It’s Monday 15th June 2009 and the Photographic Safari

As I said last week, Dave Rogers had written about his Photographic Workshop a few weeks ago but I had to get my Liuwa Plain trip in so this has been waiting. I have included a random selection of the slide show the group gave at the end. Wonderful photos! Over to Dave……

Photographic Safaris with Dave Rogers - the groupelephants fighting in the shallows of the Luangwa River

There were late rains in Luangwa, the river was high and the bush was looking green for the May 2009 photographic workshop. The entire group had been on previous photographic safaris so it was great to be among old friends. We spent the first three nights with Kiki and his team at Nkwali and enjoyed some excellent lion, leopard and wild dog encounters.

crowned crane taking offground hornbill taking off

On our way north to Nsefu, well beyond the Luangwa Wafwa, a group of giraffe blocked the road. A female was clearly in season and the bulls sparred with one another to assert dominance. The graceful and slow manoeuvres disguised the intensity of the very real battle for dominance. One giraffe eventually managed to get its neck under another’s leg in a classic wrestling move that very nearly left the other on its back.

We were the first guests at Nsefu (it was closed in April when the river level made boating inaccessible) and Daudi and the team had been working hard putting in the new bridge so that guests and supplies could get in by road. Luangwa’s original camp has such charm and we were all soon lulled by its tranquility and isolation.

wild dog in the morning lighta very chilled Luangwa Leopard!

There was plenty of water about and general game was spread out. Under the new moon leopards and other predators were having a hard time finding game and keeping away from other predators. On the first evening a leopard was chased into the upper canopy by a lioness, and, on our last night, a second leopard lost a baboon to a hyena in the ebony grove.

Another highlight was an unusual encounter between a mother hippo, a youngster and a newborn calf. On four or five occasions the youngster grabbed the calf in its mouth, shook it from side to side, and then hurled it into the water. It was difficult to see whether the youngster was biting the calf with its teeth or simply grabbing with its gums. But six or seven crocodiles within about five metres suggested there was blood in the water. The mother repeatedly intervened.

mother hippo protecting her babybaby hippo attacked by a teenager

After minutes the hippos joined the rest of the pod and settle down and there were no signs of injury. Had the hippo experienced a ‘short circuit,’ or was this a case of sibling rivalry? None of the guides at Robin Pope Safaris seemed quite sure

The photographers were all incredibly enthusiastic and 04h30 wake-ups, short siestas, and long hours working in Lightroom and Photoshop paid off with one of the best final evening slide shows yet.

young yellow billed stork landing next to mumlilac breasted roller

A word of warning: I was slightly handicapped this year in the lens department because the baggage handlers at Johannesburg International Airport ripped apart a locked Pelican case containing by trusty 300mm 2.8 lens. It serves as a reminder not to check in anything of valuable into flights going through SAA handling.

Thanks Dave. We’ll see you next March for the River Journeys Photographic Safaris.

Until next week, have a great one……

Steve Wilson riding to Kawaza

PS Steve Wilson – who is riding on a vintage motorbike from the Cape to Kawaza to raise money for the school – has sent the following message….
“Just a quick one to say that, after some mechanical mayhem with the old bike which has stranded me (very comfortably) in Port Elizabeth while getting fixed, I am back on the road. Looking forward to Zambia – fingers crossed”. All the best, Steve Wilson

To sponsor or find out more…..Check out the website or read a short article on this.

wet elephants in the Luangwa

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