2015, 01 African Safari Photos from South Africa and Namibia-Newsletter

Renner Safaris

Dream, Explore, Discover

Our photo safaris to South Africa were designed with an emphasis on photographing the big cats along with the rest of the “Big Five”. We were thrilled with the wildlife we encountered! Leopards and lions were in abundance! We found between15 and 20 leopards during the first safari and even watched as a leopard hunted impala on the front lawn of a nearby lodge right in front of those lucky enough to be sitting on the outdoor deck! Unfortunately for the leopard, the impala spotted him before his final attack and they quickly made a hasty escape leaving him hungry that night.

Vigilant Lioness-9033

Lioness Eyeing a Waterbuck

Cheetah Plains, Private Reserve, South Africa

Canon EOS-1D Mark III, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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On game drives our tracker sat in the seat perched out on the front of the safari vehicle so he could read the signs left by animal tracks. We followed lion tracks until we found the pride and watched as they devoured a zebra. Suddenly this young lion took a keen interest in the tracker. The lion locked his eyes on the man and slowly and deliberately walked towards him until it was only three feet in front him! A nervous tension coursed through each of us as the scene unfolded. The tracker slowly lowered his arm and cautiously wrapped his fingers around the handle of a machete that was concealed behind the roll bar on the front of the vehicle. He rattled the handle against the iron roll bar and the lion jumped back and away where he could keep an eye on the tracker.  So much for a big, brave, scary lion! I guess he was just curious.  The blur in the left corner of the photo is from the tracker’s out of focus knee.Lion Eyeing Tracker-7457

Curious Lion

Madikwe Private Reserve, South Africa

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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We came upon this white rhino really enjoying his mud bath. He was so big that his body created loud sucking noises when he rose up from the mud.

White Rhino Mud Bath-1649

White Rhino Enjoying a Mud Bath

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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This leopard was stalking impala in front of a nearby lodge. We drove ahead of him so that when he came out of the thicket, we would be in position to get some good photos. We waited patiently for him. Suddenly, there he was! I noticed he would be coming out of the shadows and hoped he would walk through a shaft of sunlight near the edge of the bushes. By planning ahead and being fortunate that the leopard cooperated, I was ready and snapped the photo just as he emerged from the shadows into the light. They are such gorgousl animals!

Leopard Hunting-

Leopard Emerging from Shadows

Cheetah Plains Private Reserve, South Africa

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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I noticed that each time this elephant took a drink, she would spray water away from her mouth. This was unusual so I watched her closely and discovered that about a foot of her trunk was missing.  Possibly she had had an encounter with a crocodile.

Elephant Spraying Water-2395

Elephant Spraying Water

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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Oxpeckers are birds commonly found on cape buffalo. They feed on ticks and other insects that the buffalo have picked up in the bush.  I don’t know how the buffalo could stand this one digging in his eye but he didn’t seem to be too bothered.

Oxpecker Cleaning Cape Buffalo's Eye-5909


Reb-Billed Oxpecker Cleaning Cap Buffalos Eye

Sabi Sabi Private Reserve, South Africa

Canon EOS-1D Mark III, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

But there is a limit to what one can take. The buffalo couldn’t stand the little bird feet on his face any longer so shook them off.

Cape Buffalo Shaking Off Red-Billed Oxpeckers-4977

Cape Buffalo Shaking Off Red-Billed Oxpeckers

Sabi Sabi Private Reserve, South Africa

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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African Photo Safaris In 2015

Feast your eyes on our upcoming 2015 safaris.

Leopard Eyes-0796

The July 16-August 2 and the August 28 – September 13, 2015, had both been sold out for months but we have had three spaces open up on each of them. Don’t miss this opportunity to join us on one of these amazing safaris. Click on the Itinerary and pricing to see each trip details.

Tanzania and Kenya – 18 days – Birthing Season with the Great Migration  Feb 1-18, 2015 Itinerary and Pricing
Botswana – Photograph in four of Africa’s most exciting wildlife viewing locations.  ( 2 spaces available ) May 12-24, 2015 Itinerary and Pricing
Tanzania and Kenya-17-Days – Season for Great Migration Crossings at the Mara River ( 3 spaces available ) July 16 – Aug.2, 2015 Itinerary and Pricing
Tanzania and Kenya-17-Days – Season for Great Migration Crossings at the Mara River ( 3 spaces available ) Aug. 28 – Sept. 13, 2015 Itinerary and Pricing
Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Trek Sold Out ) Sept. 13 – 17, 2015 Itinerary and Pricing
South Africa Photo Safari ~  ( Sold Out ) Sept 17-Oct 3, 2015 Itinerary and Pricing
 Namibia Photo Safari Sold Out )  Oct. 3-19, 2015 Itinerary and Pricing

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2016 Safari Dates

These are the tentative dates for our 2016 photo safaris.  The safaris often sell out quickly so if you are considering joining us in 2016 send me an email and let me know which trip you are interested in and will add you to the list of “seriously interested”. This is not a commitment on your part so please do not send a deposit at this time. When we receive our 2016 prices, toward the end of April, I will send you the trip information before putting it out to the general public offering you the opportunity to sign up early so you don’t miss out.

Tanzania and Kenya – Birthing Season with the Great Migration  Feb 7-24, 2016
Botswana – Photograph in four of Africa’s most exciting wildlife viewing locations. May 09-24, 2016
Tanzania – Season for Great Migration Crossings at the Mara River July 10 – 26, 2016
Tanzania and Kenya – Season for Great Migration Crossings at the Mara River Aug. 28 – Sept. 13, 2016
Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Trek  Sept. 13 – 17, 2016
South Africa Photo Safari  Sept 17-Oct 3, 2016
 Namibia Photo Safari  Oct. 3-19, 2016  

To reserve your space on our photo safaris, please call Paul Renner at (949) 295-3136, or email him at: paulrenner3@cox.net or call Prem Sharma at Best Safaris (800) 757-6625

The above itinerary dates may be subject to change due to accommodation availability at the time of booking.

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On safari we always like finding leopards. On our first afternoon game drive when we found this one asleep by a water hole. We stopped to watch and before long he got up and went for a drink.  What a beautiful sight and super way to begin our safari!

Leopard Reflecting While Drinking-8759Lepard Reflecting

Sabi Sabi Private Reserve, South Africa

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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Leopard on a Limb-9981

Leopard on a Limb

Cheetah Plains Private Reserve, South Africa

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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Baby Elephant Walk-9273

Baby Elephant

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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Elephants and Dust-

Elephants Enjoying a Dust Bath 

Canon EOS-1D Mark III, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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It was a grim reminder of reality when we were informed that the people in the aircraft were counting rhino and elephant in the area because there had recently been a problem with poachers.

Anti Poaching Aircraft-8832

Anti-Poaching Patrol 

Canon EOS-1D Mark III, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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White Rhinos are normally not aggressive but coming face to face with one in the bush it is still intimidating. They are so massive and weigh in at about three tons.

White Rhino-0933

White Rhino 

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF 70-200 mm f/2.8L IS ll USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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In Madikwe Private Reserve, we were tracking lions when suddenly we spotted this odd looking animal. I had never seen a Brown Hyena before but was happy to get some photos of it.  I think it is more elegant than the traditional spotted hyena but looks more similar to the striped hyena.

Brown Hyena-6611

Brown Hyena 

Canon EOS-1D Mark III, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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From the deck of one of our client’s rooms we watched elephants bathing in the watering hole . It was in the middle of the day and the sunlight was harsh but the action in the water was fast and furious.  We had a wonderful time watching them play.

Elephant Bath -0812

Splish Splash Elephant Bath 

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

After drinking their fill, the elephants went to a nearby dusty area for a dust bath. It is all in good clean fun!

Elephants Playing at Water Hole-6841Elephant Dust Bath

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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It was getting dark in Madikwe when our guide took us to where a leopard had been spotted. The leopard had just crossed the road and we watched him walk into a large open space where he disappeared in the darkness. We began searching to see if we could find him again. He had settled down and was resting in a patch of grass. The guide shined a flood light on the animal and we were able to get some interesting shots lit by just the flood light. No flash was used.

Leppard in the Spotlight-2272

Leopard in the Spotlight

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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Our level of anticipation soared when the tracker spotted fresh wild dog tracks in the road! After about a half a mile we saw two of them lying under a bush next to the road. They most often travel in packs and upon looking we discovered the rest of the pack laying nearby. The tall grass and quickly setting sun created a challenge for getting good photos.
Wild Dog-7356

African Wild Dog

Madikwe Private Reserve, South Africa

Canon EOS-1D Mark III, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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The adult baboon chased the little one for about two hundred yards. The little guy was screaming and shrieking all of the way.  We didn’t see what it had done but it might have been serious because the adult baboon worked so hard to catch him. There is almost always something interesting going on in a troop of baboons making them fascinating subjects to photograph.

Baboon Attitude Adjustment--2Recipiant of an Attitude Adjustment

Canon EOS-1D Mark III, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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The sun had just set when this giraffe finally felt comfortable enough to bend down for a drink. For me it was another beautiful lesson in patience because as we waited the light faded!

Giraffe Drinking-0617Giraffe Reflecting in the Pond

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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Below are some lion photos from the trip.

Lion Brotherhood-6381Coalition of Brothers

Canon EOS-1D Mark III, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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Lions Drinking -2

Thirsty Lions at the Waterhole

Canon EOS-1D Mark III, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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Lion in the Light-


Early Morning Light on Lion’s Face

Canon EOS-1D Mark III, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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Lion Pair Reflecting-5708

Couple Relaxing at Water’s Edge

Canon EOS-1D Mark III, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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Drinking Pride of Lions-24

Pride Drinking Water

Canon EOS-1D Mark III, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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Lioness Eyeing a Waterbuck

Canon EOS-1D Mark III, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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Male Lion Showing Signs of Battle-5528

Battle-Scarred Male Lion

Canon EOS-1D Mark III, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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Male Lion-1759

The Warrior

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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Leopard on a Termite Mound-6024


Leopard on a Termite Mound #1

Canon EOS-1D Mark III, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

Leopard On a Termite Mound-6015


Leopard on a Termite Mound #2

Canon EOS-1D Mark III, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

Leopard Stalking Impala-6055-2


Leopard Stalking Impala

Canon EOS-1D Mark III, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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Grey Lori-6493Grey Lori

Canon EOS-1D Mark III, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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Crowned Plover Chick-7966Crowned Plover Chick

Canon EOS-1D Mark III, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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It was a dark night and we were making our way back to the lodge when our driver stopped the car and said, “There is an owl over there”. A spotlight was used to illuminate the bird which was between ten and fifteen yards away.  Although I thought the owl might be too far away, I took a photo anyway using the on camera flash. Not too bad!

Spotted Eagle-Owl-1980
Cape Eagle-Owl

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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At Cheetah Plains about a half dozen Nyala antelope roamed the grounds offering us some nice opportunities to photograph them.

Nyala Portrait-9252

Nyala Antelope #1

Canon EOS-1D Mark III, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

Nyala-5646Nyala Antelope #2

Canon EOS-1D Mark III, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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Purple Roller-7265Purple Roller

Canon EOS-1D Mark III, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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One evening at Cheetah plains, as we left the lodge on our evening game drive, we noticed a few clouds overhead.  We had only been gone about 10 minutes when the sky became ominous. Thunder, lightning, 50 mile per hour wind and then hard torrential rain cut our last game drive a short.

Evening Lightning and Thunder Storm-2928

Brewing Storm

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF-S18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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Zebra-2

Handsome Zebra

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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Namibia Photos

Here are a few photos from my brief trip to Namibia in October.

The bushman hollowed out branches from Quiver Trees and used them to store their arrows, hence the name. They are curious looking trees that grow in only a few areas. Because of their unique texture and shape, I found them to be fascinating photo subjects.

Quiver Tree Forest-3223

Quiver Tree Forest

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF-S18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

Quiver Tree and Namibian Night Sky-3305

Quiver Tree Forest and Night Sky

 Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF-S18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS

 Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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The owner of the lodge at the Quiver Tree Forest asked me if I wanted to photograph their cheetahs in the morning when they fed them. I able to go inside the enclosure with the caretaker who carried food to them. Being inside the enclosure with the cheetahs was great because I was able to get low on the ground and photograph them from low vantage point, giving them more stature in the photo.  
Cheetah-9458

Cheetah

Canon EOS-1D Mark III, Lens: Canon EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

Cheetah Snarling   -9552

Cheetah Snarling

Canon EOS-1D Mark III, Lens: Canon EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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A few miles east of the coastal port town of Luderitz, in southwestern Namibia, is a ghost town named Kolmanskop. In its heyday, it was a thriving diamond mining town. After the diamonds were depleted, the town was abandoned and is slowly filling up with sand that  blows in from the Namib desert. Some of the rooms that were formerly dormitories for the miners are over half filled with sand. It makes for some intriguing photography.

Multiple Doorways in Namibia-3652Multiple Doorways

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF-S18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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The Sossusvlei area in the Namib Desert is well known for its towering red sand dunes, some reaching1000 feet in hight. They are the tallest sand dunes in the world and some of the most picturesque. The contrast between light and shadows with the Camel Thorn trees as a foreground creates stunning photos!

Namibia Sand Dunes-0308

Sand Dune in Namib-Naukluft National Park

 Canon EOS-1D Mark III, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

 Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

Namibia Sand Dunes-0370Sand Dune

Canon EOS-1D Mark III, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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This afternoon clouds started to roll in over the desert and soon covered the entire area. My guide, Guido, mentioned that it was very rare to see clouds like this in the Namib Desert. It is normally a clear blue sky.

Namibian Landscape-4140

Rare Clouds in the Namibian Desert

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF-S18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014


Namibian Landscape-
Rare Clouds in the Namibian Desert

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF-S18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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Considerable mystery surrounds the wild horses in Namibia.  No one knows for certain where they came from and why they are feral. Some think that they may have been released by German soldiers after the first World War. Another theory is that they escaped from a ship, with a cargo of horses, that was wrecked along the Skeleton Coast in the late nineteenth century. In an area near Aus, a watering hole has been placed where they and other wild life such as oryx, springbok and ostrich gather for much needed water.

Wild Horses Fighting-0013Wild Horses Fighting in Namib Desert

Canon EOS-1D Mark III, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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The permanent tented camps we use while on safari are very nice accommodations.  Each unit includes an attached bathroom with hot and cold running water, sink and tub or shower. The tents are set in beautiful locations often along rivers or overlooking scenic valleys.  Tented Camp-1020877

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Lion Walking Past Vehicle-8263

Thrilling Experiences Create Lifelong Memories

Madikwe Privatte Reserve, South  Africa

Canon EOS-1D Mark III, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2013

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Sunset-1677  Camel Thorn Tree at Sunset

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF-S18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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Each of our safaris has been a tremendous photographic experience!  I can hardly wait to go back in again in February!  Why not join us on one of our safaris for the enriching experience of capturing your own photos in the wilds of Africa!

Please feel free to forward the newsletter on to friends that might enjoy it.

For more safari information, prices and itineraries click here.

I hope that you will be able to join us on one of our safaris in the not so distant future. It will be your trip of a lifetime!

Enjoy each day.

Paul Renner,

paulrenner3@cox.net

www.rennersafaris.com

(949) 295-3136

Read more about what our clients have to say about our safaris

 

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