Custos Naturae

Custos Naturae is the slogan of the Kruger National Park, it means Guardian of Nature. i have been very familiar with it since i was a kid, as we were lucky enough to visit the park in my childhood days. we’ve just returned from our recent trip, and i took too many photos as per usual. i decided not to spend hours editing every single last one – so here are a selection of my favourites, highlighting some of the best things we saw.

every trip is different, last year we saw hyena (and were lucky enough to see a leopard!) this time round we saw neither, but we did see a LOT of rhino – 16 to be exact – up close and personal, which was such a privilege considering the dire rhino poaching situation in the park and across Africa. we also spent a fair bit of one morning in the company of some beautiful male lions, who were so close to our car it made me nervous. when a lion looks straight into your eyes… you can actually feel yourself moving a few notches down the food chain.

some photos were taken with my iPhone 4S (see them on instagram) but most were shot with a Nikon d7000 that i borrowed from my generous mom, using a 70-300mm lens. edited with VSCO.

Miss Moss Kruger Park photographs
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29 Responses to Custos Naturae

  1. Betül Monday 7 April, 2014 at 10:32 am #

    amazing pictures! I so want to see the background of these images tho, how do you approach to these animals this much? Unique experience!

    • Miss Moss Monday 7 April, 2014 at 10:45 am #

      well you actually just sit in a car and drive around. you’re not allowed to get out of your car (for obvious reasons). that’s why i used a zoom lens – though sometimes you’re lucky enough to have the animals approach really close to the vehicle. they do not see cars as a “threat”- they do not recognize you as human until you get out of the car!

  2. Cecile Blake Monday 7 April, 2014 at 11:21 am #

    Wow i am quite stunned by how professional these pictures look! far cry from the 1980′s where one could hardly see the animal in amateur wildlife pics. Not that you are an amateur! (clearly!)

  3. Fernand et Firmin Monday 7 April, 2014 at 11:50 am #

    I love that they managed to combine the “touristy” side and the animal protection, well being and development so well. Dreamy and exemplary.

  4. Brooke Monday 7 April, 2014 at 2:00 pm #

    Wow! These are incredible. I was lucky enough to go to a camp in Botswana where we saw lots of beautiful animals and scenery, the wild dogs were by far my favourite. So goofy! We only saw one rhino, can’t believe you saw 16! Hopefully that means their numbers are increasing…

  5. Keeley Monday 7 April, 2014 at 2:46 pm #

    Beautiful photos, I would love to see these animals up close in their natural habitat! I’m fairly new to your blog have you done any posts on traveling to South Africa? (I live in the US).

  6. Andi Monday 7 April, 2014 at 3:28 pm #

    These pics took my breath away!

  7. Kathryn Monday 7 April, 2014 at 5:07 pm #

    Thank you for sharing these exemplary photos. Your post was the first thing in my inbox this morning and I can not think of a better way to begin my week than viewing those beautiful animals.

  8. Cuero&Mør Monday 7 April, 2014 at 5:18 pm #

    Wow!! Those pictures are gorgeous…the points of view, the colors, the light….awesome!! :)

  9. Ashley Monday 7 April, 2014 at 6:15 pm #

    Just lovely! I can’t tell you much I’ve enjoyed seeing your IG photos from Kruger Park this past week. You’re always outdoing yourself.

  10. maggie Monday 7 April, 2014 at 7:04 pm #

    Holy cow these are lovely. You are so fortunate to have something like this near(ish) you! I am glad you got to see some rhinos as well.

  11. Amy Monday 7 April, 2014 at 10:33 pm #

    Holy cow! This is just amazing.

  12. thatdamngreendress Tuesday 8 April, 2014 at 12:17 am #

    OH, I swear I have a picture of that exact same rhino! :) I visited Kruger in 2006 and drove around with my mother and sisters this same time of year- so special since there were babies of everything around. We saw lots and lots of elephants- once getting a little too close to a herd that came surging out of the bushes in front of us and the menfolk stomped around, staring at our car for a bit before deciding it was okay to let the huge herd of mothers and babies follow along behind them. sigh. Good times- it’s great to revisit it with your pictures, which are stunning and much superior to ours!

  13. Samantha Tuesday 8 April, 2014 at 4:14 am #

    Kruger National Park has been the best thing I have ever done in my life. I live in Australia and grew up watching documentaries from South Africa that featured the most majestic wildlife I have ever seen. Going there was a dream and to see the animals so close and in their natural habitat was a dream come true. Your country is truly magical

  14. Melissa Tuesday 8 April, 2014 at 4:37 am #

    These are just lovely photos! I love the expressions you’ve captured on the animals.

  15. she Tuesday 8 April, 2014 at 5:13 am #

    Wow, spectator!

  16. Megan Tuesday 8 April, 2014 at 9:31 am #

    I am an American living in southern Africa and am heading to Kruger for my second time next week. Your photos are amazing! Based on your many trips, do you have recommended lodges or rest camps? I have a feeling I’ll be returning to the park often and hope to explore many different parts of it. (Also, as someone new to the region, I find your blog and recommendations invaluable. Your CPT city guide is my go-to when ever I visit.)

    • Miss Moss Tuesday 8 April, 2014 at 9:45 am #

      we stayed just outside the park right by the Kruger gate at a lodge called Burchells. so we would drive into the park every day and explore different routes from there. i found southern Kruger to be the best for game viewing (the area from Skukuza south basically). we did go up to Olifants and stayed there for one night, but the game viewing wasn’t as great – especially at this time of year when the vegetation is so dense. if you are going in winter (the dry season) when it’s more open and easier to spot animals, then i would recommend going as far north as Olifants – though even Satara would be far enough. The area around Satara is also amazing for seeing lions, and big herds that prefer the more open savanna like wildebeest and so on. the Timbavati road is also a very worthwhile drive if you decide to go north.

      We didn’t stay in any lodges, they are too expensive for us (though i would love to spend a night at a tented camp or somewhere equally luxurious!). the rest camps are basic, but fine. in my mind you don’t need anything more than a bed and a fire to cook every night… we would pack the car every morning with a cooler box filled with ice and all our food and drink, and a picnic basket with everything we needed – then we would always stop at a picnic spot around lunchtime and make food. then carry on driving until we had to be out of the park around 6pm.

  17. Julia Kostreva Tuesday 8 April, 2014 at 5:57 pm #

    Holy smokes! These shots are amazing. I cannot believe you were among all that wonderful wild beauty. Also loved reading your comment above, it felt like reading a discovered letter in a trunk of complete treasures.

  18. Shirley Tuesday 8 April, 2014 at 7:07 pm #

    Amazing amazing amazing! What a great array of photos, so beautifully captured. That’s it, you’ve put this place (among others) on my list of must-visits. :)

  19. Roseann Tuesday 8 April, 2014 at 11:03 pm #

    These are incredible. I scrolled through the images before I read the text and afterwards I went looking for the name of the famous photographer that captured them and it’s you! You’re the photographer. Well done. I particularly love the rhino images.

  20. Erin Wednesday 9 April, 2014 at 8:37 am #

    Hi there –

    You couldn’t have posted these beautiful pictures at a better time! I live in Ethiopia but will be visiting South Africa for the first time on Friday. So excited! While we won’t be visiting Kruger, we will be stopping at Addo, Knysna and De Hoop on our way from PE to Cape Town. Thanks for these pictures, as well as all the other things you post about your home country — we’ll definitely be checking out your recommendations for Cape Town eats, drinks and shopping.

    Thanks so much,
    Erin

  21. Karen Wednesday 9 April, 2014 at 9:21 am #

    These pictures are spectacular! I absolutely LOVE the sleeping rhinos in the road. Made me a bit teary. Thanks for sharing. (would you ever consider selling your prints?)

  22. f Thursday 10 April, 2014 at 8:39 pm #

    wow! i must go here… so lucky you grew up around such amazing nature (coming from a city girl here).
    photos are amazing!

  23. Claire Friday 11 April, 2014 at 6:10 pm #

    What beautiful, beautiful photos! I can’t believe some of these were taken by holding up your iPhone in front of your binoculars (I think I read that on Twitter?). Seriously, some of these are just unreal! Thank you for sharing these with us.

  24. Beth Saturday 12 April, 2014 at 6:46 pm #

    These are just stunning, stunning photos.

  25. Kate Tuesday 15 April, 2014 at 9:16 pm #

    Always love your pictures of Kruger. I have wonderful memories of the two times I visited and would love to go back in the future.

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