After a few weeks at home, it wasn't long before I was heading back to Zambia for Wildlife Worldwide's Festival of Wildlife 2023. I am sure many of you will have no idea what a Festival of Wildlife is, so let me paint a picture for you.
Wildlife Worldwide will book out an entire lodge, or charter a vessel, and bring a team of leading experts who run a wonderful array of workshops and lectures. These 'extra' activities are timed around the traditional wildlife-watching times. I was there as the wildlife photography expert, trying to impart my knowledge with over thirty clients. I helped with theory and editing workshops each day alongside heading out on dedicated photographic game drives and enjoyed some incredible sightings.
With that in mind, here are some of the highlights of our week-long stay at Mfuwe Lodge.
As I'm sure you know by now (I visit South Luangwa every year), but this park is renowned for its leopards. The Festival was no different as many of the clients were blessed with several views of these stunning cats.
There was, of course, so much more on offer ...
We had an amazing week and our clients had a fabulous time. Our next Festival of Wildlife is to Tanzania. in April 2024 Due to some cancellations, there is some late availability - visit the tour page to find out more and book your place.
Back at the start of November in 2024, I was back in my old haunt staying with my friends in Zambia's South Luangwa National Park. I was leading Wildlife Worldwide's South Luangwa Photo Safari and our primary focus were the big cats, African wild dogs and the stunning birdlife all found within the park.
I'm not going to write too much, I am simply going to share some of the highlights of the trip for you all to enjoy.
Any trip to South Luangwa is sure to reward those with a passion for wildlife photography. We were blessed with some incredible lion sightings as well as numerous sightings of African wild dog. It doesn't really get much better tha that, except for maybe finding a leopard.
When you have a sighting such as that above, you can't help but pinch yourself. The rest of the week was just as memorable and my whole group were treated to some world-class sightings and photographic opportunities.
These were just a few of the highlights during our week in one of Africa's finest wilderness areas. If you would like to join us in 2025, then be sure to take a look at the webpage and book your place.
In 2023, after three years of delays due to a certain pandemic, I was delighted to be at the helm for Wildlife Worldwide's inaugural Uganda Photo Safari. This magnificent country is home to a wealth of exceptional wildlife and is often referred to as the 'Pearl of Africa'. It rightly earned this nickname for its agricultural wealth, but it's natural wealth is even more impressive. If you are into primates, then look no further than Uganda.
With that in mind, this trip was put together to maximise photo opportunities of two of our closets cousins - the chimpanzee and the mountain gorilla. Along the way we were able to enjoy a plethora of other species in Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Let's start with the wonders that lay within the forests of Kibale National Park. It was time to get up-close and personal with the chimps.
Our first gorilla trek wasn't really much of a trek. We came across a chimp in the track while we were still in our vehicle. We quickly got out and enjoyed an incredible session with a large chimp. He rested, groomed and just seemed to enjoy our company before he followed the rest of his extended family deep into the forest where they climbed trees in search of food. We went back again the next day and just had the most incredible, intimate experiences all over again.
Around the lodge and in the park we were able to photograph a number of monkey species, of which the most beautiful (in my humble opinion) was the L'Hoest's Monkey.
After a memorable couple of days with the chimpanzees and immersing ourselves in the towering forests of Kibale, it was time to head west to Queen Elizabeth National Park. This huge protected area only has a couple of areas which are currently open to safari-goers, but its mosaic of habitats is unlike anywhere else on the African continent. We based ourselves in the Ishasha sector - famed for its tree-climbing lions. Sadly the lions eluded us throughout our stay, but we were instead spoiled with exceptional leopard encounters alongside a host of other typical species seen on a safari.
As you can see, we were exceptionally lucky with what we managed to see in just a few days within the Ishasha sector. Furthermore, this area of the park is just absolutely beautiful - surely one of East Africa's most beautiful protected areas.
With our safari bug scratched, it was time to head south towards the mountains of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest for what is arguably the highlight of any trip to Uganda. Our primary focus here was to track and photograph mountain gorillas.
I have no words to describe a gorilla trek. They can be physically demanding, the photography can be equally frustrating and rewarding and the weather can be unpredictable. However, none of it matters. When you are stood only yards away from the world's largest primates, your world is turned upside down forever more. Nothing will be the same again. This is truly is a life-changing experience and I implore you, nay, I beg you to experience it for yourself.
So what do you think? I really hope that I have inspired you to give Uganda some consideration when planning your next wildlife photography adventure. There is nowhere quite like it for such a varied experience and mesmerising wildlife encounters. I do hope you can join me on an upcoming Uganda Photo Safari with Wildlife Worldwide - you can find out more about the trip here.
After immersing ourselves in the wilderness of the northern Pantanal, we headed south to the small town of Bonito. This area has become famed for its crystal clear rivers and has become a popular place to visit as a result. However, we weren't here to see the idyllic river systems, instead we were here to focus on the thriving population of giant anteaters, as well as red-and-green macaws and any other species that may prove to be obliging photographic subjects.
We couldn't believe it when we had our first anteater encounter on our way to our hotel.
The next morning, it was time to head to Buraco das Araras, a huge sinkhole, where red-and-green macaws congregate. What to say, other than wow, what an incredible place!
The avian delights didn't end with the red-and-green macaws at the sinkhole. We were treated to fantastic views of red-legged seriema, burrowing owl and hyacinth macaws just to name a few.
For me though, and probably my clients, the real highlight were the incredible giant anteater encounters we enjoyed. Getting so close to these shy mammals is a massive privilege and to photograph them is even better.
As I am sure you can appreciate from these blog posts, the Brazilian Pantanal is a photographer's dream destination. The wildlife, people and the landscapes are all exceptional and it was a delight to lead a group in this iconic wilderness region. Jaguar, ocelot, giant anteater and the giant river otters were undoubtedly my favourite species, but it its the supporting cast that makes this destination so rewarding and memorable.
You can find out more about the Brazil's Big Five Photo Safari on the Wildlife Worldwide website.