Wildlife Video – for Fun?

Cheetah Close Up

I had an interesting experience recently when my brother Mike and his lovely wife Lisa kindly gave Naomi and me the use of their 5 star lodge at Welgevonden Private Game Reserve in the Waterberg Mountains, for 5 days of fun. This meant that we could invite some great friends on an amazing safari getaway on one of the most sought after reserves in Southern Africa.

There was only one rule – everyone had to agree that they would leave the stresses of JHB behind, relax and do whatever they felt like, be that resting in their beautifully appointed chalets, going on every game drive, missing one if they preferred watching the “Bokke” get slaughtered, participating in table tennis competitions, or swimming in the rim-flow pool that the elephants visited every evening (hanging their trunks over the rim and slurping gallons of water while we all watched in awe of these giant, peaceful pachyderms, with only the hedge between us and them).

My choice was to take a camera with me but only to capture special or rare footage to add to our stock library, and not shoot for hours to create a documentary of our stay. Hmmm, like anyone really believed me. What was really cool was that I did leave behind all the tripods, lighting, audio kit, my beloved DJI Inspire and anything else that we would normally have for documentary purposes. All I took was my trusty Panasonic DVX200 4K camera, which I stuffed into my clothes bag, and that was it! Unheard of for me, and I really believed I was hardly going to switch it on.

It was great having friends along with no expectations. Anyone who wanted to jumped into the game drive vehicle each morning and late afternoon to enjoy the Golden Hour light and the plethora of game that awaited us. My good mate Ricky Walton kept saying that he had never seen so many animals on one trip, and he was right because Spring was on our doorstep and the grass was still short on the ever-changing landscapes which vary from wide open plains to steep gorges and winding rivers that the Waterberg is so famous for. There was nowhere for the plentiful game to hide from us.

Needless to say, my video camera was switched on more than once to capture the fun everyone had, exploring steep cliffs that have Bushman paintings in some of the caves, jumping from boulder to boulder to cross rivers, and of course to film some of the spectacular wildlife we were privileged to see up close and personal. Our last sighting was a fresh kill, with a Mom Cheetah coaching her three cubs as they fed on the Impala they had brought down.

That was the cherry on the icing of a superb few days with good mates, good food and another amazing rendezvous with nature at its best. Oh, the video camera 🙂 I did only shoot for fun and didn’t capture hours of footage, but just enough to edit a little memento of our time together for our friends:

To answer the question: YES, you can just shoot for fun and still get great memories of your holidays and trips to the bush. All you have to do is leave all the clutter at home and try to shoot only the special stuff. Over to you. SHOOT SHARP!