Travel Diaries: Zambia & Botswana
Dec02

Travel Diaries: Zambia & Botswana

I’m struggling to get these blogs updated (as usual), so sorry for stacking multiple stories into one post. I guess that’s just how it has to be when you get really far behind like I have. If you really want to stay on top of my travels, head over to my YouTube channel. There, I do a daily vlog. These installments come from really short visits to both Zambia and Botswana from last month’s trip to Southern Africa. Is Zambia Getting Worse? Or is it All About Perspective? I think perspectives are a funny thing. The last time I entered Zambia, I came in from the DRC. I had been slogging through the challenges of Central Africa for about 6 months and my arrival to Zambia was a relief. I remember being at the border and thinking about how nice it was to have things organized a bit. Of course, I do remember the bureaucracy taking forever, but there were offices and computers, as opposed to just some guy at the side of the road with a ledger which was so often the case in many West and Central African countries. This time, coming from the calm and organization of Namibia, the Zambian border crossing felt like a disaster. There were dozens of people chasing me around looking to “help”, and then the offices of the border were so slow, painful, and completely inefficient. I ended up spending quite a bit of money to get my rental car into the country, and to be honest, it was probably a mistake to go into Zambia on this trip. Of course, as if a couple hours dealing with bureaucracy at the border wasn’t enough, on the drive to Livingstone – which is littered with potholes – I got myself another flat tire. My 3rd in just 3 weeks in Africa. Back in Livingstone I basically lived in Livingstone for 3 weeks on my scooter trip down Africa. It was a bit of a refuge for me, and it was a great hub to meet people. I made a lot of friends there, including the owner of Jollyboys Backpackers and her husband who is a local videographer. So, part of the reason I went through the effort to get to Livingstone was to see them. I also wanted to check out a couple things like The Devil’s Pool over Victoria Falls which wasn’t available to me last time because it was the rainy season and the water was too high. This time, I ran into other problems at the falls. Assuming that since I had a big camera I was shooting commercial...

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Travel Diaries: Namibia
Dec01

Travel Diaries: Namibia

I’m sorry for the rushed nature of this blog post. But, as usual, I find myself behind on updating this site.  My daily travel vlog has really taken precedent, and for good reason.  While this blog has kind of stagnated in it’s growth – and to be honest, I think all blogs around the world have – my vlog is starting to thrive. So, I have to put my energy there first. Still, I think it’s important to have this thought outlet. This place that I can smash down my words on paper.  On video, you can only only capture so much, but written words just seem to have so much more emotional meaning. So, these are my quick travel diaries from my week in Namibia last month. The Most Beautiful Landscapes in the World Without a doubt, Namibia is a landscape photographer’s dream.  It’s just full of places that are beyond photogenic.  Locations that scream to be shot, and light that always seems to leave them looking stunning. My trip to Namibia started with a visit to one of my favourite places on the planet: Sossusvlei.  This is the home of those famous red dunes you see on all the marketing for Namibia.  The dunes here are just phenomenal, and some of the easiest dunes in the world to photograph.  Also, you have Deadvlei in the same park.  This is another iconic photo location, although shooting it was one of the biggest challenges of the trip, due to the logistics of it all.  Watch the video below to see what I’m talking about. I was a total of 3 days in Sossusvlei, which was the perfect amount of time to capture some cool imagery as well as not feel rushed.  These are some of my favourite photos from the trip. Hitting Jackpots in Etosha Based on my last visit to Etosha National Park, I decided to only spend pretty limited time in the park on this visit to Namibia.  In general, Etosha can be a bit hit or miss.  Because of the vasts expanses of land, quite often the wildlife is a really far away.  Moreover, there’s a lot of brush in the park, so it can be hard to spot the animals even if they’re close to the roads. However, even though I spent less that 24 hours in the park, I absolutely hit the wildlife jackpot.  I saw lions, rhinos, and all the other usual suspects. And, just before sunset I managed to see a very young leopard very close to my camera lens.  Then, at night by the waterhole there were just incredible scenes as...

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The Best Place in Africa to See Lions: Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
Nov08

The Best Place in Africa to See Lions: Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

I didn’t have Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park on my list of things to do on this trip through Southern Africa.  Then, a friend of mine mentioned that it might be the best place in Africa to see lions.  He said that on his trip to the park, he saw over 20 lions, in various prides, before breakfast one day.  So, when I looked it up on the map, and realized that it really wasn’t all that far out of my way, I decided to add it to my schedule. Now, since I’m a bit behind on my blog here, I thought I’d just mash both of my videos from my trip to Kgalagadi into one blog post. The first is a 4k video I shot in the park.  Day 1 in Kgalagadi was unreal. It started off pretty slow, but then just as the sun was about to set I came across 2 young male lions.  Not only were they active, but they just seemed to constantly be walking through beautiful light for photography.  It was amazing.  These lions, too, are the famous black mane Kalahari Lions.  So, it was incredibly special to see.  Of course, there was more to the day than just lions. Check it out. Then, my second day spending Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park I again went on a game drive. I again learned why this is the best place in Africa to see lions.  Not only do you see a lot of lions in the park, but you have really special moments with them.  Rarely are there other vehicles around when you see them, and most of the time the lions are really close. I should say, too, that this park isn’t just know for lions, but a great place to see big cats of all kinds.  There are also lots of Cheetahs, and Leopards in the park.  On my two drives, I saw 2 leopards as well, though I wasn’t lucky enough to see Cheetahs.  There are also some more rare cats like Caracal an African Wildcats within the boundaries. Some Photos from Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park I think I had some pretty good luck with the photography side of things in the park.  I got some great wildlife hanging around some beautiful light.  On a couple occasions it just all came together.  I’m pretty happy with things considering these were all shot on just 2 game drives. What’s Next? From here, I head into Namibia and some of my favourite places on the planet. I love Namibia, and am excited to be going back to places like Sossusvlei and...

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Africa is My Therapy
Nov01

Africa is My Therapy

When lost in life, I’ve often looked to travel to be my therapy. I did so on my East Coast roadtrip through the US recently, and it just didn’t seem to really work. Then, I decided that maybe I needed a bit of Africa. I was right. In particular, Lesotho has been the best therapy. From the second I rolled across the border from South Africa into Lesotho I knew I was going to love it. The ruggedness, the wild attitude, the fierce mountains; it’s just stunning. On my first day in the country, I pushed towards a place called Bokong Nature Reserve. The reserve is over this incredible mountain pass where you drive over 3200m above sea level and through some of the most spectacular scenery. Unfortunately for me, the reserve is closed – and seems to have been closed for a little while. I’m told that they are doing maintenance to the park infrastructure. It’s a shame, because the views from there are special. I would have loved to have been able to sit up there and shoot some images. Instead, I drove back an hour to one of the few guesthouses in this part of Lesotho. The following day was a bit of an adventure. When going back down the other side of the pass near Bokong, I smashed into a large rock and bent the rim of my wheel. In doing so, I got a flat tire. Thankfully, the only tourists I’d seen in all of Lesotho thus far happened to pass by. They lent a hand changing the tire, and I headed off to a bush mechanic to try to repair it. Thankfully, I found a great bush mechanic at a gas station in basically the middle of nowhere. He hammered the rim back somewhat into shape, and I carried on. Finally, I ended my day in Semonkong where I made a short hike out to a waterfall called Maletsunyane which may be Lesotho’s tourism calling card. It is stunning. I can’t wait to come back out and photograph it in coming days. Some Photos from the Hike I’ll show you Melatsunyane Falls on the next post since I have a dedicated post about them. But, for now, here are some more images from the hike out there and back. What’s Next I’ve got at least a full day here in Semonkong, and I plan on spending it with a mix of work, relaxation, and then a hike out to the waterfall again. Then, I’ve got a couple more days here in Lesotho to...

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Location Scouting the Drakensberg Mountains
Oct30

Location Scouting the Drakensberg Mountains

I decided that after such a long day of travel I deserved a sleep in and relaxing morning. So, I didn’t get a start on this day until after noon. Honestly, it was a bit of a mistake. I guess I kind of assumed that, like the Canadian Rockies, I’d just be able to drive up to some epic photo locations. Of course, it’s not that easy here in the Drakensberg Mountains. Here, the best spots to shoot are always a pretty serious hike away. But, despite my late start, I wanted to see how many different spots I could scout out before the end of the day. At least then maybe I’d have an idea for where I wanted to photograph in the morning. Royal Natal National Park This national park is fairly small, but pretty impressive. I hiked out to a place called “The Cascades”, which was a nice little series of waterfalls. Unfortunately, I somehow managed to leave my good Lee Filter in the car, and missed out on some decent photo opportunities there. I pushed a bit beyond the waterfalls up the hill towards a place called Lookout Rock. The views here were unreal. These mountains are serious. Cathedral Running late already, I decided to push into Cathedral Peak to try to shoot sunset. Unfortunately, the lack of planning and scouting caused me some issues. For one, the sun sets directly behind the incredible mountain peaks in this park of the Drakensberg Mountains. So, the light was less than ideal. Secondly, I had no idea where I was hiking, and just wandered off. Unfortunately, that meant that the trail I took pulled me away from the most epic peaks. I kind of struck out here from a photography standpoint, but the park is beautiful. If I ever get another chance, I’d love to spend a couple nights at the Cathedral Peak Hotel shooting those incredible views at sunrise. Sunrise Saturday Since it was a short day, I decided to turn my 4k Friday into Sunrise Saturday as well. I took a short drive up above Inkosana Lodge where I based myself in the mountains, and got some pretty light for a couple minutes. What’s Next Tomorrow, I’m testing out a 360 degree video. I have no idea how it will go, but it’s worth a try. It should be fun, as I’m going to haul the 360 degree camera up a mountain here in the...

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