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The Seven Year Safari

Updated: Oct 25, 2019

Seven years ago, my parents persuaded me (rather easily) to venture out to Zambia as my next wildlife photographic trip. At that time I was still living in the UK and had stuck religiously to South Africa as my travel destination, having already fallen in love with the country many years before that – it felt like home, so the idea of dipping my toes into a new country was always immediately thrown aside to returning to my second home. Based on what I saw and heard, I took the extra step and what ensued was, and still is, the best experience of my life in the realms of African wildlife and photography. It was an intense ten-day trip in the scorching heat (October is often referred to as Suicide Month) but the onslaught of fantastic sightings and encounters was something I could never have predicted, and looking back is hard to imagine was real. Multiple prides of lions, leopards, hundreds of elephants, honey badgers and hyenas feasting on carcasses; all of these were a common occurrence each and every day. I came back to the UK a different person, and I count it as the first signifying moment that I knew I had to make a life for myself in Africa.

This image, published by National Geographic, was taken in Zambia with Noelle as my guide.

Cut to seven years later and here I am, based in the Greater Kruger of South Africa and working in wildlife photography and conservation. I frequently get to see the animals that had me spellbound decades ago, in a manner that I’m passionate about, and surrounded by people who share that passion and a rare motivation. What I wasn’t aware of when initially moving out here, was that one the guides I was lucky enough to meet in Zambia is also based in this area. Now, I’ve been around plenty of guides, but none had the sheer force of passion and infectious enthusiasm as Noe