About 20 years ago I came across a book called The Leopards Of Londolozi, one day I promised myself I would visit. However after trips ranging from the Aberdare Mountains to Kwa Zulu Natal I still hadn’t visited and Londolozi remained a dream.
Being retired I can’t afford to come to Africa as often as I once did, so each trip must be carefully planned and I should really try to maximise what I hope to achieve. It could be big Tuskers in Tembe or it could be something different.
So after 15 trips to Africa , what had I yet to see or what was it I really wanted to achieve?
The answer stared down at me from my wall, in 15 trips I had one solitary bird photo that I was proud of. I had also come to realise that to get a decent photograph I would have “think outside the box” sitting with a 200 mm lens in a safari vehicle was never going to give me the results I wanted.
So whilst I dreamed of a decent bird photograph and of one day visiting Londolozi it never dawned on me that the two things could be combined. The Londolozi website had the answer, not only was it possible to pay extra and have a sole use Land Rover I could also hire the type of lens needed to obtain the result I wanted .
The pictures that you see, were the result of one day’s photography. Londolozi assigned me the excellent team of Andrea and Bennett, and in the best Baldrick tradition we devised a cunning plan. The lens I hired was a Nikon 200-400 with a 1.4 teleconverter and a Nikon 800 provided the body. Also booked was a support for the lens, so suitably armed we set off. This was equipment that I could never afford to buy.
Hopefully Andrea has forgiven me for my attempts at concussing her as the monster of a lens moved about. The cunning plan was simple, we found the right spot (The Causeway) and we waited. It is simply amazing how running water, no Diesel engine and patience encourages good viewing.
The Sparrowhawk, the Pied Kingfisher, the Giant Kingfisher and Fish Eagle were all taken from within 10 metres of each other. Am I happy with the results?
Written and Photographed by: Ian Hall