Safari Diary, S LUANGWA – 2015/06/14


Photo Workshop, South Luangwa National Park in Zambia

14 June 2015

I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since I’ve last visited South Luangwa. My three guests on this exclusive workshop and I were welcomed by our guide, Meyam, as we arrived at Mfuwe airport. I was excited to show three people over the next seven days why South Luangwa is one of my favourite destinations! We reached camp just before the afternoon game drive time, and although we had seen most of the animals, including lions and elephants on the way up, none of us wasted time getting ready for our first drive. An incredible start to the safari included elephants play-fighting, owlets in a spotlight and a leopard stalking impala. With all that excitement, we can’t wait to see what tomorrow will bring.

20150614_7194 | ,  in 1-500 sec at f - 7,1, ISO 400   |   NIKON D810 + 500.0 mm f-4.0   |   Manual, -2-3 EV


15 June 2015

After all the excitement of the previous evening it was hard to imagine that the morning drive could be just as exciting. We found a herd of elephants walking along the Luangwa river, a herd of buffalo at Fish Eagle lagoon, a fishing party of Yellow-Billed Storks, and finally a Woodland Kingfisher in great light sitting only a few meters from us. After brunch and a photo workshop session we headed out again and this time to the popular hippo hide where some yawns and interaction of hippos from water-level in golden light filled a few memory cards. We proceeded with a night drive and found another accommodating leopard to photograph in a spotlight and then a porcupine posing for a few photos before we headed back to camp.


16 June 2015

With the sightings going as well as they were we decided to do a morning drive towards the Mwamba side to look for lions. We managed to see an hyena in golden light and lots of birds but the lions eluded us. Our plan for the afternoon was to do some photography of the general game and then to do a starscape and startrail. This all worked out perfectly with zebras in the best light you can imagine and the dark skies revealing a strong milky way.

20150616_8904 | ,  in 25,0 sec at f - 2,8, ISO 3200   |   NIKON D810 + 14.0-24.0 mm f-2.8   |   Manual, -1-3 EV


17 June 2015

Yesterday’s predator-less day was quickly forgotten as the alarm calls from baboons led us to a leopard with a baboon kill in the early morning. Another highlight was finding two Pel’s Fishing Owl chicks in an ebony grove and finally ending the morning drive by lying next to the water’s edge of Fish Eagle Lagoon to photograph a Yellow-billed Stork fishing party. Our afternoon drive started slowly but we managed to photograph birds in golden light. After sundowner drinks we finished our day with a night drive back to camp where we photographed a civet and a leopard.

20150617_8955 | ,  in 1-125 sec at f - 7,1, ISO 1250   |   NIKON D810 + 80.0-400.0 mm f-4.5-5.6 lens   |   Manual, -2-3 EV


18 June 2015

We were still short on good lion photos, so this morning we decided to go to the Mwamba area again in search of the king of beasts that had been seen by others the day before. On the way there we found cute baby elephants and a pack of hyenas that were clearly on a mission. The lions however were still missing in action and so we returned to camp for brunch and a photo workshop session. Our plan to leave on our afternoon drive earlier paid off as we managed to finally find a few lionesses close to Mwamba, but as soon as we arrived we got a call about a leopard close to Fish Eagle lagoon. We made the decision to go to the leopard and followed a mother and cub for a few hours into the night as she took the cub to feast on a kill she had made earlier. This was a highlight for the trip and satisfied with our “good decision” we returned to camp.

20150618_6629 | ,  in 1-800 sec at f - 4,0, ISO 100   |   NIKON D4 + 500.0 mm f-4.0 lens   |   Manual, -1 EV


19 June 2015

With such good photography the previous evening it was with an extra heavy heart that I had to leave South Luangwa National Park. An early flight and transfer meant a two hour drive through the Park in early morning light on the way to the airport. We managed to make a coffee stop next to an ox-bow lake where Yellow-billed Storks congregated and this at least offered a few last photos. Soon after the break we were out of the Park, and I was on my way to another photo safari.

Thank you to William, Matthew, Barbara, Matthews and Meyam for many hours of fun! Thanks also to the Kaingo team for making our trip unforgettable! We’ll be back!

20150619_0586 | ,  in 1-800 sec at f - 8,0, ISO 200   |   NIKON D810 + 80.0-400.0 mm f-4.5-5.6 lens   |   Manual, -1 EV


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About the Author

Isak is a specialist wildlife photographic guide from South Africa. His discovery of nature's special moments at a young age shaped his aspirations of today: to showcase the beauty of his continent's natural wonders in a creative way.

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