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TimothyGrieselPhotography

A long awaited trip report by Myself

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TimothyGrieselPhotography
Original Post can be found here: http://timothygrieselphoto.blogspot.com/
Now where do I begin?
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Basungu Plains Before Dawn
How do I convey and express the amazing things I saw and experienced on my month long adventure in Northern Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia?
I guess I start with where it all began, how it all came about and the weeks before stepping on board a rather old looking ATR 42–500 with 13 other passengers and heading to the beautiful Kasane.
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Now I am a young photographer with a lot of aspirations and dreams and part of those dreams is that one day I can go out and work in the field helping to conserve the amazing and unique creatures that call Africa home. After months of trying and approaching photographers who work full time as wildlife photographers and being disappointed with the lack of response or the lack of anything available to me, I stumbled upon a company’s, who are based in Kasane, Facebook Page (the power of social media still astounds me) and as a last ditch effort I simply wrote on their Facebook wall asking if they perhaps had anything at all that they could offer me and to my surprise and rather quickly, if I must admit, I got a reply, saying they would have a look and see what they could find for me.
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A Beautiful Chobe Sunset
The company that had suddenly renewed my faith and passion for photography is Pangolin Photo Safaris.
After a couple of weeks and quite a number of emails passed between me and Pangolin Safaris, we had organised for me to come up to Botswana to join them on a two week internship where I would be able to gain experience of working in the field, working with clients in the field as well as working with a very talented photographer by the name of Gerhard “Guts” Swanepoel.
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The Stunning Yellow-Billed Stork
Now you may be asking where Zimbabwe and Zambia come into things. I had already planned on travelling to Zambia(Kafue National Park and Luanshya) and Zimbabwe (Hwange) in late July with my father and family friends and seeing as he would need to come up to Kasane anyway before heading into Zimbabwe and Zambia, we thought that the two weeks leading up to the 14th of July which is the day we were going to be travelling up into Botswana anyway would be the best time for me to fly up to Kasane and join Guts and the rest of the team, and so on the 26th of June, I stepped onto the flight ready for new experiences and eager to arrive in the stunning Chobe National Park, excited with what the next month may have in store for me.
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Mischievous Baby Baboon
It is at this time that I really do need to say thank you to Guts, Kerstin, Shuur, Killer and Toby for offering me such a unique and special opportunity and I hope I was able to repay all there kindness.
To Guts for teaching me new things about my camera and always offering advice when I needed it as well as offering to share his experience and talents with me, Thank you so very much.
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Coming Giant
To Kerstin, for cooking me dinner or breakfast even with me protesting and saying I wasn’t hungry. Thank you.
To Shuur, the man who drives the boat, you were always a joy to be around, always with a big smile on your face even when we are waiting for oom Johan to get that skimmer shot. You still owe me lions from the boat.
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Beautiful Princess
To Killer, I don’t think you can get any better than finding two leopards (one before we had even reached the gate), a honey badger and some other awesome sights. You certainly know your way around Chobe and were a pleasure to work with and certainly provided some beautiful scenes.
The biggest thanks I owe it to my Uncle Stephen, my auntie Sue and Ceriagh, you gave up your home to me and let me stay there even while you were dealing with a tragedy back in South Africa. Thank you so much. Thank you for putting up with me. I appreciate everything you all did for me and already miss you guys terrible. Without you and your assistance, this would never have been possible.
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Drops of Nature
I think I have thanked everyone, please accept my apologies if I have left someone out.
Now that I have acknowledged and thanked everyone for what they did for me we can get back to the trip.
My flight landed a little after two in the afternoon, I was at Stephen and Sue by about two thirty and had made contact with Guts, just to let him know I had arrived safely and that I was ready to start as soon as he wanted me too. By quarter to three he had informed me he was on his way to pick me up in which resulted in a mad scramble to get out of the clothes I had flown in and into my “Khaki’s” to work in, well to accompany Guts in.
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Thirst Quencher
That first afternoon, I spent my time on the boat just thinking about how lucky I was, here I am sitting on one of the best rivers in the world for wildlife photography and I have another two and bit weeks (boy did they fly by) of time to spend here with a talented photographer on a specially designed photo boat (could a man get luckier?).
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Ellie at Sunset
It’s safe to say the next two weeks; in fact the next month absolutely flew passed, with some truly unforgettable experiences such as a beautiful young leopardess high up a tree in a fish eagles nest eating the chick, coming around the corner and watching two crocodiles go through their courtship and mating rituals, driving from Kazungula to Kasane to meet up with Shuur only to have to stop and let a hyena cross the road, the time spent in the underground elephant bunker at Senyati, waking up to the absolutely breath taking iTezhi tezhi dam, listening to lions roaring as they get closer and closer to where you are sleeping in a tent and being startled by the sound of a leopard calling as you are starting a fire to cook dinner.
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Protective
I think it is fair to assume that I had an absolutely amazing time in Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia and have returned with many wonderful memories. I thank everyone who gave me the opportunity to live my dream for one entire month.
Hwange (Wankie) National Park.
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A Twist in the Trunk
I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from Hwange, from what I had read is that it was an area that had been wrecked by poaching and it was only in the northern private concessions that game was still plentiful. We stayed at a private lodge called Kapula and could safely say that Hwange in its day must have been an absolutely amazing place. We managed to see many elephants (all very skittish though), a lioness and later that afternoon an absolutely stunning big blacked manned lion and apparently just missed seeing a leopard on our second day. It seems that if Hwange is managed correctly and maybe improved on a little, it will certainly become a major tourist attraction and a beautiful place to visit in the future. We heard lions around us every night and had ellies around the lodge quite often.
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Nourishment
I was truly impressed with what Hwange had to offer but unfortunely not many images where taken.
Zambia (Kafue National Park, Kitwe, Luanshya and Lusaka)
Zambia is an interesting place, from the moment you step onto the ferry crossing in Kazungula till the moment you step off it and head back into Botswana, I don’t think anyone truly understands what is happening or what they should be doing. After spending almost four hours at the border sorting out paperwork, which you need to get from quite a few buildings, and paying a ridiculous amount for different fares and not really understanding why you have to pay them we were finally heading towards Livingston and our final destination which was to be Hippo Bay Campsite in Kafue National Park.
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Little Bee-Eater
We hit Livingstone a little after 11 expecting smooth sailing from here on out only to be confronted by a wall of cars with people sticking out of them, drinking and hurling insults at us and going as far as to push us off the road by swerving towards us and away from us at the last second, to say this fried a few nerves is an understatement.
Here we are not accustomed to local traditions being forced off the road for some reason, and not understanding what we should or shouldn’t be doing. We later found out it was because they had a funeral for someone obviously quite important in the community.
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What a view to wake up with
From there we headed to Kalomo for fuel and Kwacha (money) and headed towards Kafue. Thankfully everything seemed to go a little smoother from here on out except when we came around the corner only to be confronted with a truck stuck on a single lane bridge with massive donga’s (large trench caused by erosion) on each side, but thankfully the community (which came out of nowhere) helped and soon we have pushed the truck backwards and out of the way.
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Fell Asleep to this display
Something we learned that first day in Zambia is that you cannot measure distance and give an ETA; you do not know what the roads will be like and how long it will really take to get there.
We finally arrived in Hippo Bay Campsite a little after eight thirty, when we had originally planned to get there in the early afternoon, set up camp and go for a short afternoon game drive, although nothing can be said about the greeting we received at the camp site with a lion roaring rather close to us while we scrambled to get tents up and dinner made.
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Hippo Bay Campsite is where the little black dot is, near Safari Camp :)
We spent a few days exploring the central area of Kafue (the iTezhi tezhi region) and had some nice sightings of Porcupine, Civet, Genet, Hyena and a few birds which I have added to my life list but we missed the lions that were in the area and had a very brief encounter with a truly terrified elephant.
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A view from the Road
It seems that Elephant Poaching has taken its toll on the elephants in the area and they are truly scared and terrified with human interaction, to the point where if you are lucky enough to find an elephant they will either flea or charge, there is no sitting and admiring their beauty.
We left Hippo Bay and headed to Mayukuyuku which is a little further north but even then, the trip took us close to 6 hours to do but we were able to see Roan and Sable and Warren and Candice got to see Buffalo for the first time on this trip.
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Mayukuyuku Campsite is kinda where that little black dot it :)
We spent two nights at Mayukuyuku and decided for our fifth and last night in Kafue we would try head up towards to Busunga plains which we had heard so much about, we broke camp and headed up hoping to either find accommodation or sleep outside the park but we run out of luck when at five thirty we had found neither accommodation or reached the gate and it was at this point that we stopped at one of the camps to enquire about staying and to ask whether it would be possible to get to the gate, only to be informed that the gate was still flooded and not reachable at this current time, staying there was also a no go as they were unable to offer any space.
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Basunga Before Dawn
We were then able to find another lodge which will remain unnamed, as we were only allowed to stay there after we negotiated to pitch out tent up as there was no ways we were going to pay there nightly fee (close to 600 dollars a night). With our tent set up in their staff quarters (cause we weren’t allowed to pitch the tent near the car) we were prepared to spend a chilly night on the floor as it was just too far to walk back to fetch the rest of our stuff.
The real fun and games came the next day when we left the park through North Gate and headed towards Solwezi and Kitwe (our final unintended destinations). Leaving the park, the 110kms we had to travel took us close to 5 hours and the 500 or so kilometres we needed to travel to Luanshya, where we intended on spending the night.
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A Little Curious
We ended up only making Kitwe by 8 o’clock that night and decided we had dealt with enough hair raising mad drivers for one day and we would do the final 75km’s in the morning.
Driving from Solwezi to Kitwe was one of the most nerve wrecking experiences of my life, we were travelling on extremely bad roads with countless potholes with drivers who did not care about their own lives or the lives of the people sharing the road, as they hurtled passed us doing absolutely extraordinary speeds on these terrible dangerous roads.
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I Have Socks
We even had a truck pulling acid mine waste come past us and have to squeeze into a very small space to avoid the oncoming traffic. Certainly an interesting experience, one I will never forget and one that I never want to experience again.
This is also the day our adventures in national parks ended, yes, it was a very sad day but Luanshya awaited us.
Luanshya…
My father, uncles and aunt (can’t forget you Peachy) were all born in what must have been an extremely beautiful town in the 50’s and 60’s but unfortunately today it is just a shell of what it once was. It has seen better days and hopefully one day it will return to those beautiful times.
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The local Pool
This was the first time my father had been back to the little mining town he was born in
and will most likely be his last, places he remembered as a kid or places he had been told stories about where none existent or in extremely bad condition.
It is an eye opening experience walking through the streets and speaking locals who now lived in this little city but things seem to be on the rise with a very new looking Pick n Pay open on the main road leading into town.
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Catholic Church/ Classroom
We can only hope that things will improve. Locals love the little town; it is now just a question of trying to get it back to where it used to be.
This is also where we found probable some of the highest rugby posts I have ever seen in my life, it is just a pity they are so skew.
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Highest Posts I Have Ever Seen
From Luanshya, we left and headed to Lusaka where we spent the night and the next day we headed back into Botswana.
We made it back to Kazungula by six on Friday the 26th of July, tired after spending probably close to 35 hours in a vehicle in 3 days but relieved and happy we got to experience it all and got to see what we did.
And thus ended an absolutely amazing time in three different countries with many memories I will cherish forever. It absolutely flew passed and I am looking forward to the next adventure I go on.


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The Abandoned Life Guard Hut
I would love to share my amazing experience with others one day and lead a group up into Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
There is one thing though; I will make sure it is better planned with only a certain number kilometers to travel in a day, so we don’t have to face the mad Zambian drivers and terrible road conditions at night.
Original Better Quality Can Be Found Here
The Movement Of The Stars at Hippo Bay Campsite
Thank you for reading

 

 

or email me on timg.photography@gmail.com

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Game Warden

I've just tidied the text up a little bit for you. Some great images in there. You are going to have to share some of your post processing tips... Matt

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Kitsafari

Thank you for sharing your journey.

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AKR1

Very nice report. I particularly like the elephant shots. How did you get down so low- the angle almost makes it appear you were shooting up while lying flat on the ground? Thanks for sharing this.

 

P.S: If you could make the photo sizes larger it would be even nicer.

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TimothyGrieselPhotography

Very nice report. I particularly like the elephant shots. How did you get down so low- the angle almost makes it appear you were shooting up while lying flat on the ground? Thanks for sharing this.

 

P.S: If you could make the photo sizes larger it would be even nicer.

 

 

It was taken from an elephant bunker at Senyati Lodge in Kasane. I was basically underground taking pictures from a small little hole

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Game Warden

Can you tell us more about the hide? Any pics of it? Has anyone else used this hide?

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TimothyGrieselPhotography

@@Game Warden and anyone else who wants to know

 

http://www.pangolinphoto.com/about-us/elephant-bunker

 

Thats the hide I was in :)

 

There are a couple in Botswana and a couple more in South Africa

 

They low viewing hides perfect for taking low angle shots of ellies and other animals

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graceland

What an interesting and varied journey you took! I love the pics and of course wonder how you did process them - it is fascinating to me what people can now do with photos. You mentioned you added a branch (on FB, I think with the birds.) How do you ADD a branch to a picture? Well don't bother - I'll never do it :rolleyes: but it is quite amazing how photos are now so different than what came off the chip. Very artistic and I enjoyed viewing them. Thanks for posting a good story.

 

Particulary like "Thirst Quencher" as I love the trees of Africa esp. with an elephant in the shot!

 

Good luck in your further quests!

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graceland

Oh yeah... I think my response to TimothyGPHotography was my 500th post..wow, who would have known I had SO much to say!!

 

I must think of~~ what, 2,500 more???? I can probably do that if I post one pic at a time of Moli and all.

 

 

In about 2 years,brush that pith off GW! I'll even come get it if you will meet in Africa! :)

Edited by graceland

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TonyQ

@@TimothyGrieselPhotography

Thank you - really enjoyed it - especially those low elephant shots

I know nothing of post processing it is amazing what can be done!

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Safari Cal

@@TimothyGrieselPhotography Great report, love the landscape shots, so evocative, and the elephant shots are WOW.

 

Maybe a new area is required GW, for photo processing tips?

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TimothyGrieselPhotography

Thank you all for the kind words

 

While I do not think of myself as a guru of post processing, I am more then willing to help where I can :)

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SafariChick

Oh yeah... I think my response to TimothyGPHotography was my 500th post..wow, who would have known I had SO much to say!!

 

I must think of~~ what, 2,500 more???? I can probably do that if I post one pic at a time of Moli and all.

 

 

In about 2 years,brush that pith off GW! I'll even come get it if you will meet in Africa! :)

Apparently since the time you wrote that, you've written 73 more since under your name it now says 573 posts! I must check how many I have - I know I'm pretty chatty myself! Edited to add - oh I have 684 apparently!

 

@@TimothyGrieselPhotography beautiful photos and enjoyable trip report, thank you.

Edited by SafariChick

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twaffle

Lovely report and photos. I love the elephant mouth with the water drips especially.

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pault

Great start to what will hopefully be your career. Lots of enthusiasm and excitement in this report, which I like. The terrified elephants of Kafue made me sad and your unwitting interruption of a VIP funeral procession made me laugh (although it wouldn't have been funny at the time). Some really nice photos there.

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Atravelynn

It appears you also experienced some family history along with your amazing safari. I love the drops of nature shot (I see Twaffle does too) and those streaking raindrops make for a fascinating photo too.

Edited by Atravelynn

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A&M

Can you tell us more about the hide? Any pics of it? Has anyone else used this hide?

028

 

GW here is a shot of the front of the same hide.

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