The third leg of our African journey took us into Zambia and the Lower Zambezi River National Park. Chiawa Camp (https://www.chiawa.com/chiawa-camp/) on the Lower Zambezi River presented an entirely different bush experience. Obviously centered on the Lower Zambezi River, the traditional safari jeep game drives were supplemented by boat safaris along the river shore. The river has many islands that emerge and submerge depending on the water levels released from the dam upriver at Victoria Falls. Protected from predators, the hippos emerge in daylight hours to graze on the high grasses on the islands, only to thunder into the water at the approach of our boats. The shore is heavily wooded, essentially a woodland park for much of the shoreline rich with impala, elephants, lions, dogs and leopards. Unlike other camps we've visited, at Chiawa, the guides rotate each day so one gets a different take on the area from each and gets to know the entire guiding staff, which we all enjoyed tremendously.
A final thank you again to Rob Barbour and Robynne Flemming at Epic Private Journeys for arranging this amazing trip, and for helping us deal with complexities of covid testing in the bush (think helicopters and small fixed wing aircraft). These guys are the very very best -
Our second stop in Africa in October was the famous Okavango Delta. Sweltering heat, gracious people and amazing wildlife! We hit two Safari camps in the Delta. First was Mapula Lodge (Mapula Lodge) and the second was Taludi Camp (Taludi)
Both are run by Natural Selections, though are quite different. We generally felt that the facilities at Mapula were a bit tired, though the staff and the available wildlife viewing were exceptional. Taludi, on the other hand, is brand new and quite swanky, though it did have a bit more of a "canned safari" feel (one of our party called it the Hyatt of safaris.)
In the images, you'll see three blocks of images interspersed with individual images. The first is a series of the Wild Dogs at Mapula, both closeups and some rather graphic images of a hunt and a kill. The second is of a sibling pair of male and female lions (also at Mapula) who allowed us to spend some time with them as they followed the zebra and antelope herds. The last is a series of a gorgeous female leopard at Taludi who allowed to spend the better part of an hour with her as she moved through the low brush in beautiful afternoon light. I have a soft spot for leopards, and she's in the center of it.
A note on photographing on this trip. For much of it we had challenging light. In the Pans Nt'l Park, we were out in full bright midday light against baked white landscapes. In the Delta (then again later in Zambia) there were fires burning in the fields surrounding the park making for white, featureless skies. All the richer then, when we got some early morning or late afternoon light with some contour and/or warmth.
Again, thanks to Rob Barbour and Robynne Fleming at Epic Private Journeys (Epic) for coordinating such amazing adventures (and helping us navigate the various covid testing protocols along the way.)
Thanks for stopping by -
Worrying about Covid, we nonetheless ventured in October to Southern Africa with dear friends. Little did we know that we would leave there just ahead of the new Omicron Variant that has since surfaced in the countries we visited! Fortunately, Safari is by structure a socially distanced activity. Now, we reflect and worry for the lovely people who cared for us there so beautifully. May they all be well!
This collection is the first of three from that trip. These images are from our stay at Meno a Kwena Safari Camp (https://naturalselection.travel/camps/meno-a-kwena/.) This camp is on the border of the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park in Botswana. The rhythm here is different from other safari camps in that the game drives are in the middle of the day to match the animals' pattern of descending from the protection of the bush down to the Boteti River, then back into the bush at sunset. And it was hot! Hovering around 105F (approx 45C) in the heat of the day. But it was extraordinary. One day, we counted 100 elephants in our view of the river, all bachelor males behaving badly!
Thanks to friend Rob Barbour of Epic Private Journeys (https://epicprivatejourneys.com/) who once again choreographed an amazing African journey.
Thanks for Looking
Isolated, locked down. A chance to "revisit" images from past adventures. These are from a trip to Bhutan in 2012, when I was just beginning to be serious about making images. The people of Bhutan stand out. One day, perhaps to return.
As always, if you play the slideshow with your computer sound turned on, there is an accompanying soundtrack (some computers and mobile devices won't play the music - regrets.) The music for the slideshow is "the Song of Auspiciousness" from Sacred Feminine Voices of Bhutan (used by Fair Use Rules, no additional rights claimed)
This collection is the second part of of this year's African adventure. This collection is from trekking the jungles of Uganda to visit the Chimpanzees in the Kigali National Forest and the Mountain Gorillas in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. In each case, the bands we visited had been carefully habituated to humans over several years so we were permitted to be astoundingly close to them. This is part of a program to encourage eco-tourism to support preservation of these endangered primates. As a result, poaching has been reduced significantly, and the population numbers of both species are slowly on the rise. The Chimpanzees we encountered were quite high up in the trees, with the exception of one young male who dropped down and posed for us. In the two days of trekking the Gorillas, we met a singular family group each day comprised of a dominant Silver Back male, a number of females and immature you males, and in each family one very you baby Gorilla.
To look into the eyes of these individuals is to see clear intelligence and, fortunately for us, tolerance of our presence. A gift.
The sound track for the Collection is "Improvisation" from Season of Changes by Brian Blade and the Fellowship Band (used under fair use rules with no claim to any rights...)