It really feels like every year just keeps on getting better, more adventure and deeper discoveries. The most rewarding part of adventure travel is seeing the deep transformation that it embeds within people who make the pilgrimage to witness the Last Truly Wild Places on Earth. 2019 has been no exception. The ‘work’ I do could never have been achieved without those who have shown so much trust in me to create, design and guide intimate, once-off exclusive experiences. To everyone who I have spent time with on Safari, I really thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing such elated moments on Safari with memories that will never fade ... Another huge thanks must go to the excellent and professional C4 Photo Safaris team for being the power behind all of the logistics and admin, it makes a big difference!
To end off one exceptional year, I would love to share the 2019 journey with you once again...
From 50 to minus 15! The silliest, craziest, most diverse Safari of them all?
Svalbard to Chad
Who would ever combine the Arctic with the Sahara? Well, luckily the worst part was the confusion that it caused whilst packing. This Safari took us deep into the Chadian Sahara within the Ennedi Plateau, exploring a region of such scale and adventure; there are hardly accurate adjectives to describe it properly. The Chadian journey also took us back to Zakouma for the annual pilgrimage to Camp Nomade. Zakouma, as usual showed us all that it is one of the most abundant wildlife hotspots on the continent with a conservation story to back it tenfold. Imagine a herd of Kordofan Giraffe disappearing behind a wall of Quelea?
After suffering from an almost 50C* beating in Zakouma, the adventure migrated North, way North! Eventually we ended up on a small vessel, clad in jump suits to keep us alive in sub zero temperatures whilst scanning for Polar Bears on Fjord Ice! What a privilege to have witnessed this part of the world with good friend and fellow guide Shem Compion.
Gorillas, Volcanoes and Real Conservation
Virunga NP, DRC
It is hard for me to not show a bias towards Virunga, but Im a real sucker for proper conservation. The conservation challenge they face there might be one of the toughest in Africa and in the face of adversity they show an incredible amount of resilience and Hope for the future of the entire North Kivu province of the DRC. They not only protect the most bio diverse and oldest National Park in Africa, but also a third of the already dwindled population of Mountain Gorillas.
I can say with confidence, Virunga is a Game Changer that will transform any traveler to Africa; it is a profoundly powerful experience. See my blog post from this years Safari.
The last of the knowledge, the Ju/hoansi Bushmen
Unnamed location, Botswana
Over the course of the year, I embarked upon 2 immersive experiences to visit the very last of the Kalahari Bushmen knowledge, one on a pre trip ‘recce’ and the other on ‘safari’ with a great guest to witness what we believe to be the most traditional Busmhen community experience left in the Kalahari. The Ju/Hoansi Bushmen group are believed to have the most genetically pure lineage of man on Earth and listening to their Eland song around a fire at night makes you dig deep and truly wonder how far it goes back. I have preferred to keep most of this away from social media and the location quiet, the fragility of ancient hunter gatherer knowledge and skill belongs at best, far away from the modern world and as deep within Nature as possible.
East African Grassland Magic, but without the cars
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
After trying to wind down from an exceptionally high amount of adrenaline brought upon by Virungas magic, we calmly settled into the quietest possible camp in the Serengeti at the opposite end of the migration. Although the area lacked the great herds of migrating antelope which the region is well known for, we spent an entire week on the plains all to ourselves, not a single other car and endless Cheetah viewing opportunities.
Watching the Okavango trickle (aka flood), a year of drought
It may seem like an unusual occurrence, but the truth is that the greater Okavango ecosystem has been designed on the ebb and flow of flood and drought. Although it was tough during the ‘suicide’ months of September and October in the Kalahari, it gave a deeper sense and appreciation of what it means to live on the edge of the Okavango, even without water. Witnessing the weak flood trickle in with all the energy she could muster with great guests on Safari was a rare privilege that not many people get to witness.
Documenting the Return of Rhinos into Malawi, another African Parks milestone for conservation
Liwonde National Park, Malawi
African Parks... It’s hard to explain the impact they have had on African conservation. Covering the Rhino relocation in Chad during 2018 was re-lived with an extraordinary rhino re-introduction into African Parks’ parks in Malawi. It is incredible the lengths we have to go to for conservation in Africa and being part of such a truly inspiring project keeps the motivation going for an Africa we all want to witness for decades to come.
Of course, being dad and witnessing the thread of primate evolution
It’s no easy task being a Safari Guide and a father. Managing time away from home and time to raise a child is a difficult combination to master. However, at best I have tried to keep things a bit slower on the safari front to witness the mind blowing mental and physical evolution of a human infant of which the first 1000 days are vital. More than anything else, it has provided Ruth and I with the deepest sense of gratitude, although challenging at times, and a healthy respect for selflessness. Thanks to everyone for the love you have shown for little Ira Wild. We both strive for a continued life of love and Nature for our little.
"Nothing would have been worth it if it wasn’t for those who I shared these experiences with"
As mentioned before, nothing would have been possible without the support from you. Every guest (which inevitably become good friends) has played a great part in making this year as special as it has been. Again, there is nothing more rewarding than sharing the last truly wild places in Africa with guests on Safari.
Looking ahead... but still enjoying the moment
2020 – Fully booked – 70% repeat! To say it will top 2019 would be unfair, but the calendar looks amazing. Every single Safari I’ll be hosting has been personally crafted for each guest. The intention was quite simple, design Safari Pilgrimages that nobody else has done! Thanks again for all the trust everyone has given me to tailor make their journeys, I absolutely cannot wait to get back out there with all of you next year.
2020 – Tanzania – Chad – DRC – CAR – Gabon – Angola and Congo! Some of the Last Truly wild places ...
- MEMORIES FROM 2019 -
ASANTE SANA - THANK YOU - KE A LEBOGA