An AMAZING nature photography adventure to Africa for Lynn and I during June. This was our second time and it has recaptured our hearts and souls. This time we revisited South Africa (more of that later) but also extended our travels into Namibia and Botswana.
Our Namibian journey concentrated more on landscape photography than on animal photography. Much of the southern Namibian Landscape is reminiscent of Australia with its extreme dryness but their seems to be something even deeper that tugs at you, that connection to our own evolution perhaps. We drove down into the depths of Fish River Canyon, second largest in the world, and soared in a balloon over Oryx running on the red sand dunes of Sossusvlei. In the difficult light of dusk we watched Aardwolf come out to hunt and young Bat- eared fox come out to play.
Leaving the Namib desert we traveled to the altogether wetter environment of the Okavango, Botswana. The waters were starting to come into the system so there was plenty of activity but the roads were still dry allowing us plenty of access to areas that can be tricky in the wet. We glimpsed large herds of female elephants and youngsters and certainly heard them but our close encounters were with the large number of males (mostly) peacefully grazing or bathing. We had hoped to see Leopard as one of our group had not seen them before and were blessed with some glimpses but not truly satisfying sightings. Our greatest interactions were with Hyena and Vultures as we were able to spend a lot of time over a few game drives watching and photographing them devour a large Cape Buffalo carcass. Arriving as the early morning sun was streaming through and bathing everything in a deep orange light enabled some interesting back lit photographic shots of the Hyena and Vultures together.
And then it was on to the Kruger, or more specifically the Timbavati region of private concessions that sit along the edge of the National Park. The private concessions are vital to the management of the animals, greatly increasing the land available to them and are carefully managed by the land holders. And it was here we finally got good looks at Leopard. In fact we missed seeing leopard on only one out of nine game drives. Leopard spotting in the Kruger is aided by the skilled treeing of game, so you are able to look up and see them, where the Okavango Leopards seem more inclined to leave there kill in the dense undergrowth under thorny bushes which makes them much harder to see unless they are out and about. We were able to capture some amazing Leopard photos.
As usual our friend and guide Dave Pusey used his great experience both as a guide and photographer to make sure we were in the right place to capitalise on the light and composition (with the constraints of land management - you cannot just drive anywhere). It makes a huge difference when your guide understands what you need without having to be asked - you can concentrate on taking photographs and admiring the animals and birds. We realised that we simply cannot not go back to Africa regularly and how much we enjoyed sharing it with our friends we traveled with. We want to share it with others too
So much so, that we have organised to do annual trips with our friend, professional guide and photographer, Dave Pusey, from Leo Vantage AND we are inviting interested like minded people to join us.
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The Lechwe family photo, taken by Dick, has just been accepted into the Australian Photographic Society's 41st National Exhibition, and along with two other images accepted (Bushman of the Kalahari and Vietnamese Baker's Hands), will be exhibited at APSCON.