The Mopane tree (Colophospermum mopane) has long held a fascination for me, and it probably stemmed from me eating my first dried Mopane worm as a teenager. The juicy larvae of the Mopane Moth (Gonimbrasia belina) is a valuable source of protein to local populations wherever the tree is found.
The tree is prevalent in the northern half of the Kruger National Park in South Africa where I spent nine days photographing all manner of wildlife. It occurs in large tracks of dense thicket from the Satara Rest Camp northwards. They make wildlife spotting quite challenging, but if you take your time and drive slowly, you can spot many of African birds and animals. Like all South African National Parks, it takes patience to spot wildlife.
Letaba Rest Camp is still one of my favourite camps in the park and is situated in a large area of the Mopane distribution. Staying in the northern camps will allow you the chance to see all of the species below including the lovely African Wild Cat. And, let’s not forget the forget the colourful mix of greens, reds and browns of the star tree herself.
A moment with a small cat
Below is a link to a separate blogpost about this beautiful little cat and the time it allowed me to spend with him. I was using the Canon 1Dx for the first time and was astounded at its low-light capabilities.
The African Wild Cat vs. the Canon 1Dx
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Wonderful post Mr M. Love the warm tones & that first Elephant shot is amazing.
Bru, you made me miss northern Kruger so bad now! Love those autumn colours and you had some proper sightings. I often just drive too fast for mopane-gamespotting 😉
I know, just posting it made me wish to get back.
Last time I missed so much I was determined to really slow it down this time round.
Absolutely stunning photos. The Mopani bushveld is my favorite area in Kruger. There is nothing like it in the world. It forces you to drive slowly in some of the remote areas of Kruger. We’ve had some amazing sightings there, but it can make photography challenging. Loved the photos! Thanks for the compilation.
Thanks for stopping by. It is such a wonderful part of Kruger and challenging photographically that’s for sure. But challenges move your skills forward, so it must be a good thing.
Safe travels and good light
Fantastic collection Wayne as my more frequented section of the park due to my home location, you presented it so well. I am off this weekend to Kruger, Satara one night then three in Lower Sabi, me thinks I must relocate up north!. A friend was in Shingwedzi last weekend and the Mopani’s still amazingly green, starting to get the Autumn shades though.
Thanks Derek. I do love Kruger from Satara northwards. Really jealous that you folks stay in such close proximity. Enjoy the visit and look forward to the photos when you get back