I recently spent a few quality days at Mabula Private Game Reserve as a guest of friends / rangers / photographers Marcelle and Anthony Robbins. They gave up careers in Hairdressing and IT 5 years ago for an about face of pace and a life in the bush. A link to their website(s) can be found at the end of this article.
As a wildlife / outdoor photographer or simply an enthusiast who’d like to get more out of their camera, you can’t get a photographic bush experience better than this. It’s close; only an hour and a half from Pretoria. Well appointed; the 1st class lodge, plush furnishings with beautiful views and pristine bush, home-cooked meals (joint effort pardon the pun), comfortable 2 sleeper units, peace and tranquillity will wow you. One of the few places you will really unwind with friends, family and wildlife / photographer centric people. Naturally you will get the chance to see Mabula’s rich fauna and flora from Aardvarks to Zebra and Acacias to Ziziphus as well as the Big 5, however the little things like the Natal Spurfowl, Yellow and Red-Billed Hornbills greeting us at every meal, the Kudu drinking from the pool to the calls of Lion in the veld; those things in life that are most memorable mark the passage of a day in Mabula. Even a precision flyby of Southern Ground Hornbills was on the cards in the short time I was there You can actually see the stars here at dusk and at midnight and the Milky Way is crystal clear, perfect for the Astro or Star Trail Photographer.
I saw three lifers (birds) in the space of a day and that’s in winter, I can’t wait to see it in summer. The Waterberg area is renowned for it’s rich bird-life, such as in the Nylsvlei area and expectations are high. From the back of the 9 seater OSV the photo ops come fast and regularly. Marcelle is a versed and jovial ranger and her driving skills are measured and photo centric; she puts you in the zone for your shot because she herself is a dedicated and accomplished photographer with years of experience in this reserve.