GLOBE TROTTER: Cameraman David van Rensburg filmed the 2006 African Cup of Nations in Egypt.
GLOBE TROTTER: Cameraman David van Rensburg filmed the 2006 African Cup of Nations in Egypt.

News cameraman captures the world through the lens

FILMING lions and elephants was just a normal part of David van Rensburg's workday.

The cameraman, who grew up in South Africa, spent years travelling the continent to shoot documentaries with the Discovery Channel and National Geographic.

David said he never thought spending his days with wildlife was anything out of the ordinary.

"It was just going to work for me because I grew up in South Africa seeing lions and elephants," he said.

David, who films for Seven local news in Rockhampton, eventually left wildlife filming in 2004 and ended up travelling to all corners of the world following South Africa's top sports teams with his camera in tow.

"We went all over the world following the Springboks and other teams which took me wherever they were competing," he said.

This saw David film everywhere, including at the New Zealand Rugby World Cup in 2011 and at the London Olympic Games in 2012.

While David's career around the world was adventurous and fun, life in South Africa was a different story.

David knows only too well how dangerous the country can be.

An armed robbery in his family's home was the moment David knew it was time to leave.

"Crime in South Africa is out of hand and the country is going backwards, it wasn't a big issue before but now we have our kids and were worrying about their future," David said.

David, his wife Chinkie, and their two children, had already obtained visas to move to Australia and decided it was time to pack their bags.

"I'd never heard of Rockhampton so I got a call about this job and after the robbery we wanted to move," he said.

"We landed here and we love it, it's safe for the kids."

David and his family have settled in Yeppoon after moving here over a year ago.

The father-of-two said he was happy to settle in the region and give his kids experiences and opportunities they wouldn't have had on another continent.

"For us to come here and see a kangaroo for the first time is like people seeing a lion for the first time; and it's beautiful for the kids to be able to hold a koala bear," David said.

Despite leaving a stellar filming career, David said this is the first time in his life he's experienced being home every night.

"When I was in South Africa I was gone 200 days of the year; to be at home every night is more than anything in the world," he said.

David said he is grateful to be living in the community and especially next to Great Barrier Reef, which will allow him to achieve a life-long dream.

"My passion is to work on the Great Barrier Reef and its right beside me now; I can't wait to do some exploring and make documentaries," he said.


Cameraman David van Rensburg told the Bulletin of the time he encountered a hippopotamus.

"We were filming in Zambia at a chimpanzee sanctuary, and the lady who ran the sanctuary had a pet hippo and it acted like a dog, following people around," he said.

"It was quite scary because it was fully grown.

"One morning we woke up in our room and couldn't get out because it was standing in the door, so we lured it away with chocolates so he'd move."

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