Lower Zambezi and South Luangwa
As a wildlife artist producing wildlife paintings for a living I am always looking for something special when I go to Africa. In 2015 I stayed at Kaingo in the South Luangwa and Old Mondoro in the Lower Zambezi, both beautiful camps on the banks of their respective rivers. From Old Mondoro you can experience one of the wonders of any safari; seeing the wildlife from the river or one of its tributaries by canoe. The tranquillity is amazing with incredible and diverse bird life. There is something very special about being on the water, although the danger from being thrown in the water by hippos is a real one and is something that I am acutely aware of - it focuses the mind!
I had never been to this part of Africa before. The main feature was the Luangwa River where a wealth of wildlife can be found, in fact, it is one of the most densely populated wildlife areas in Africa.
When I went to India and saw my first wild tiger I was so moved by the experienced it made me cry. In the Lower Zambezi I had a similar experience with elephants: one encounter stood out as very special; I saw a herd of about 60 coming across in front of us from on top of an embankment. There were bulls, cows and calves of all ages. We just watched for about 20 minutes as they all walked in front of us and started browsing under the trees in glorious dappled sunlight. This is as good as Africa gets. As soon as we left them my eyes filled up. I’ve never felt so much emotion with elephants. As with tigers, perhaps it was my awareness of their battle with Mankind.
Leopards are one of the most exciting animals to see in Africa and I was secretly praying for some good sightings. I needn’t have worried because I had great sightings in both parks. They do make superb subjects for oil paintings and are very popular with my collectors. There is a similar excitement seeing a leopard that I get when I see tigers in India - you know you are seeing something rare and very special.
Cats and elephants are always popular subjects for artists and anybody visiting Africa loves to see them. But I also like to seek out the more obscure subjects like some of the many antelope, birds and zebras. Zebras in particular will always make a good painting subject due to their unique patterns.
A selection of paintings from this safari. Click and mouse over
The Zambezi and Luangwa are stunning parts of the world
As you can see from the photo above, us artists work very hard while out collecting our material to paint - being on safari can be a tough business! This is my group stopping for lunch somewhere along the edge of the Luangwa river just up stream from Kaingo camp. Both Kaingo in the South Luangwa and Old Mondoro in the Lower Zambezi are fabulous camps as are the surrounding game parks. I must also mention and pay credit to the fantastic people who own and run these camps. Thank you for making my visit so memorable.