A Magical Night in the Kgalagadi

Gerry van der Walt All Authors, Gerry Leave a Comment

Earlier this year I led a photographic expedition to the Kgalagdi Transfrontier Park. 


On our second last evening in the park we returned from our afternoon game drive as some massive clouds started building over the Kalahari Tented Camp where we stay during these trips.

Long story short – after dinner we all shared once last drink before heading back to our tents to get ready for our last full day of photography in the park.  I got back to my tent and set up my D700 on a tripod and left it to shoot to shoot a series of images as the storm which was threatening earlier on kept on lighting up the skies in the distance.

I sat back in the pitch dark night to just take in the absolutely amazing mix of stars, clouds and lightning.

The amazing thing was that even thought I could see the thunder and lightning in the distane I could not hear a single thing.

Not the lightning strikes.

Not the rolling thunder.

Not even a single barking gecko which defines the evenings in this magical place.

It was ons of the most amazing scenes I have ever seen in nature and believe me when I say it was nothing short of breathtaking!

As I sat there I could not help but be reminded of why we do what we do.   Why we get up early in the mornings and stay out later than most other people.  Why we keep on looking for the unique and beautiful moments out in nature.

After about an hour or so of watching the amazing light show I packed up my camera and went to bed.  I did not look at any of the images – something I think some people get carried away with – until the next evening when I cleaned up my memory cards again and I was quite chuffed with the results.

One of the things we worked on that particular day was the shooting of time lapse videos.  Through out the afternoon we had cameras all over the show as everybody tried different angles, scenes and intervals while Andrew and I spoke about intervalometers, frame rates and shooting intervals.

During the day, and thanks to a large extent to the building clouds that resulted in the crazy skies later that night, our group got some amazing time lapse footage.

The short video clip below shows three different time lapse sequences – the clouds building over our vehicle just as we got back to camp, the rolling clouds we saw, and photographed, from the deck while we were preparing and enjoying dinner and then the last five seconds shows but a glimpse of the scenes we saw that night.

Beautiful chaos!


The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is a truly special place – one of my favorites – and I am looking forward to getting back there later this year but this particular night will also stand out.  It was unexpected.  It was beautiful.  It was nature at it’s best!

Until next time.

Gerry van der Walt


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