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Photographic Safaris: Experience, Comments, Advice?

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@@SharonV1. I can answer for at least 20 people that we would like to hear more. There's a way that is much easier than writing 20 PMs

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While I was planning our safari to SLNP I was constantly on Ed Selfie's website/blog. He posts trip reports as well and of course pictures. They looked gorgeous!

 

For some reason I didn't think to contact him for a quote - I had probably already made the arrangements when I found his website. But the pictures on his blog and in his trip reports look beyond great! I grew an especial dislike towards a man I have never met, Patrick Cooper, when reading his trip report for sucking all the safari luck out of the universe in his one trip. I'm joking of course and green with envy :) It's probably wrong to expect every trip to be like Patrick's, that man is just too lucky! A lot of people would love to see wild dogs and leopards, he got to watch them interact! (where can I sign up for his next safari? :) )

 

Everyone in the valley knows Ed, it's a tight nit safari community and if memory serves he's married to a lady from one of the "well known" safari families in the Zambian industry (but don't remember if her last name is Pope or Carr). Just to say that he is not just a photographer I think, but someone with real insight into the park and it's history. And the guides and staff speak highly of him.

 

One of the camps he works out of is Zikomo, I can definitely recommend the camp and the area it is in (I just posted a trip report on it). That area + the help of a pro must be magic!

 

And though of course the pro needs to be paid and I see costs mentioned as a downside, I didn't think Ed's safari's were priced very expensively. But you have to keep in mind that his group trips are based from camps that are not focused on luxuries, but rather on bush camp and wild life experiences. Don't know what your safari taste is like, but I saw you mentioned Bots, so that is generally very luxurious.

 

Of course all of this is pure speculation since I have never met the man and like @@pault, I would love to hear more from @@SharonV1!

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Marty Wild Dog wrote: "Of course all of this is pure speculation since I have never met the man and like @@pault, I would love to hear more from @@SharonV1! "

 

Thanks Marty! I am still pretty new to this forum and wasn't really sure how to do a trip report, but I'll look into doing that, because my Zambian Safari was eventful and amazing to me. To give you some context to my "Safari" experience, this was only my second safari. September 2015 I went to Kenya and then this September to Zambia. Both trips were wonderful in their own ways and I believe I've been fortunate to have the best folks helping me with planning them. Like many, when I started trying to plan my first Safari and first trip to Africa it was daunting. Although I'm an experience traveler and plan my own trips normally, this was very different. So instead of doing it myself, I researched the companies that plan these trips for people instead and in the end was fortunate to get to know Paul Hawley at Africa Exclusive in the UK. Paul has really done very well for me. He was able to help me understand why the way I wanted to do the Kenya safari was really backwards and he designed a first Safari that was perfect, including the opportunity to see 2 river crossings in the Mara during the migration. He then talked about Zambia as his favorite Safari Destination and so we worked together on a trip to Zambia. It was my idea to have a photographic guide with us for part of the trip and I had seen Edward's website and suggested him to Paul. Paul made all the arrangements for Edward to join us for 4 days of our time in the South Luangwa. We stayed at Norman Carr camps and Edward joined us in our private vehicle along with the Norman Carr guide and scout. It was a perfect arrangement. And the 4 days with Edward were really remarkable for the amount and variety of wildlife we saw. I think that good guiding, both Edwards and the Norman Carr guide, were the reason. The Luwi area is not known for having as much wildlife as other parts of the NP, but for our 4 days it was perfect. I already mentioned we had two different encounters with the wild dogs that allowed us to be out of the vehicle and photographing them from a position on the ground. There was one dog (we think the same dog) both times who was extremely curious about us and got very close...close enough to make me nervous...but it was so exciting to watch them with pups waking up...playing....cavorting after a kill....I'm actually glad I didn't witness the kill itself. We found them the first time as they were finishing up eating an Impala. So one morning along the dry Luwi riverbed we found both a pride of lions sleeping along the banks and a little further along, the pack of wild dogs sleeping in the shade of the river bank. We decided to keep an eye on them and come back that afternoon when they would be starting to move around. We found them again in the afternoon and had our second encounter with the dogs just as the puppies started to wake up and play....they eventually got their elders up and the whole pack moved off, but not before once again having a curious dog come close to us as we photographed them. Amazing! Then it was on to the lions...they had moved to the middle of the riverbed near a waterhole. We started noticing Elephants one or two at a time coming to the riverbank and clearly being disturbed that the pride was near the waterhole. They would hang out and dust themselves and trumpet some...the Lions ignored them completely....lolling around....sleeping...But the elephants clearly wanted to come down to the water...and as we watched, over about 30 minutes...we believed they were somehow communicating with other elephants and we could see the elephants coming through the trees from all directions. Once about 30 - 40 elephants had amassed on the river bank, they all came down...lined up facing the lions...and charged in mass.....like a wall of gray....and the lions....got up..and moved!!! The elephants didn't think they had moved far enough so they charged them again....and the lions moved fast..and much farther this time!!! It was amazing to see. Once the elephants felt they had moved them far enough away..they posted guards...and the rest of them went and drank their fill....and in 10 minutes they all had finished and they moved off...up the bank and into the trees and it was over. But we were blown away by the number of behaviors we witnessed and the power of the elephants was so evident..in ways we had never thought about. The way they communicated and coordinated with each other....I'm still amazed. The reason I believe that Edward made a difference was that the typical camp guide would have taken us to see the Lions and after a few pictures, we would have moved on...looking for the next siting. But Edward encouraged our guide to stay put..let things happen. We did that frequently and were always rewarded with interesting things. Another time, there were three lions one morning again along the river bed and we got very close...and were taking pictures of them in the sunlight which was really perfect. All of a sudden, three elephants, for no apparent reason decided to chase these three lions...and they continued to chase them...across the riverbed to the opposite bank..up the bank, and then a great distance on that bank. Everytime the lions stopped and lay down, the elephants chased them again...it was again, quite a show. Finally, Edward asked our guide and scout one evening to let us walk to where there were lions resting along the river bed and once they checked it out, they did let us do it.....never thought I'd have a chance in the wild to stand as close to lions as we did that evening. There were other similar experiences and the 4 days with Edward were filled with these types of encounters. That's why I've come home determined to go back to South Luangwa and I wouldn't consider going back without hiring Ed again. Here are some pictures:

 

 

 

 

 

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Such amazing sightings you had @@SharonV1! South Luangwa elephants seem to have a liking for chasing other animals :) We had two wonderful sightings as well where they chased wild dogs and once a hyena. But yours sound even more exciting!

 

I am going to have to insist you write a full on trip report in the zambia forum ;-) !

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Thanks Marty....I didn't even realize there was a Zambia area of this forum. I'll check that out! I also want to thank Optig from this Forum for his good advice for me on my trip to Zambia. I'm also still trying to figure out how to get the pictures into the posts properly. I'll keep working on it and try to do a full report soon.

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Thanks Marty....I didn't even realize there was a Zambia area of this forum. I'll check that out! I also want to thank Optig from this Forum for his good advice for me on my trip to Zambia. I'm also still trying to figure out how to get the pictures into the posts properly. I'll keep working on it and try to do a full report soon.

Have you found the page with instructions on how to do that? And others' learning experience?

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