2016, 01 African Safari Photos from South Africa and Rwanda

Renner Safaris

Dream, Explore, Discover

Pictures from our African photo safari to South Africa and Rwanda in September 2015.

I would like to thank all of our safari participants that traveled with us in 2015. We had wonderful people and fabulous safaris!

We enjoyed many exciting wildlife sightings and another wonderful group of safari participants on our South Africa photo safari! Most of the participants followed that trip up by continuing on with our spectacular Namibia safari. I will feature photos from Namibia in my next newsletter. South Africa was wonderful!  We photographed lots of leopard, lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo and so much more! You will also find more gorilla photos, including some extremely cute babies by scrolling down through the newsletter.

Deep in Thought-2

Sure Wish I could Go On a  Renner Safari!

Volcanos National Park, Rwanda

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

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2015

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Martial Eagles are not only beautiful but they are also fierce hunters! They are large birds, capable of killing small antelope, rock hyrax, monitor lizards, guinea fowl and host of other prey.

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Martial Eagle 

Cheetah Plains, South Africa

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

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2015

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This is one of the largest pairs of tusks that I have ever seen on a warthog.  He came to wallow in the waterhole below our room at Madikwe Private Reserve. Judging by the size of his tusks, he must be one smart warthog to have survived long enough to grow his tusks to this massive size.

Wart Hog-9998 Warthog

Madikwe Private Reserve, South Africa

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

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2015

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It was well after dark, I was tired from the long day and the steady drone of the engine in our safari vehicle was lulling me to sleep. Suddenly we came upon two large male lions following the road. They paid no attention to our vehicles so we drove ahead of them and lit them with a special floodlight which does not bother their eyes. This allowed us to photograph the lions as they walked  toward and then right along side to our vehicle. They appeared  to be on a mission. Eventually, it became evident that they were headed toward the waterhole at the lodge. We decided to move on ahead to wait for them. We positioned our vehicle on the opposite side of the pond from where we anticipated they stop to drink. Eager with anticipation, we waited silently in the darkness for their arrival. Time passed slowly and I began to wonder what was taking them so long when we heard what sounded like sizable hooves clattering on rocks. The lions had taken a detour to chase an unsuspecting male giraffe that was grazing on tasty acacia branches. He apparently sensed their presence in time to make a quick get away over the rocky landscape. I was pleased that the giraffe escaped unharmed but also disappointed the lions had not showed up to drink. They continued moving up and over the hill without returning to our waterhole. It had been an exciting encounter and we each had taken photos of the lions at night that we were happy with.  It was an exciting finish to another great day in Africa!

Lion at Night-8916

Male Lion at Night-8851

Male Lions in the Night

Madikwe Private Reserve, South Africa

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

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2015

The next afternoon our guides received word that a pride of lions had made a kill at the opposite end of the park so we were off! When we arrived some of the lions were eating an impala. Impalas are not large animals so it was more like a snack than a meal for the big cats. In the distance, we noticed a female lion off by herself. Then we noticed that she had small cubs so we left the lions at the impala and went to photograph the cubs.

Down for a Cleaning-0268
Attentive Mother

Madikwe Private Reserve, South Africa

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

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2015

As we watched the cubs we noticed elephants moving towards the lions that were still eating. Suddenly, in an attempt to chase them away, one of the elephants charged the lions. A male lion picked up the impala carcass and ran away. A few minutes later the elephant charged the lion again. The game went on until the elephant finally tired of it and moved off. The action was tremendous and we all enjoyed the show before heading back to camp in the dark! It had been another fantastic day!

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Elephant Charging a Lion

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

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2015

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We were having lunch at the lodge when one of our guides approached me and said, “A colleague has spotted wild dogs on a kill near the airstrip. Would you like to go and try to find them?” We left our meals sitting on the table and ran out to the vehicles. After bouncing along the road for nearly half an hour we finally found the dogs. They were moving quickly and we followed them for what seemed to be three or four miles up and over a rocky hill. The guide suspected that they had a den somewhere among the rocks where young pups were hidden. We didn’t want to disturb them so we moved on.

Although each sighting seemed brief, we spotted wild dogs at each of our first three parks.  We found packs of seven and then 18 and 21.  Wild dogs have become very rare so we knew we were extremely lucky! The last two packs each had about 10 young dogs that appeared to be about four months old. I hope they all survive to adulthood.

African Wild Dog-8576
Wild Dog

Madikwe Private Reserve, South Africa

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

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2015

Wild Dogs in Morning Fog-1672

Wild Dogs on Morning Hunt

Notten’s Private Reserve, South Africa

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

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2015

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Lilac Breasted Rollers

Timbavati Private Reserve, South Africa

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

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2015

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Young Elephants Drinking-0080

 Stretching For Water 

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

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2015

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We were fortunate to find hyena pups playing outside of their den. It was at the bottom of a hole, or tunnel just large enough that an adult hyena could squeeze into it. The tunnel went below ground, through a vacated termite mound, to their den which was well below the surface.

Hyena and Pup-2681

The pups appeared to enjoy being out in the open and we enjoyed photographing them as they climbed on each other and their parents.

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At a waterhole we found a clan of hyenas eating.  It used to be thought that hyenas are only scavengers however it has now been substantiated that they will hunt as a pack and are often successful hunters. These two were finishing off a warthog.

Hyenas Eating Wart Hog Bones-2323

Hyenas Eating a Warthog

Timbavati, South Africa

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

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2015

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As we began our first game drive of the trip, our guide told us that he had taken guests to the airstrip earlier. On his way back to the lodge he had seen a leopard on the ground near the road. We drove to where he had last seen the cat and saw its tracks leading away from the waterhole. The guide and tracker followed the tracks on foot and disappeared into the bush. About fifteen minutes passed before the driver returned with good news. They had found the leopard resting up in a tree. When we arrived at the tree the leopard was lying on a branch with his back to us. We watched and waited patiently with the sun at our backs until the animal turned toward us, putting himself in beautiful evening light. Our persistence and patience had paid off.  What a beautiful way to begin the safari!

Leopard on a Limb-9766

Leopard on a Limb

Madikwe Private Reserve, South Africa

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

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2015

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It is sad and angers me that these fascinating, prehistoric looking animals are poached and killed for their horns that are made of nothing more than keratin.  It is the same material that our fingernails are made of.

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White Rhino Mother and Calf 

South Africa

Camera: Canon EOS 7D Mark II, Lens: Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2015

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Animal parts sometimes make interesting photo subjects. At times the toughness of animals is astonishing. This elephant appeared to enjoy eating these sharp, thorny acacia tree branches in spite of the thorns.


Ouch!-8943

Ouch! 

South Africa

Camera: Canon EOS 7D Mark II, Lens: Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2015

This looks to me like what grabbing a branch on a rose bush would feel like.  The difference is that these are long straight thorns.

Trunk Wrapped Around Acacia Thorns-8949

This is One Tough Trunk!

South Africa

Camera: Canon EOS 7D Mark II, Lens: Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2015

Elephant Drinking-0061

  Savoring Precious Water

South Africa

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

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2015

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We were driving along when my wife, Sandy, yelled “stop”.  “What did you see?” I asked.  She said as we were backing up “I don’t know but it was some kind of a reptile.” After backing up a little further she pointed out what looked like a large lizard.  It was a  Rock Monitor, something new and different for me because in the past I had always seen Water Monitors.

Rock Monitor-0813
  Rock Monitor

Timbavati Private Reserve, South Africa

Camera: Canon EOS 7D Mark II, Lens: Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2015

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Steenbok are monogamous antelope. Once they have selected a mate, they will spend their lives together.

Steenbok Resting-2408Steenbok

Timbavati Private Reserve, South Africa

Camera: Canon EOS 7D Mark II, Lens: Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2015

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It was unusual to see five or six male Nyala in a clearing moving as though they were in super slow motion. The hair running the length of their spine was standing straight up and their legs and bodies looked rigid as they moved ever so slowly. It was a dominance display and the animal that could outlast the others would be the winner becoming the most eligible bachelor. One by one they went back to grazing until this one became the most eligible.

Nyala Posturing-0881

Nyala in a Dominance Display

Cheetah Plains, South Africa

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

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2015

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Green Pigeon-0735

Green Pigeon

Cheetah Plains, South Africa

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

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2015

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Although more rare than the Lilac Breasted Roller, the Purple Roller is also a beautiful bird.

Purple Roller-0156
Purple Roller 

Cheetah Plains, South Africa

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

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2015

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We had been on a game drive for sometime when the driver picked up speed. He suddenly veered off of the main track into the brush and drove until we spotted a leopard he had heard was perched up in a tree. The animal showed no signs of shyness so the driver continued ahead until we were almost under the leopard.  Looking up at the cat gave us a different perspective. I was fascinated by her intense gaze.

Leopard Focused on Impala-0719

Leopard Focused on Prey

Timbavati Private Reserve, South Africa

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

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2015

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One morning in Madikwe we spotted two lions in the bush about 25 yards off the road.  Just as we pulled up to them, one of the males jumped up and began running away. In the distance I got a glimps of an animal running quickly through the bushes. The lion appeared to be hunting something until it suddenly ran straight up the trunk of a tree and grabbed an impala carcass that had been placed there by a leopard. The blur we had seen moving earlier had been the leopard making its escape.
Healing Battle Scar-0327

 Healing Battle Wound

Madikwe Private Reserve, South Africa

Camera: Canon EOS 7D Mark II, Lens: Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2015

Dominant Male Lion-0356

The Dominant Brother

Madikwe Private Reserve, South Africa

Camera: Canon EOS 7D Mark II, Lens: Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2015

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Leopard in Search of a Meal-0194

Shopping For Lunch

Timbavati Private Reserve, South Africa

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

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2015

Leopard Lying in the Grass-1128

Watchful Leopard

Notten’s Private Reserve, South Africa

Camera: Canon EOS 7D Mark II, Lens: Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2015

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Feast your eyes on our upcoming 2016 safaris.

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2016 Safari Dates

I am proud and honored to personally lead each of these outstanding luxury photo safaris. I have personally designed our photo safaris to take clients to the best locations for wildlife photography in each country.  These are phenomenal trips so I hope you will be able to join me for your tip of a lifetime! The safaris often sell out quickly so if you are considering joining us in 2016 contact us for your registration forms and register as soon as possible so you don’t miss out on your trip of a lifetime!

Tanzania and Kenya – Birthing Season with the Great Migration  Jan 31-Feb 17, 2016 Itinerary and Pricing
Botswana – Photograph in four of Africa’s most exciting wildlife viewing locations.  (Sold Out) May 15-June 1, 2016 Itinerary and Pricing
Tanzania – Season for Great Migration Crossings at the Mara River July 10 – 26, 2016 Itinerary and Pricing
Tanzania and Kenya – Season for Great Migration Crossings at the Mara River Aug. 28 – Sept. 13, 2016 Itinerary and Pricing
Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Trek  Sept. 13 – 17, 2016 Itinerary and Pricing 
South Africa Photo Safari  Sept 16-Oct 2, 2016 Itinerary and Pricing 
 Namibia Photo Safari Sept 30-Oct. 19, 2016 Itinerary and Pricing 

To reserve your space on our photo safaris, please call Paul Renner at (949) 295-3136, or email him at: paulrenner3@cox.net or ask for Prem Sharma or Gaby Gurrola 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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We had a fantastic time with the mountain gorillas in Rwanda!  It was time for our group photo but the silverback and the only bald gorilla didn’t appear to be interested in posing.

Our Group with Mountain Gorillas-8103

In fact they just laid down there and went to sleep!  About 20 feet to the left we noticed the female below with her two month old baby. I was captivated by the baby and was soon totally focused on the two. Suddenly, my wife, who was behind me said quietly “Paul, don’t move right now because the bald gorilla that had been sleeping near you has reached over and placed his index finger through the loop of your shoe lace.”  He played there just waiting and watching. One of our guides communicated with him using a few grunts until he slowly removed his finger from my shoe lace then went back to sleep. I have wondered many times about what he must have been thinking. Now, tell me they don’t have a sense of humor!   It was an amazing experience that I will remember for the rest of my life! There is just nothing like visiting the mountain gorillas!

 
Mother and Baby Mountain Gorilla-Playful Baby Mountain Gorilla-9627
Tammy Photographing Gorillas-7780Silverback Mountain Gorilla-9187
Female and Baby Mountain Gorilla-

Mountain Gorillas

 Volcanos National Park, Rwanda

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

 Copyright: Paul Renner, 2015

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In South Africa lions were in abundance! These are a few of my favorite images of males.

Lion Prowling-9465

Feel the Power

Madikwe, South Africa

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

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2015


Marking His Territory-0377Marking Territory

Cheetah Plains, South Africa

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

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2015

Lion Drinking Muddy Water-9872
  Thirsty Lion at a Muddy Waterhole

Cheetah Plains, South Africa

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

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2015

Male Lion -1964

Chillin’

Cheetah Plains, South Africa

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

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2015

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Dinner Preparations-9696

Stoking the Campfire

Cheetah On Hood of Vehicle-3470

Thrilling Experiences Create Lifelong Memories

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

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2015

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Hippos Fighting

Cheetah Plains Private Reserve, South Africa

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

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2015

Hippos Fighting -0507
Evenings Last Challenge

Canon EOS-1D Mark III, Lens: Canon 70-200mm f/2.8

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2015

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Each of our safaris has been a tremendous photographic experience!  I can hardly wait to return to Tanzania and Kenya in February next year!  Why don’t you join us on one of our safaris for the enriching experience of capturing your own photos in the wilds of Africa!

Our safaris make a wonderful anniversary, Christmas or graduation gift that will be remembered and cherished for a lifetime!

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

For more safari information, prices and itineraries click here.

Please feel free to call me at (949) 295-3136 or contact me by email with any questions you may have regarding our safaris.

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

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