Jump to content

A Mana Pools Photographic Trip Report


BonitaApplebum

Recommended Posts

BonitaApplebum

Hi all.

 

Just returned from Mana Pools, having spent 6 days walking with the wildlife in this beautiful part of Zimbabwe.

 

I traveled with WildEye, a Johannesburg based outfit known for their photography specific tours, led by professional photographers. My hope was to find myself with like minded people hoping to enjoy the park at a slower, more patient pace. For me, Mana Pools posed a bit of a conundrum. It's not exactly where you'd go to maximize photographic opportunities. There are other parks if you're simply interested in photographing as much as possible. It was the idea of walking on foot with the wildlife and really feeling connected to the landscape that enticed me to visit Mana Pools. I felt that if I were to really embrace the experience, not only would it be especially rewarding in a way previous safaris weren't, but I would also find unique photographic opportunities as a result. These days I feel if I relax and go with the flow, bush karma will deliver me great sightings and fun photos.

 

I camped with Mwinilunga Safaris, owned by Tess and Dave. I know others here have stayed with them so I'll just add to the record. Dave and Tess are two of the most wonderful, charming people you could hope to meet. We didn't want for anything, and were constantly amazed with the service they were able to produce in the bush. The camp is simple, comfortable, and beautifully situated on the Zambezi. Every day and night we were visited by elephant, hippos, etc. It was truly a wild experience. I recommend this camp unreservedly. 

 

Marlon Du Toit was the WildEye guide and photographer that led this tour. He's young, energetic, and passionate about the wildlife. He's also an incredible photographer and his perspective and tips led to photographic opportunities that I don't think I would have had otherwise. 

 

Mana Pools is of course famous for a few things. First, I was really hoping to spend time with wild dogs. I had never seen them before and this was a huge draw for me to Mana Pools. Second, I was excited to photograph elephants in the woodlands. I find photographing elephants quite difficult, because I think there's often no sense of scale. This is especially true out on the plains of the Serengeti, for example. I loved the idea of photographing the elephants in a different context. Of course, meeting Boswell, one of Africa's most famous elephants, and perhaps seeing him stand up was on my wishlist as well.

 

On to the photos. Walking (and sitting) with wild dogs was an incredible experience. As they grew comfortable, we were able to approach very closely and spent hours with them. I'm not sure who was tracking who in this photo!

 

37364862334_1ed859a8d6_b.jpg

 

I loved how the great trees of Mana dwarfed these giants.

 

24265592358_679fe35dc4_b.jpg

 

You've got to be on your guard more with buffalo than just about any other animal when on foot. Lions mock charge 90% of the time so if you can hold your nerve you're fine. If a buffalo comes for you, however, you better find your way up the nearest tree.

 

26298275349_c2741ef5fd_b.jpg

 

38086389792_1ab455caef_b.jpg

 

38117717471_d27864c96b_b.jpg

 

24245543678_8644d29ab6_b.jpg

 

38086399662_17422a692e_b.jpg

 

On our last full day, we found him. The famous Boswell.

 

24221695298_4dde8ea101_b.jpg

 

And here he is performing his most famous party trick.

 

37364863004_daf3d08f00_b.jpg

 

And finally, this is Boswell and family drinking from the Zambezi.

 

24245544008_dcfcc18c1c_b.jpg

 

I loved Mana Pools, despite the stifling heat. I must say, I don't know how I'll be able to get back into a Land Cruiser on my next safari after having walked in Mana Pools.

 

As always, feel free to let me know if you have any questions about the park, the experience, or the photos.

 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
kittykat23uk

Beautiful photos! Got any more?

Edited by kittykat23uk
Link to post
Share on other sites

Stunning pictures.  I hope we get as lucky as you with the dogs when we are there next week for six nights.

Link to post
Share on other sites

What a photographic treat you have presented here, @BonitaApplebum! It is for quite some time I have your web site among my preferred photographers.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Alexander33
8 hours ago, BonitaApplebum said:

These days I feel if I relax and go with the flow, bush karma will deliver me great sightings and fun photos.

 

"Bush karma."  I'm so going to appropriate that term for my own use from now on, thank you very much. 

 

Wonderful photos. It was interesting to see that a good number of those you posted are in black and white. Was this just due to a personal aesthetic these days or were there technical reasons, such as harsh light, that led you to  that choice?

Edited by Alexander33
Link to post
Share on other sites
Peter Connan

Stunning!

 

@PCNW, I know you will enjoy this TR!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Please don´t say this was all... :) 

I want more!

Edited by Antee
Link to post
Share on other sites
michael-ibk

Outstanding pictures, I also hope you will give us some more! When were your dates, maybe we overlapped? (I was on the plains Oct 17th-22nd.)

Link to post
Share on other sites

 Beautiful photos. Please post more!

following @xelas advice I have also looked at your website-only the gorillas so far- really excellent!

Link to post
Share on other sites
BonitaApplebum
18 hours ago, Alexander33 said:

 

"Bush karma."  I'm so going to appropriate that term for my own use from now on, thank you very much. 

 

Wonderful photos. It was interesting to see that a good number of those you posted are in black and white. Was this just due to a personal aesthetic these days or were there technical reasons, such as harsh light, that led you to  that choice?

 

I took bush karma from someone else so you're more than welcome to it!

 

With regards to the photos, I went into the trip with the idea that I would do a lot of B&W. Personally, I think elephants look especially great in B&W. Something about the format really highlights the texture in their skin, in my opinion. The light was never too harsh early in the morning or late in the day, though the dry season does lend itself to some rather drab colours. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
BonitaApplebum
11 hours ago, michael-ibk said:

Outstanding pictures, I also hope you will give us some more! When were your dates, maybe we overlapped? (I was on the plains Oct 17th-22nd.)

 

My tour was October 22-28, though we got hit with an incredible storm and were stuck in camp for an extra night. Looks like we just missed each other!

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
BonitaApplebum

This is a pretty classic Mana scene. It was 43C every day I was there and the dry season means food is hard to come by. Elephants stretch as far as they can into the trees, looking for whatever can sustain them.

 

It was 43C every day I was there and the dry season means food is hard to come by. Elephants stretch as far as they can into the trees, looking for whatever can sustain them.

 

38115802292_11f9079ce2_b.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Love the black and white.  I just realized that you are a fellow Canadian and a neighbour as I live in South Surrey.

Link to post
Share on other sites
BonitaApplebum
1 hour ago, Raelond said:

Love the black and white.  I just realized that you are a fellow Canadian and a neighbour as I live in South Surrey.

 

That's great. I'm on the North Shore. I hope you have a great time in Mana Pools!

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
SafariChick

Wonderful photos @BonitaApplebum - takes me back to my wonderful stay in Mana Pools. So glad you got to see the legendary Boswell and great to hear he is well and still doing his thing. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Ritsgaai

@BonitaApplebum wonderful photography.  I love the elephant B&W especially. Thank you.

Link to post
Share on other sites
BonitaApplebum

Another one I came across. Always remember to look both ways before exiting your tent!

 

38215886836_b5b3ab1896_b.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
gatoratlarge

gorgeous pics!  Love the Wild dogs and Boswell and the hippo! :D

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh so lovely images.  Looks like a hugely successful trip.  

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...
BonitaApplebum

A few more. My favourite time in Mana was spent with these giants in the woodlands.

 

37831976584_5869e2a4fc_b.jpg

 

 

 

26772257349_794547ab6b_b.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

@BonitaApplebum stunning pictures- both the monochromatic ones that I agree better bring out the pachyderms- Nick Brandt’s work is only in this format- but also your color pictures. The image of two dogs baring teeth looking up is one that is better in full color. 

 

Thanks for for sharing and know many of us have missed seeing your work on this board. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...
BonitaApplebum

Hi all.

 

Another one of Boswell tiptoeing for snacks.

 

38826361012_82e8191fd3_b.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...
Atravelynn

What dates?  Mana Pools in B &W, very artistic!  Love the hippos outside the tent.  Great question:  Who is tracking who?  You chose well in company and location!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Safaritalk uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By using Safaritalk you agree to our use of cookies. If you wish to refuse the setting of cookies you can change settings on your browser to clear and block cookies. However, by doing so, Safaritalk may not work properly and you may not be able to access all areas. If you are happy to accept cookies and haven't adjusted browser settings to refuse cookies, Safaritalk will issue cookies when you log on to our site. Please also take a moment to read the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy: Terms of Use l Privacy Policy