The Rookie Strikes!

by Chuck Stipanovich
(Youngstown, Ohio, USA)

Before the melee!

Before the melee!

My wife and I made our first trek to Kruger in September of 2013. Long and short of it we made every rookie mistake possible. I read and studied but it still did not prepare me for the experience. I am passionate about photography but can't seem to find the time needed to progress though the learning curve as quickly as I would like.

Regardless, we were fortunate enough to experience the Big 5 during our 6 days in the park. By far our best day ended with the sighting of the lion (photo's attached).

It was late in the afternoon and we were an hour away from Satara when we found him lying in the tall grass between the road and the river. We were within 20 feet and I starting shooting. This big boy couldn't have cared less about us being there. Another car came along and pulled up in front of us. A young couple soon stuck their heads up through the sunroof and excitedly asked, "What is it? What do you see?" We pointed and and in hushed tones tried to explain that there was a large male lion not 20 feet from their car. They looked and looked but could not see what were so intent on observing. The couple became quite agitated and started crowding each other for a better view. In a few short moments they started to argue a bit too loudly. Our dear friend the lion had had enough and moved quite quickly to stare down the couple and register his annoyance. When the lion moved, the couple saw him for the first time. They also saw the look in his eyes! They dove back into the confines of their little car all the while still fighting and jostling for the best route to safety. During the melee they banged their heads together rather harshly and both fell back into their seats while holding their heads and continuing their rude and colorful discussion.

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Aug 29, 2014
Reply to Cathy
by: mario

Hi Cathy

June is the start of winter so the nights can get cold so take warm clothing and you will need at least a 300mm - 400mm lens. A wide angle will also be handy for subjects that are close to your vehicle and for landscapes.

We have provided advice on clothing, camera gear, vehicles and accommodation on this website. If you subscribe to our newsletter you can also download a 100-page safari guide with even more info.

Aug 13, 2014
Rookie mistakes?
by: Cathy

Hi, I have just committed to a safari in Kruger for June, 2015. I am curious as to what you feel are the mistakes you made? I would love to hear from anyone on advice from clothing to cameras and everything in between. Thank you for your consideration.

Mar 26, 2014
Tourist oblivious
by: Lourens Benoni.

A lot of tourists do not have the faintest clue as what to look for. We at one time sat observing Giraffe right next to the road and were asked what are you looking at - needles to say I just shook my head. Do not fret you will not be a rooky for long.


Feb 13, 2014
Nice story
by: Bruce

Yes, sometimes the visitors are much more entertaining than the animals!

Feb 11, 2014
Kruger is a challenge
by: Jenny

Hi Chuck, you are not the only ones we have been going to the Kruger for years and still make mistakes. The Kruger is always a challenge when photographing, there is either grass or sticks in the way so don't feel alone. Glad you enjoyed what saw and thanks for sharing your pics and humorous story with us.

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