The Art in Safari

Going on Safari is on many peoples bucket lists, and is one of their ‘one day’ dreams, but what about the people who who have already been on safari? In my nearly twenty years on safari, I have met very few people (less than ten) who weren’t bitten by the safari bug. The large majority of people find that their senses are awakened, their busy city minds truly relax, often for the first time in years, and at the end of each day there is an easy conversation that doesn’t involve politics, crime, or the economy.

It can be very easy to assume you have ‘done’ safari after one visit, especially if you have some great luck and spot a good number of species (it usually comes down to your big cat sightings), but there is a serious argument both for coming back to the same place, and for trying something new.

Great Migration Safari, FiveZero Safaris

As an example, you can never compare East Africa with Southern Africa; they are completely different and should be counted as two separate safari experiences, so trying a whole new geographical area opens up a whole new world of safari to you. If you narrow it down a little, and try to compare Botswana with South Africa, you might argue that they are somewhat similar, and to a degree you are right, with  many of the species being the same, but the setting, the vegetation, the light, the smells and most importantly the way the animals interact with each other are all vastly different. You might not see it in the brochures, but I assure you, just on the transfer from the airstrip to the lodge, you will already have seen what I am talking about: totally different, and exciting in a whole new way.

Great Migration Safari, FiveZero Safaris

Once you understand that no two safaris are ever the same, you can see a new benefit to returning to the same place over and again. We have been running The Great Migration Safari since 2012,  and I continually come back with new images. The wildebeest crossings are well documented, and have been well photographed over recent years, but there is always a new way to tell the story. What I have tried here is to go for something a little more abstract, and using the black-and-white conversions, trying to get an ‘old school’ feel for the images. Putting a collection like this together in one safari is going to be extremely difficult, and you will need to cash in all your lucky chips, but if you return year after year, or even every few years, you will build up a collection of images that allow you to better tell the story.


The Polar Bear Safari 2015: Day 5

It was our final morning at the lodge, but don’t think that meant no polar bears for us! We went for a short walk along the coast, and found a large male (one which we had not seen before) sleeping on the ice. It was a very scenic sighting, but he was not so relaxed around people, so we gave him quite a bit of distance and let him get back to sleep. A second bear arrived at the lodge’s front door a few minutes after we returned to the lodge, so we managed a few more quick photographs before boarding the plane for the short hop back to town. It is a very pretty flight between the lodge and the town, with a few moose along the way! It is a good idea to always keep a camera ready!

What a safari! We counted 11 different polar bears in the 5 days, and spent uncountable hours in the presence of these magnificent animals! It truly is a magical safari, one that needs to be experienced to be fully understood.

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The Polar Bear Safari 2015: Day 4

It seemed as if all the female polar bears in the area came past the lodge at some point in the day. It was non-stop polar bear watching. Cameras in hand, we slowly approached a few of the lovely ladies, and spend many hours photographing them. The relaxed nature of these bears meant that we got to witness completely natural behaviour, and photograph the polar bears doing what they normally do. A nice surprise late in the day was a fly-by by a white-faced gyrfalcon. During dinner, in-between the other female bears, we saw a mother with 2 young cubs walking past the lodge. Unfortunately they didn’t stay in the lights long enough to get a photograph, but what a privilege to see such young polar bears!

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