Thursday, January 23, 2020

Guest Gallery - Paul Vorster

Another great gallery of images captured on our Creative wildlife photography workshop hosted in the GreateR Kruger during November 2019. 
Leopard cub in tree. 
From Paul himself: All too often life in the city gets too much and you need to escape to the tranquillity that you can only find in the bush. One such escape is to the Thornybush Private Game Reserve. It has rolling Lowveld savannah,  adjacent to the Kruger National Park, and home to the Big Five. Tough the bush is quite dense in places, there are nevertheless plenty good open sightings to be had. All arrangements and logistics were superbly handled by Africa Unlocked and with Albie as the photographic guide, there is no shortage of good vehicle positioning and plenty of good stories shared – on the vehicle and around the campfire. Looking for a good get away mid-term, give Albie a call.

Coalition at dusk

Too much action

Spotted Hyenas at play. 

Guest Gallery - Barbara Jensen

Have a look at this stunning collection of images that our guest Barbara Jensen put together from our Creative Wildlife Photography workshop which was hosted during November 2019. She also shares a few of her eloquent thoughts on her deep love of Africa. Contact us if you wish to join the next photo workshop. 

I wish I knew who coined the phrase “In Africa my beginning, in Africa my end …” but it always jumps to mind when I spend time in the African bush. I love photography but I love being in the bush more. There are time where I just sit back and enjoy the scene without even picking up the camera. We are very fortunate to spend more time in the African bush (or savannah) than most people and not a time goes by that I do not realise and deeply appreciate how blessed we are – what most people see on television, we live. Spending time on an Africa Unlocked safari is extra special not only because of the superb logistical arrangements but you also get to spend some time with one of my favourite “bush man” – Albie Venter.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

El Karama, Laikipia Kenya.

We have known El Karama Lodge in Laikipia, Kenya for many years now. Murrey and Sophie Grant the owners are immersed in wildlife and nature and their honest love and fascination of the area and Africa as a whole becomes evident moments after meeting them. Laikipia is fast becoming a must-do destination, especially for families and those who seek out something different. The area has been a firm favourite for many years. Its a place where one can get to know the people who made this wildlife haven their home well away from the crowds and now shares it with a select few.  

Flycamp Bell-tent against starlit sky. 
El-Karama is an intimate, owner-operated, award-winning lodge specialising in family safaris and small groups looking for adventure in the wild!   Located in the heart of Kenya's most unique and pristine wildlife area: Laikipia, this lodge is found inside a 14,000 acre private conservancy with access to over 200,000 acres of Northern Kenya wilderness. The wildlife experience here is world–class, offering abundant sightings of the Big 4 and day visits to see iconic Rhino. 

Wildlife is superb. 
The habitat supports 430 verified bird species and Northern Kenyan species such as Grevy's Zebra, Gerenuk and Vulturine Guinea Fowl. With outstanding views of natural beauty; guests can wake up to the peaks of Mount Kenya and fall asleep to the sounds of the mighty Ewaso Nyiro river.  It's all about freedom and privacy here: whether you like to walk, fly camp under the stars, game drive, track on foot with guides, fish, visit the working farm and organic garden or learn more about wildlife conservation and education in action with the rangers, the El Karama Lodge team will make it all possible.  

Children on safari. 
The lodge also sports Kenya's first Bush School for children, which is focussed on educating and 'rewilding' children during their safari with us. We are a truly family-friendly lodge and your precious little ones will be kept very busy learning about the bush with our wonderful guides and resident naturalists.

A truly authentic safari experience hosted by some of Kenya's finest…
Sundowners against Mount Kenya.

Breakfast at waterfall. 

Berry detail.

Mess interior.

Walking safari at sunrise.

Walking safari.

Flycamp Bell-tent in landscape.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Guest Portfolio - Jan Rijnink

Guest portfolio - Olaf Friederichs

Galapagos - Islands at the end of the world.

The most iconic Galapagos inhabitant - Marine Iguana. 

The Galapagos archipelago, which straddles the equator, lies off the coast of Equador in the Pacific Ocean and is one of the most biologically intriguing places on earth. Geologically it is a turbulent place. Volcanoes spew up lava, creating barren, hostile islands in the north west of the region. Once created, the islands start drifting in a south-easterly direction due to a tectonic fault-line that moves in that way. 

Extinct volcano. 
The characteristics of the islands change on this eastward journey as the sharp volcanic edges of younger islands are weathered into gradually more flattened shapes. Soils start forming as islands age and allows plants to settle. This in turn creates habitat for some of the world’s most unique life forms. 

Old town Quito,, the capitol of Equador, stopover en route to the Galapagos. 
Isolated by a thousand kilometers of Pacific Ocean most wildlife reached the islands either by flying or swimming there. Terrestrial species had the most difficulty reaching the islands and it is believed that they reached it after being swept to sea on rafts of vegetation from the mainland. Individuals lucky enough to survive the arduous journey had to either adapt or die. 

Yet another endemic species.- Land Iguana, the most common of the three species of Land iguana. 

Endemism peaks and several bird, mammal and reptiles are found here and nowhere else on earth. Some species, notably giant tortoises and some species of iguanas have become so adapted to life on a specific island that they are found on a single island and nowhere else, even on other Galapagos islands.     

The only penguin found north of the equator. Galapagos penguin. 
The Galapagos is home to the world’s rarest penguin (and the only one found north of the equator), the rarest gull, the only nocturnal gull, and the only marine lizard in the world, to name but a few. In short, a naturalists Valhalla. The incredible terrestrial wildlife diversity is mirrored in the sea below and regular snorkeling trips is sure to provide ample opportunity to explore the underwater realm. 

The surreal experience of diving with a marine Iguana.
Pacific green turtle. 
The archipelago consists of 13 major islands, 6 smaller ones and thousands islets and protruding rocks.  People inhabit five of the islands and visitors are allowed only on small sections of some islands. While this may seem prohibitive the sheer abundance of wildlife on these sections are overwhelming while the wild and remoteness of large sections of the islands create a true sense of unspoilt wilderness. 

The region is rich in legend and history with its most famous visitor being Charles Darwin who set foot on the island in 1835. It was some of the specimens that he collected on these islands that had a profound impact on the formulation of his very well know Theory of Natural Selection and our current understanding of speciation today.
And anyone interested in wildlife and exploration will agree that the magic is still as real today as it was in 1835. 

Iconic blue footed boobies. 

Below are some images of island life.

Viewing a Blue Footed Booby colony. 

View from the boat towards San Cristobal harbor.

View from the cabin.

Boat lounge. 

Cliffs on Genovesa Island


Our ride.

Photographing Greater Fregatebird.