. We don’t think they knew the scale of this project but they rose to the occasion and supported us with enthusiasm (we think they want us back!).
We would also like to thank Eric Reisinger for giving of his time and experience and making the weekend that much more interesting for the guests – we look forward to seeing the entries in the competition and to having you back at our next weekend! We also had another SANParks representative with us and he probably never got a chance to take any photographs of his own because he spent most of his weekend stocking the bar, carrying tables, loading trailers, setting up chairs, making fires, etc. Joep Stevens (General Manager, Tourism Operations) – thank you for everything that you did for during this event!
The West Rand Honorary Rangers hopes that this photographic weekend can be repeated soon and watch this space for more info! And the other national parks – watch out, we are coming to you too!