The Auob Riverbed – Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park Hot

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Lioness by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick.jpg

The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is considered one of the most pristine conservation areas in the world and is a firm favorite with wildlife photographers as a result of the incredible diversity of life and the crisp clear light conditions. On the South African side of the park, visitors have the option of travelling up either the Auob or Nossob Riverbeds.

The Auob is an ephemeral river that lies between Twee-Rivieren and Mata Mata camps and is 110kms in length. It is narrower than the Nossob and the well-interspersed waterholes attract good numbers of game, associated predators and birds. The lower calcreate ridges provide excellent cover for Leopard while in the upper reaches, numerous Black-Backed Jackal, Cape Fox and Bat-Eared Fox dens lie close to the roadside.

Mata Mata camp by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

1 of 7: Entrance to Mata Mata Camp.

Verrauxs eagle Owl by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

2 of 7: Verraux's Eagle Owl.

Mata Mata campsite by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

3 of 7: Mata Mata Campsite.

Sprinbok suckling by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

4 of 7: Springbok ewe suckling her lamb.

Tawny Eagle by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

5 of 7: Tawny Eagle.

African Cuckoo by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

6 of 7: African Cuckoo.

Auchterlonie museum by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

7 of 7: The old museum at Achterlonie on the crown of the Auob Riverbed

Photography

Best Time to Photograph
Seasons vary greatly within the Kalahari and each brings its own highlights. During the hot summer months, when good rains have fallen the narrow riverbed becomes green and lush with young grass that attracts vast numbers of antelope. Wildebeest and Springbok drop their young and excellent predator activity can be observed as Lion, Leopard and Cheetah hunt the young antelope. Winter is the dry and cold time, but this is when the veld is more open and both small and large predators hunt later into the mornings and emerge earlier in the afternoons providing good opportunities for photography. September and October are the best months for observing Cape Fox, Black-Backed Jackals and Bat-Eared Foxes at their dens with small pups. Birding is good throughout the year with a peak of activity in the spring and early summer months.
Type of Photography
  • Birding
  • Wildlife General
  • Predators
Best Time of Year
Throughout the year
Photographic Tips
Photographic opportunities abound in the Auob Riverbed and it is best to drive slowly, scanning either side of the road for activity. Waterholes are good places where predators will lie in wait of prey as they come down to drink and mid-morning is best for birding activity around the waterholes when sandgrouse, doves and other small seed-eaters come to drink. This is when falcons, goshawks and eagles are also attracted to the waterholes, hoping to catch an easy meal.
Recommended Gear
The Kalahari is long telephoto lens country and it is best to have a window mount for your camera permanently in position and the camera close by and ready for quick action. Beware of the extreme heat during the summer months as this can affect camera functioning – try and keep the camera cool at all times. A small towel is also useful to cover your camera, as this will minimize dust covering it.

Highlights

Site Highlights
Large Predators
Birds of Prey
Small Carnivores

Footnotes

Season and Weather
This is a harsh an unpredictable land where water is scares with less than 50mm of rain falling per year. Temperatures in summer are extremely high while nights can be chilly. Nighttime temperatures in winter can fall to minus 10 degrees C.
Other Activities
  • Game Viewing
  • Birding
  • Night Drives

Location

Closest Town

Map

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Peter Chadwick
Author: Peter ChadwickWebsite: http://www.peterchadwick.co.zaEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
About
As a dedicated conservationist, Peter Chadwick has 30 years strategic and operational conservation experience in terrestrial and marine protected area management. He has worked within all of the major biomes in southern Africa as well as having provided expert conservation advice at a global level. His conservation and wildlife photography is a natural extension to his conservation work where he has numerous opportunities to capture photographs that showcase the beauty and complexity of the outdoors. Peter’s photography is internationally recognized, with this work appearing globally in a wide range of print and electronic media.