This time two years ago I was in Mana Pools – one of the most special corners in Africa. Today I am leaving for Africa again, and Mana Pools is on the itinerary! I am so excited, I have been planning to go back there since I got back! Unlike our past couple of trips we are going to be self-driving again too – through 4 countries. I can’t wait to be camping out in the bush again – it’s my absolute favourite way to experience Africa.
The trip to Zambia and Zimbabwe in 2012 was also a sort of changing point in my life too – when I got back I decided I really need to try to up my game to become a better photographer – I was pretty much a more casual and laid back photographer till then. This is of course a continuous improvement exercise which I am still undertaking – so I am curious to see what kind of photos I will come back with this time!
This photo is from my 2012 Mana Pools visit just before one of our most memorable experiences. I was photographing a pride of lions, of which this female is a member, when they disappeared behind a ridge and out of line of sight. Since in Mana Pools one is free to wander around on foot without a guide we decided to cautiously follow them – well at least to a point where we had a good view of them again. This wasn’t our brightest idea. When we were about 200m away from the car we realised two lions were hidden in the bushes very very close to us. We barely managed to process this new information when two warthogs suddenly shot out of nowhere – some of the lions suddenly decided to give chase and whooshed by really close to us. What to do? The only option was to remain frozen on the spot. All I kept thinking is that I didn’t want to become one of those Darwin Awards. Anyway, the lions didn’t manage to get any of the warthogs and started to walk back towards us. Meanwhile the big male appeared out of nowhere attracted by the commotion and the promise of lunch. I swear I could see the disappointment in his eyes when he realised there was no lunch – and then he looked straight into my eyes with some degree of resentment. Thankfully the lions all settled back to their mid-day snooze and we could safely walk back to the car – our adrenaline levels severely depleted. To read about all that trip’s experiences check out my trip report.