In an earlier post – Urban Safari – I wrote about my trials and tribulations photographing wildlife in Zambia. Now that my embarrassment has faded, I’m ready to talk about it again.
Starting with the wildlife itself, you can expect to have a marvellous time in Zambia. Its national parks are relatively uncrowded, like the country itself. A comparison with Kenya is revealing. In 2017 the estimated population of Zambia was 17 million (Kenya – 48 million). Those 17 million Zambians had more than 750,000 square kilometres to share (Kenya – approximately 580,000 square kilometres). With less competition for land than in Kenya, Zambian wildlife still has room to breathe.
I visited South Luangwa in June (Zambian winter time) which meant that the weather wasn’t too hot. At that time of year, you can expect daytime temperatures between 20 and 25 degrees centigrade, which are perfect for me. With the rainy season ending in April, there’s still plenty of water in June. And that’s the drawback : it gives the animals freedom to roam. That’s why many experts recommend a safari in September or October, when the weather is hot and the wildlife stays close to the watering holes.
What animals can you expect to see? I don’t want to bore you with a long list, but the big cats, elephants, giraffes, zebra, hippos and impala can all be found there. Sadly the rhinos have been poached to extinction. The giraffe shown at the beginning of this post is a Thornicroft’s Giraffe – a sub-species that can only be found in South Luangwa.
If you’re planning to go on a photo safari, do your research. I was naive and took the wrong equipment. I was still using film, which restricted the number of pictures I took. And my longest lens was 135mm, which proved to be too short. I know that it’s a bad workman who blames his tools, but if you’re going on the trip of a lifetime, don’t handicap yourself.
For inspiration, take a look at the black and white images of Patrick Bentley – his website can be found at www.patrickbentley.com
And for more information I can recommend the Zambian Tourist Board’s website at www.zambiatourism.com
Finally, if you’d like any further guidance or help, please do not hesitate to contact me or leave a comment.