My photo album

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Aug 5th, 2004, 09:35 AM
  #1
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My photo album

Hello all
My family and I were in South Africa in May. I haven't yet done a trip report as so much of what we did has been covered by others. I will still do a short one at some point. This was our first trip to Africa and I must admit we now have the bug.
Many thanks to all the contributors to this site. I did a great deal of research before booking but found this site the most helpful. I hope you will enjoy seeing the photos and understand that you all helped make this happen for us. Here is my link

http://www.ofoto.com/BrowsePhotos.js...1&sort_order=0

Many thanks to all
AlisonV
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Aug 5th, 2004, 10:02 AM
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Alison,
I sure enjoyed looking at your great photos. You really have some great close-ups. Where did you actually stay?
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Aug 5th, 2004, 10:14 AM
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Alisonv-
Great pictures. Thanks for sharing. I do have a question and I can guarantee this topic hasn't been covered in too much detail on this forum yet.

Did you actually do some cage diving w/ the great whites? That is one of my top five "to do" things and I would love to hear all about it. Please tell me all the details if you would!
Thanks.
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Aug 5th, 2004, 10:26 AM
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Alison, great photos and some extraordinary close ups.

Divewop, what would you like to know about cage diving? I have gone twice (May 2000 and August 2002). The second time, with White Shark Ecoventures, was far better than the first, but this may have been due to the month, not the operator.

We saw five sharks in August, and the four of us (out of 10 on the boat) who got in the water spent about 20 minutes each in the cage (the water was very cold even with drysuits).

Michael
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Aug 5th, 2004, 10:41 AM
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Divewop, I am a bit of a coward when it comes to water so I stayed on the boat. My husband and two kids went in. There was a lot of shark activity that day, May 14, so we saw 14 sharks up close. As Thit_cho states the water was extremely cold even with the full wet suits. My son stayed in an hour and a half. He saw a couple of sharks underwater. My husband and daughter bailed after 20 minutes because of the cold. The other issue for most of the divers was that between the movement of the boat and the movement of the cage, it made people extremely sea sick.
Of course after my gang vacated the cage there was a huge surge in activity and the other divers saw between 5 and 6 sharks each. None were larger than 3-4 meters. This is supposedly fairly small but big enough for us!
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Aug 5th, 2004, 10:59 AM
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I am glad the photos are a success. We loved taking them.
NewYorkGolfer41, we stayed at a number of places. In Capetown we stayed at the welgelegen Guest House which was lovely. The food was great and the accomdations lovely. We would stay there again.
In Franschoek we stayed at the Auberge Clermont. It was very nice and well situated. We would stay there again but I might be tempted to try some of the other accomodations in the area.
In Hermanus we stayed at the Auberge Burgundy. Very well situated and the accomdations were adequate but I don't think I would go back there.
In Knysna we stayed at the Knysna Hollow Country estate. Very nice. They also have rooms but I would stick with the garden cottages.They were large and comfortable. Wood is provided daily for the fireplace.
At Addo we stayed at the largest self catering cottage. It was really lovely. Spacious and well equiped with dining room/living room and two large bedrooms. The huge deck had 4 large wicker chairs and an enormous coffee table. Would return in a heartbeat.
Johannesburg we stayed at the Balalaika in Sandton. Nothing to write home about.
In Timbavati we stayed at Gomo Gomo. It was very nice with large chalets. The food was okay. I didn't like our ranger so he may have tainted the experience. It was good value for the money but we won't be back.
Nottens Bush Camp on the other hand is tiny. They only accept 10 guests. They can go to 12 but try not to. The family lives there so it is a wonderful,intimate and friendly experience. The food was terrific as was the service. The cottages are beautiful with an amazing attention to detail. There is no electricity in the cottages so at night your room is lit by candles and hurricane lamps. Very romantic and beautiful. The reserve is adjacent to the Mala Mala property so the game viewing was incredible for almost half the price. We are definitely going back.


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Aug 5th, 2004, 11:47 AM
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Thit_cho-
Hmmmmm...what do I want to know about diving w/ the great whites? The answer would probably be "Everything!"

As an avid diver (as if you couldn't tell by my name.) seeing the great white and being able to dive amongst them would be pretty darn special. It would probably bring a tear or two to my eye kinda like when I stepped onto the Mara for the first time.

I guess I'd like to know what it's like to see them up close and personal. And to be so close. I know the television does not do them justice. Are you glad you did it? How how would you rate the experience? And how doggone cold is that water? You were in dry suits and still cold? Yikes!

Without going on and on and boring the rest of the fodorites to death, suffice it to say that I'd jump at the chance to get in the water with them no matter how cold it was!

Alisonv-
Wow! Your son must be a trooper to withstand that amount of time in the cold water. And good for you guys seeing that many sharks.

I know seasickness can be rough. When the boat is rocking in choppy water combined w/ the smell of fumes, it can make it tough on just about anyone.

It still sounds like it was one heck of an experience. Most people will never get the chance to see the sharks like you guys did!
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Aug 5th, 2004, 12:38 PM
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Thanks for sharing your photos. Some wonderful wildlife shots. I particularly liked your evening leopard shots!!! I could almost hear him/her panting!!
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Aug 5th, 2004, 01:00 PM
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Alisonv - Absolutely outstanding photos, great color - the animal closeups, especially that leopard! WOW! Looks like all had a wonderful time - thanks for sharing. Now, we'll await a short trip report.

Re shark cage diving - while I don't do water, when we visited in 2001, we did go out for the day. I was in charge of the camera (above water); he had a camera below water. Yes, the water is very cold, and my partner commented when first putting on the wetsuit "guess we're not in Hawaii anymore" - the weight of the wetsuit was much thicker than those familiar suits worn in warmer waters.

Everyone on the boat (about 10) stayed down as long as they wished, at least 30-minutes or more, two at a time in the cage. And most went down for a second and third dive. Of course, all were advised not to reach out of the cage to attempt to touch the shark - but, as is human nature, everyone did do just that - they all had to "just touch" - everyone left with all their limbs attached. The sharks were relatively tame, curious, but not aggressive - just swimming to and fro.

Though I didn't go into the water, I did manage to get a few pictures from up top and the best is one of the sharks grabbing the last of the chum bag - boy do they have big teeth.

For those interested, and from what I could tell, and since you don't go down with tanks - just the mouthpiece as tanks remain on board - go for it! It's a great activity.
 
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Aug 5th, 2004, 02:48 PM
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I really like the one with the impala flying through the air!

Great photos - thanks for sharing them.

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Aug 5th, 2004, 03:18 PM
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The diving was an incredible experience. It truly is a once in a lifetime (or more if you can do it) experience. Everyone reported that the sight of one of those coming towards you underwater makes you forget the cold. The water was 15 degrees celsius but no one was put off by it. The people after us actually had the cage bumped a couple of times by the sharks. They seemed to be more curious than anything else. We were told to keep hands etc inside the cage and were told when to dive by the spotter. The White Shark Project people decided to do the diving snorkeling style that day. The sharks were fairly young and all the boats reported that they were being put off by the bubbles of the scuba gear.

As for the leopard shot, it was taken at night as this large male was marking his territory by spraying. He walked right past us when we got this shot. He wasn't too bothered by us. He just wanted to get back to business.
The impala leaping was a real lucky shot. Sometimes things just work out.
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Aug 5th, 2004, 05:01 PM
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Thanks - our photos are awesome. I loved the birds and enjoyed the leopard shots - they were so close....

Do you mind telling me what type of camera and zoom you were using? I am currently in the midst of deciding what camera to purchase.

Thanks so much.
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Aug 5th, 2004, 07:58 PM
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Hello one2travel.
It is a Pentax MZ-6 35mm camera. We used a Pentax 75-300mm lens The long shots were taken with a 28 - 90mm lens. Most shots were taken on 400 ISO film, with a couple being on 200 ISO. We will be looking for a digital camera before our next trip. But I do think we will continue to carry this standard camera. It provides us with excellent shots (I think) and we are very happy with it.
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Aug 6th, 2004, 12:03 AM
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<WAVE>
Hello!

Two brothers is a fantastic lion photo! Also love the rhino in the road and the lion cub pile! The female leopard is great but that male one at night is just stunning. And the fleeing impala action shot is amazing!
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Aug 6th, 2004, 04:03 AM
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Alison-
Absolutely remarkable pictures. They looked more like paintings than photos. I don't believe I've ever seen such striking color. You could give pointers on that. I thought it must surely be digital, but no you said not. Loved them all. The pig showed more colors in it than I've even seen. Actually is a beautiful animal.
The pictures from Table Mountain were good for someone to see that has never been there. Lots of interesting angles and good framing.
Even though you think we've seen too many similar trip reports, they don't seem at all alike when we're reading them. Each is different and gives one a perspective from another angle. Please reconsider. I'm having trip report withdrawal right now.
That stalking leopard walking right toward you is incredible too. Thanks so much for sharing. Liz
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Aug 6th, 2004, 05:49 AM
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Great pix Alison. Just a very small possible correction, isn't #1 taken at Cape Point?
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Aug 6th, 2004, 07:40 AM
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Wonderful photos Alison! Thank you so much for sharing.

Lily
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Aug 6th, 2004, 08:47 AM
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Hello all
ArthurSA, you are absolutely correct it is Cape Point. Looking at scads of scenery shots the mind and the eyes begin to cross. Thanks for the correction I will fix it.
I guess I had better get started on that trip report. Thanks for all the kind comments.
Alison
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Aug 6th, 2004, 09:16 AM
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Thank you so much for posting your photos -- they are absolutely lovely and made me want to go back even more.
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