Photo blog, end of a gap year

10th March 2015   •  By Ulrica Vilen-Letts

Ulrica Vilen-Letts shares a third photo blog from her gap year in southern Africa during which she studied as a professional safari guide. The blog includes photos from her final days of the course at Makuleke in northern Kruger and then a family trip to Thornybush for a family safari.

From one of Makuleke’s stunning lookouts

One of my favourite spots for sundowners. Really beautiful spot that made me feel like a very small fish in a big big pond.

View, Makuleke

© Ulrica Vilen-Letts

I can smell the humans, Makuleke

Walking in the tall grass can be risky, you never know what is out there. Even elephants can be completely hidden in these tall grasses on the floodplain.

Elephant in tall grass at Makuleke

© Ulrica Vilen-Letts

Banded mongoose, Thornybush

My first ever sighting of banded mongooses (mongi, as we liked to call them). They even stopped to let me snap a few shots of them.

Banded mongoose

© Ulrica Vilen-Letts

Beautiful leopardess, Thornybush

This was my third ever sighting of a Leopard and by far the most amazing. We followed her and her cub for about 30 minutes. We kept our distance as they strolled casually to the borehole for a drink. She kept stopping for her cub to catch up. I took a million and one photos of her, this is one of my favourites, I really like the lighting.


© Ulrica Vilen-Letts

The white beast

I was very privileged to get a photo of this white rhino with such good light. I usually only see them at dusk and they were usually obscured by trees and bushes. This female had a calf and was very protective of her/him, she kept the calf well hidden at all times.

White rhino

© Ulrica Vilen-Letts

Spotted hyena den, Thornybush

After an amazing game drive of buffalo and lion sightings we passed a hyena den on the way home. We had an amazing sighting including cubs, here is what I believe to be the dominant female scouting out the surroundings.

Spotted hyena

© Ulrica Vilen-Letts

Herd of buffalo, Thornybush

Although I was very accustomed to seeing buffalo frequently, this sighting was special. We had stopped to look at some tracks when we heard the slow steady rumble of an approaching herd. We sat tight until the vehicle was completely surrounded by the herd and they just kept coming. After the stragglers had passed we followed the herd to the watering hole eating their dust as we went. It was a magical and memorable sighting.

Herd of buffalo

© Ulrica Vilen-Letts

The pride, Thornybush

I witnessed some of the best sightings of my life at Thornybush. I think this goes up there as my number two. A pride of lions on a buffalo kill! Two adult females and their cubs all chowing down on a massive buffalo carcass. We were very close. At the point this photo was taken a member of the vehicle slid their arm out the side of the car and was greeted with this deadly stare.

Lion on kill

© Ulrica Vilen-Letts

Get involved

Interested in doing a safari course yourself? Then visit the Courses page where there are many to choose from. Courses range in length from one week to the eleven month professional safari guide course which Ulrica completed.