06 September 2012 by Ems Tsotetsi

Our natural heritage

South Africa’s combination of wildlife and natural surroundings makes it ideal for capturing great moments on film. Wildlife and nature photographer Morkel Erasmus shares his experiences of exploring South Africa’s national parks and game reserves.

The iconic Golden Gate vista overlooking the Maluti Mountains. Image courtesy of Morkel Erasmus

This week I have a guest blogger, a great wildlife and nature photographer by the name of Morkel Erasmus. He shared some of his recent images with us, as well as some words about his experiences and his favourite national parks and game reserves in South Africa.

I visited his website and discovered that he has an eye for capturing great moments in the wild. Apart from his great photography work and the many awards he has collected over the years, he is a child of Africa; his love for South Africa and the rest of Africa shines through in his work. Here’s what he had to say: 

During my lifetime I have had the privilege of visiting the majority of South Africa’s national parks and game reserves. What a wealth of natural heritage we possess! When people from abroad look at some of the work in my photographic portfolio, they are amazed at the diversity of wildlife and landscapes that we have 'on our doorstep', so to speak. We need to appreciate it, conserve it and foster a love for this natural heritage among all South Africans from all walks of life.

If we don’t, we might just lose it before our children have the chance to see what we see now. Many iconic species of fauna are already at risk (think rhinos and wild dogs), and the constant threat of mining and industrial development in areas of pristine natural beauty is something that won’t go away soon.

Here are some scenes from a couple of well-known and lesser-known parks and reserves that are both accessible for people who self-drive and self-cater, and reasonably affordable.

Kruger National Park

Everybody’s favourite reserve, this park spans a massive 2-million hectares (approximately) and contains beautiful scenery and fauna. The southern region is very popular and therefore can get very crowded. I prefer to visit the quieter and more scenic northern regions


A herd of buffalo on the Mphongolo River near Punda Maria in the Kruger. Image courtesy of Morkel Erasmus


A male leopard ascends a leadwood tree to get to its kill near Satara, Kruger National Park. Image courtesy of Morkel Erasmus


Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

If you are a keen wildlife photographer there is no better place, in my opinion, than the Kgalagadi. Remote, arid and teeming with life, this is a place where silence and serenity seep into your soul.


A black-maned Kalahari lion strides across the vast expanse of the Kgalagadi. Image courtesy of Morkel Erasmus


The iconic secretary bird takes flight in the Golden Gate Highlands National Park. Image courtesy of Morkel Erasmus


Golden Gate Highlands National Park

The jewel of the Eastern Free State, this park encompasses iconic sandstone formations, the Maluti Mountains, and a wide array of life forms.


Dawn breaks over the Maluti Mountains in the Golden Gate Highlands National Park. Image courtesy of Morkel Erasmus


Giraffes at sunrise in the Pilanesberg. Image courtesy of Morkel Erasmus


Pilanesberg Game Reserve/Pilanesberg National Park

Though this park doesn’t fall under the mantle of the South African National Parks, it’s sometimes called a national park and is a very popular destination for nature lovers close to Gauteng. The Mankwe Dam, with its large bird hide, is popular among birders and bird photographers.




I hope that this quick overview has inspired you to visit more of the well-known and lesser-known wilderness areas left in our country. Get out, explore, photograph, conserve, and communicate!

Category: Wildlife

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