Tag Archives: safari
May 10, 2012


A Cheetah in Kruger National Park, South Africa

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We spent four days on safari, driving through the Kruger National Park in South Africa.  Our guides drove us around for hours each day as Oksana and I hung out our respective windows, searching the countryside for the next amazing animal.

Before we arrived in South Africa, I never would have guessed that so many of the iconic African animals could be spotted in a single country.  For some reason, I thought you had to travel all over the continent if you wanted to see lions, wildebeest, rhinos, giraffes, leopards, hyenas, elephants, crocodiles, zebra, buffalo, baboons, and warthogs.  (We saw most of those the first day in the park.)  About the only big African animal I can think of that we didn’t have a chance of seeing was a mountain gorilla.

The highlight of the safari, for me, was spotting a cheetah.  After we stopped the car to watch him, his brother also emerged from the brush.  Both of those beautiful animals eventually crossed the road directly in us before disappearing into a ravine.

The next day, it got even better.  Oksana spotted another cheetah.  Our guides were blown away.  Not only are cheetahs among the rarest animals seen in the park, but we were the ones to spot them – not them, the more experienced guides!

It was nearly sunset when we spotted the cheetah on the second day and we were far from our camp.  Still, it was such an amazing animal, our guides graciously allowed us to stay as long as possible.  As we watched, the cheetah got up and stretched, then went about marking his territory.  Against all odds, his path again took him across the road we were on.


July 15, 2011

PVX: A Crash of Rhinos

When I put together the African Big 5 Safaris video, there were a few things left on the cutting room floor.  This little story, about a rhino encounter we had on Day Two, was one of them.

It happened right after our first cheetah sighting, on our way back to camp.  The gates close promptly at 5:30pm, so we were hustling to make it back in time.  When this herd of rhinos blocked our path, our guide, Marcel, started to fret.

The gate was closed when we eventually drove up (at exactly 5:39pm!)  Fortunately, we weren’t the only late ones, and we slipped in with the rest of the cars in line.  Even so, we were prepared with an excellent excuse: My photos’ timestamps proved that we had spent exactly nine minutes behind those rhinos!

The main reason I left this segment out of the original video was because the edit was already running long.  There were other, technical, hard-to-edit-around problems with this video, too.  Oksana and I were both shooting, but we’d framed essentially the same shots with our cameras.  Our exposures were wildly different, with hers over-compensating for the deepening twilight.  You’ll see when I have to jump-cut between them.  It’s like night and day; pretty jarring.

No worries, though.  Quality issues like that may have kept it out of the first Safari video’s final cut, but I’m much more lenient with our Postcard Valet “Extras!”

African Big 5 Safaris

July 3, 2011

PV016: Elephant-Back Safari

Oksana and I spent a week in Livingstone, Zambia, next to Victoria Falls.  We made time to visit both sides of the park – Zambia and Zimbabwe.  Part of the reason we spent so long in the area was that I was trying hard to justify one of the many excursions one can do in the area.  Although Zambia is cheap, the tourism around Victoria Falls isn’t.

Even though we were way over-budget, I so wanted to take a helicopter over the falls or bungee jump off the Victoria Falls Bridge!  I couldn’t see myself leaving this part of Africa without doing something unique.  Well, we got our wish!  On our day-trip to Zimbabwe, we hooked up with a tour agency called Adventure Zone for an Elephant-Back Safari!

Compared to the previous safari video I edited, this one came together so much easier.  (Probably because it recaps a 3-hour tour, rather than a 4-day/3-night one!)  We recorded our voiceovers in the courtyard of our hotel, which was a bit frustrating – if you hear someone sweeping the patio by the pool, try to imagine it’s an elephant swishing his tail as he walks through the bush…

I also want to give a shout out to Bra Tich, our Adventure Zone videographer.  Oksana and I both noticed right away how well-composed and steady his handheld shots were.  We requested his original HD camera files (instead of the edited DVD) for use in our video and got to see the editing room when they copied all 11GBs to our spare flash media.  I’m quite impressed with the operation they run from that small room; 4-6 edited videos a day, duplicated and delivered to any tourist who pays for a copy.  They’ve streamlined the editing process down to a state that I can only dream of…

Vic Falls Adventure Zone
Elephant-back Safari
Victoria Falls (Wikipedia)
Our tour review of the Elephant-Back Safari