Photo Safari: Luangwa Classic | Flatdogs & Lion Camp | 17 - 23 Jul 2013
24th July 2013 - 0 comments

I recently finished my first photo safari in the Luangwa after 6 days in the bush! We had an amazing time and enjoyed some wonderful sightings over that time. I was very much coaching and helping my guests take better photos so didn't take very many myself, but here's a selection of those that I did manage to snap in between.

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Wildlife: Scops Owl
13th July 2013 - 0 comments

African Scops Owls are beautiful little nocturnal carnivores, slightly larger than a man's fist. Their frog-like "prrr-up" call is heard across the bushvelt in Southern Africa, and with a bit of patience can lead you to a good sighting.

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Wildlife: Keeping watch
11th July 2013 - 0 comments

While the rest of the herd drank from the lagoon behind him, this buffalo bull kept a wary eye on us to make sure we didn't approach too close. By this time of year, when water sources are drying up, we find large herds of buffalo (sometimes more than 1500) searching for grazing opportunities.

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Wildlife: Elephants in the Zambezi
04th July 2013 - 0 comments

While boating along the Zambezi River last month, we came across this group of bulls feeding on the reeds growing on the submerged sandbars. They didn't seem concerned by our approach and we managed to take some close-up photographs, but I preferred the earlier ones I had taken when their environment is more visible.

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Wildlife: Crossing
02nd July 2013 - 0 comments

We were out one evening recently and were following a small group of bull elephants. Seeing that they were heading to the river, I hoped that they might cross the water. We set ourselves up and waited. Our patience was rewarded as they formed a tight bunch and moved out into the channel.

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Photo Safari: Recce Tour | Lower Zambezi National Park | 2-9th June
14th June 2013 - 0 comments

We just returned from a fantastic week in the Lower Zambezi National Park. It's a 4,000 sq km park on the northern side of the Zambezi, opposite Mana Pools National Park in Zimbabwe.

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Wildlife: Buffalo Bull
14th June 2013 - 0 comments

On an all-day safari to the north of the park, we spent much of the day trying to track down some Cookson's Wildebeest which can be found in the back-country away from the river. We didn't have much luck (despite lots of tracks).

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Wildlife: Vervet
11th June 2013 - 0 comments

I found a troop of Vervet Monkeys feeding on Ebony fruits early in the morning. There were also baboons and impala on the ground below, enjoying the feast. Strangely, this female monkey was not feeding and merely sat grooming herself and keeping watch.

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Wildlife: Watching Leopards
08th June 2013 - 0 comments

We are lucky here that we enjoy regular leopard sightings. It's always easy to pick up the presence of leopard in an area, as there are plenty of signs, but it's hard to find them.

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Wildlife: Beautiful Impalas
06th June 2013 - 0 comments

So overlooked and yet such a feature of the bush, the lowly impala is a joy to watch. This little group were licking soil at a natural salt-lick and looked up in unison as I passed. As a species, they so often tell us where there are predators, that we owe them some attention once in a while!

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Wildlife: Sentry Duty
05th June 2013 - 0 comments

This large male baboon was acting as sentry early in the morning. While I was watching, he began to look uncomfortable. He stood up on the branch and started to shift from side to side, as if trying to get a better view of something in a thicket nearby.

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Wildlife: Hitching a ride
02nd June 2013 - 0 comments

These Red-billed Oxpeckers had eaten their fill of ticks from the back of their host giraffe, and with no other feeding options around, chose to hang on and enjoy the ride.

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Wildlife: Spotted Dikkop - my first
01st June 2013 - 0 comments

It's pretty unusual for me to see a new species in an area that I know so well, but it does happen occasionally! Last night, I found this Spotted Dikkop in some open grassland between areas of scrub Mopane trees.

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Kudu on Lion Plain
30th May 2013 - 0 comments
In the North of the park, there are several areas of vast open plains. While these areas are sometimes a bit bleak, at this time of the year, when there's still some grazing to be found, some animals choose it as home, safe from many of the predators.

Other animals cross the plain to reach the river and surrounding lagoons. As we passed through in late evening, we found this bull Kudu ambling towards the thickets along the edge of the grassland. He didn't seem to be any hurry, and stopped to chat with the Impalas as he passed!

27th May 2013 - 0 comments
I was up in the Northern Sector of the park over the weekend and we found this large male lion drinking in a gully. He wasn't very comfortable around us and quickly moved up the bank and away from the water, but he did stand for an identification shot.

It was well before sunrise so the light was very poor, but as he moved through the trees, we could see the remains of an old scar which identified him as 'Limpy', a male who'd sustained a nasty gash on his front leg. There wasn't much sign of the limp anymore!

At the other end of the day, as the light was fading fast, we found a large male leopard padding through the shrubs at the edge of the river.

Impala Antics
19th May 2013 - 0 comments
Testosterone levels in mammals are always highest in the early morning (and after a successful contest with another male of course!) so we often watch interesting behaviour between male impala during the rutting season. This male was parading around his patch, showing off to the females and making his presence known to other males. The flared tail is a giveaway signal that he feels dominant in his area.

After some time, another male approached him and they sized each other up, neither wanting to commit to a fight too early on in the encounter.

Eventually, one male began to run off but the incumbent male was sure to pursue him and ensure that he left his territory. I was following to see what might happen if they crossed the boundary to another territory....and soon found out. At an unknown distance, the fleeing impala turned and engaged in a fairly prolonged bout of fighting. There was lots of snorting and groaning, and even though there was a screen of grass between me and the action, their eyes tell the story.

A thirst-quenching drink
17th May 2013 - 0 comments
I enjoyed watching this small family of elephants as they trudged through the dry bush towards the river. As they got closer, their pace picked up as they smelled the water and they celebrated with huge trunkfuls!

Southern Ground Hornbill
16th May 2013 - 0 comments
These large carnivorous birds are something of a speciality in the Luangwa, given that they are very scarce in other areas of Southern Africa. Here, they occur in good numbers although they are certainly not common. I found a pair stalking across an open plain yesterday and decided to try some portrait photos.

Leopard Compilation
13th May 2013 - 1 comment
I've been going through a lot of old images that are stored on my system but have never seen the light of day, and came across these images which were taken over the last few months and show the growing up of a young leopard cub. She's been wonderful to watch and I have many more memories than I have images to back them up.

Here she prowls down a track towards me in the gloaming light.

And another where she used a dead tree as a lookout for potential prey.

Earlier in the year, when there were still a lot of flies around, she would regularly sit on exposed branches to enjoy the cool breeze.

And most recently, I found her resting on an old broken bridge, in one of her favourite hunting gullies.

08th May 2013 - 0 comments
I was out in the last light of evening yesterday and caught this image of an elephant cow feeding in the Leadwood forests. The sun was being masked by a cloud and gave this beautiful, moody effect.