I knew that I would have a great trip with Justin from the moment we met at Mfuwe airport. As he says below, his excitement levels were high and this infectious enthusiasm continued right through the trip. We all enjoyed travelling with him, and I’m very grateful to him for writing an in-depth report of his safari for me to share with you here. As well as excellent photos, I hope his report gives an idea of what it’s like to be on safari with me. I am sure everyone will enjoy reading what follows – thank you Justin!

“The excitement was building as I flew into Mfuwe for my third trip to the Luangwa Valley over 12 years. This was my first trip with Edward Selfe and the decision to join his Legendary Luangwa safari in September turned out to be one of the best I have ever made. Ed immediately made me feel welcome and the 8-night safari, at two well-chosen camps in different parts of the park, could not have been better or more fun. The key was Ed’s exceptional guiding, photographic skill and tutoring, along with his wonderful knowledge of the park and empathy with its inhabitants, who always came first. That is not to say he ignored his guests, on the contrary, he dedicated all his time on the trip to ensure everyone was catered for, ably assisted by the fabulous staff at the Luangwa River and Nsefu camps. Ed started by getting to know us individually and he determined our level of photographic experience (enthusiastic amateur with too little practice in my case) and by finding out what we would like to see and achieve. Without doubt my photography improved hugely during the week and I left inspired to do more.

Ed has written a wonderful review of our trip, which I urge you to read, not least to look at his pictures. I will try and highlight how his skills made the trip so memorable for me. The events of the first morning are a perfect example. After an exhilarating drive across the river from Luangwa River Camp, Ed stopped on the far bank and encouraged us to listen to the bush at dawn. Ed picked up a puku alarm in the distance. Following the direction of the puku and squirrel calls, we rounded a bend after 10 mins to find a male leopard lying at the foot of the tree. Not a bad start! The next hour illustrated Ed’s skill as a guide and tutor. He set the scene and interpreted the behaviour of this leopard, which we followed for at least an hour. Ed made suggestions regarding camera settings and image composition. We watched the sun rise and photographed the leopard in the morning light. Ed predicted the leopard would move to the river and we followed it to the riverbank where he positioned the vehicle below the leopard to allow spectacular shots, all without another vehicle in sight. This was the pattern for the week, patient expert guiding, incredible sightings, and crucially, the time to appreciate them and optimise our photographic opportunities and learn new skills.

I particularly enjoyed Ed’s insight into the dynamics of life in the park and especially that between the predators. We were spoilt by the incredible number of leopard sightings, which included watching a female leopard drag a freshly killed impala 600 yards, and the opportunity to witness her feeding on it with her young cub the following morning. To experience the drama of a successful wild-dog hunt, lions and hyena on a kill and the exhilaration of watching a group of lion cubs frolicking for 40 minutes is more than one can reasonably expect. The trip was however much more than a feast of predators. Photographing elephants in the woodland, groups crossing the river and a family walking towards us at the Stork colony, as well as the grace of giraffes crossing the Luangwa were equally special and gave us numerous photographic opportunities. We enjoyed a spectacular morning trip to the Salt Pans, which included photographing the magnificent crowned cranes and being surrounded by 800 buffalo, including two bulls locking horns in clouds of dust close to the vehicle. Great fun was had setting up side-lit photographic opportunities at night and both stitching and panning shots. We were encouraged to observe and photograph animal behaviour and interactions, allowing us to make shots more interesting, and to alter camera settings to optimise the use of the light at each time of day. Ed was also very generous with his time in the middle of the day looking at images, making suggestions and helping to teach photo-editing skills.

In between all of the game viewing, at our mealtimes, we had fascinating discussions about Africa, Zambia, the national parks, conservation and what we had seen and planned to do the next day. We were also treated to specially organised bush breakfasts and bush dinners. All of this leaves me wanting more and I am already planning to travel again with Ed in 2020.

Thank you Ed for your wonderful guiding and expertise and for making the trip such fun and so memorable, and to Fiona, Raj, Thomas and Thomas for being the best of travelling companions. It was a pleasure and a privilege to spend this time with you all. Finally, please also see the excellent reports of the trip from Fiona and Raj and from Thomas Lehman“.

Thanks again Justin for the time, care and effort involved in putting together such a report. I look forward to seeing you again in 2020!