It’s Monday 18th March 2013 and highlights from David Rogers Photographic Workshop.

Hope you had a great weekend! Today we’ll hear from David Rogers who has just returned from his annual Photographic Workshop in the South Luangwa Valley and has lots to share.

“One of the great things about Emerald Season safaris in the Luangwa Valley is not only the migrant and colourful birds, the lush landscapes and the wonderful cloud formations, but also the astoundingly good sightings of cats!

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As guide Jacob Shawa points out: “Lions and leopards, like most cats, avoid getting their paws wet and its often easy to find them on the high ground as well as on the all-weather roads that provide access to the park.” So, it was something of a surprise when I arrived at Mfuwe this March and was told by one of the guides that they’d not seen a lion since December. “They are south of the Chichele Hills and we just can’t get to them”, he told me. Was it due to the fact that this was one of the driest February months for more than a decade, I wondered. “Don’t worry, every day is a new adventure”, said Jacob. “We will just have to see what Mother Nature is going to show us.”

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Unlike previous photo workshops which have started at Nkwali, we started this trip at Luangwa River Camp. Luangwa River Camp has only been in the RPS stable for a couple of years but has really taken on the character of the company with excellent hospitality and a wonderful location in the central section of the park. I was also thrilled from a workshop point of view to have a large dining room table to conduct our afternoon workshop sessions.

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On our second game drive in the vicinity of the Luangwa Wafwa (this has to be one of the most beautiful areas of the park) Jacob followed the calls of baboons to a wonderfully relaxed leopard lying asleep in a tree. How it managed to sleep with all that din was a mystery to me. What a real privilege to spend an hour or so deep in the green heart of the bush with this wonderful creature.

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It’s true, we did not see a lion for the first two days, but in some ways it made us focus on more interesting, colourful and often overlooked subjects. And what great photos we made. On day 3 we headed up the Luangwa by boat to the Nsefu Sector, looking forward to its remote location and wonderful river landscapes. ‘I always see lions from the river’, I boasted when we set off. And two lionesses lying on a sandbank about an hour out, kept my record intact. We could not get close to them by boat or on foot (and we tried) but at least we saw some lions.

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The river was much lower than usual and although we bumped and scraped a couple of times we eventually arrived at Nsefu. Nsefu is the oldest safari camp in Zambia and in the thatched rondavel you half expect to bump into some pipe smoking hunters. Of course we did not, instead the team who work here welcomed us all like old friends. The cakes, breads and meals we enjoyed were exceedingly memorable and all fashioned in a kitchen which looks (and is) about 60 years old. The ground was unusually firm underfoot on this trip due to the lack of rain and we had some great walks at Nsefu. The best of them was the walk to the stork colony where we marvelled at the busy yellow billed storks swooping in noisily with their thatching material.

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After two days, we headed back to Nkwali, looking forward to getting back into a game drive vehicle. Storm clouds were gathering and that afternoon the skies were ripped by thunder and lightning. “Good for predators,” said Jacob knowingly. The next morning two mating pairs of leopards on the road proved his theory right and also boded well for the lion population in the valley. That sort of opened the floodgates and from then on lions and leopards were the order of the day.

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Oh, and let me not forget the wild dog that we saw on our very last game drive. What a wonderful privilege to lead these groups into the valley at this special time of year. The pictures featured here were taken by Adrian and Ken, who were on the trip with me, and are testimony to the wonders of the Valley and also their photographic talents. Well done to you both.

David Rogers”

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Thanks for sharing this with us David, and a big thank you to Adrian and Ken for the great shots!

I hope that you have a great week ahead.

emily

 

 

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