Southern Africa provides many good opportunities for photographing landscapes.
Here we rate our four favorite national parks in order of preference...
The Kgalagadi attracts thousands of photographers not just for the amazing wildlife but also for the most unusual scenery. You have the contrasts between the blue African sky, deep red sand dunes, carpets of yellow wild-flowers, white calcrete cliffs and the green trees and shrubs.
The Auob and Nossob roads provide good opportunities but so do the wilderness camps, because they are mostly situated on top of high sand dunes. Our favorites are Kieliekrankie, Kalahari Tented Camp and Gharagab because of their height. Urikaruus, Bitterpan and Grootkolk are not situated as high but can also provide nice scenic photographs - you just need to be a bit more creative.
Twee Rivieren, Mata Mata and Nossob could also provide scenery opportunities but just watch out for telephone poles and other distractions that may make their way into your composition!
The Kgalagadi is also the best park to photograph star trails due to it being far away from civilization and therefore far away from light and pollution.
2. The Kruger Park
There are many high view-points such as Nkumbe, Tshanga, Grano Kop, and Bobbejaan Krans. Some camps provide excellent scenery potential as they are situated high on a hill, like Olifants or because they are next to a river such as camps like Skukuza, Shimuwini and Lower Sabie.
In addition you should look out for trees that you can photograph against the rising or setting sun while out on your game drive and for the wild flowers that carpet some waterholes after good summer rains.
Some camps provide better star trail photography opportunities than others. Crocodile Bridge and Berg en Dal are too close to civilization so you have lights from Komatiepoort and Malelane as well as pollution from the sugar factory spoiling the photographs.
Etosha National Park is very flat but some of their waterholes make for good scenery photographs. Waterholes such as Homob, Salvadora, Twee Palms and Chudop are very scenic and there is the view over the pan from the view-points or from waterholes that are situated on the edge of the pan.
The views from the Moringa (Halali) and Okaukuejo waterholes also make for good scenery photographs.
Fort Namutoni makes for a very effective landscape photograph as do the views from on top of the fort and from the top of the Okaukuejo tower.
The two new camps, Onkoshi and Dolomite are excellent for scenic photography as Onkoshi faces the pan and Dolomite is high up on a dolomite hill.
The Pilanesberg game reserve has many hills that provide a pleasing backdrop to photographs so keep this in mind when photographing animals. In addition there are great views from picnic sites and view-points on the hills (such as Lenong) that provide nice scenery potential.
Some of the bird hides also provide good scenic potential - it all depends on the light and the subject.
The scenery in Madikwe is diverse. The Marico River forms the eastern boundary, the Dwarsberg Mountain Range forms the southern boundary and then there is Tshwene Tshwene Hills in the centre of the reserve with scattered inselbergs dotting the north-western plains up to Botswana.
There is a large hill outside the reserve near Molatedi Gate on the eastern boundary, called Lotteringskop and from the western side you can see Abjaterskop hill across the road from the Abjaterskop Gate.
• Fortunately the photo gear needed for scenic photography is not as expensive and heavy as what is required for wildlife and bird photography. Here we discuss our
Landscape Photo Gear
• TPE or The Photographer's Ephemeris is one of the most handy tools for photographing scenery. Read more about it here
• Photographing Star-trails and Panoramas used to be challenging but with modern digital cameras and free software they are very easy to capture.
We photographed some amazing landscapes in Etosha using Singh-Ray filters. To download a PDF of our blog article please click here and to download our article on shooting volcano-scapes in the Pilanesberg please click here
"It's 764 pages of the most amazing information. It consists of, well, everything really. Photography info...area info...hidden roads..special places....what they have seen almost road by road. Where to stay just outside the Park...camp information. It takes quite a lot to impress me but I really feel that this book, which was 7 years in the making, is exceptional." - Janey Coetzee, South Africa
"Your time and money are valuable and the information in this Etosha eBook will help you save both."
-Don Stilton, Florida, USA
"As a photographer and someone who has visited and taken photographs in the Pilanesberg National Park, I can safely say that with the knowledge gained from this eBook, your experiences and photographs will be much more memorable."
-Alastair Stewart, BC, Canada
"This eBook will be extremely useful for a wide spectrum of photography enthusiasts, from beginners to even professional photographers."
- Tobie Oosthuizen, Pretoria, South Africa