The Magic of Mana Pools

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Wow, has it been a while since I wrote a proper blog post! I’m afraid this one will also be short-ish. I still want to do a proper write-up or trip report as it were about my recent maiden trip to the magical piece of Africa that is Mana Pools, but I thought for now let me just share some images with you that might give you an idea of why I am so enamoured with the place after this visit.

Mana Pools National Park in Zimbabwe is a recognised UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s a place of amazing beauty…with ancient forests filled with Ana and Acacia trees, floodplains with huge termite mounds, iconic wildlife and of course, the Zambezi river coursing along its northern border.

The place has a primal feel to it…it really made me feel like I was walking in a piece of Africa that time had forgotten, something reminiscent of the Africa described by legends like Livingstone and Hemingway. I was awe-struck and inspired by every moment of my 4-day stay.

One big advantage for photography here is that you are allowed to leave your vehicle and explore on foot. This obviously creates the opportunity for some very unique images and angle on your photos…but this is not something to be done without the presence of someone who knows African wildlife behaviour and how to react to potentially dangerous situations. We had amazing encounters with African Elephants, African Wild Dogs, a large male Lion and many more.

Here are a few images to try and convey what I experienced…

My photographic companion on this trip was Marlon du Toit, who plies his trade as a FGASA Level 3 Guide/Ranger in the Singita group (currently at Singita Sabi Sands). Our host and guide was Will Jansen, whom I can highly recommend for his knowledge of the area, his hospitality, his personality and just about everything he did to get us there, in the right spots for the best shots, and safely back again.

Unfortunately, there are a number of severe threats to this pristine location…the most notable being the granting of mining exploration rights (in classical dubious African fashion) for heavy mineral deposits in two tributary rivers along the Park’s borders. Read more here at the official Avaaz petition, and please do sign your name, as this will go some way towards creating awareness and a call to action from the various role-players. This place deserves to be protected for future generations, and it deserves to be left in this primal pristine condition!

CLICK HERE

Until next time…keep those cameras ready!

Morkel Erasmus

Morkel Erasmus

Morkel Erasmus

I used to relish writing these kinds of “bio” pieces and would flaunt the odd impressive word and use dashing grammar to make it sound like I am a boundary-shifting photographer. These days I prefer stating it in much simpler ways, much more relatable ways, much more believable ways… The fact of the matter is this: I love Africa. I love its people, its wild places and its wildlife. I love being immersed in these places, observing and photographing the fall of light on the land and the daily lives of the creatures that call it home, and presenting the results to whoever will take a look. To me, nature photography is all about being in the moment, and capturing that moment in a way that can relate to someone who didn’t have the privilege of being there with me. Sometimes I am able to capture a unique vision of the scene before me, and sometimes I just capture it the way most folks would according to classical photographic guidelines. Yet I always enjoy sharing the images and experiences and imparting the knowledge I have, both in-the-field and later online or in presentations, workshops and courses. I also just simply enjoy capturing and sharing the beauty of God's creation! The greatest thing I’ve found about wildlife and nature photography in Southern Africa is the unity and familiarity of the community of people that share this passion. We come from all walks of life and all cultures and backgrounds, yet our passion for our natural heritage and our dream to see it preserved for future generations binds strangers together and fuels conversations around campfires long after other people have run out of conversation and energy. Join me on a WildEye adventure to experience this sharing community spirit and learn to anticipate that fleeting moment and be ready for it, learn to immerse yourself in the experience without losing focus of your photographic goals…and above all, learn to see Africa anew… because there are none as blind as those who look but do not see!

Morkel Erasmus

Morkel Erasmus

Since picking up a DSLR camera for the first time, a little over 3 years ago, Morkel has been invigorated with an unbridled passion for the photographic art form. He has grown at a tremendous pace and put immense energy into the creation of his images. He absolutely loves spending time in the wild places of his native Southern Africa. From a young age he has been visiting legendary wildlife and outdoor locations, including the Kruger Park National Park and the Drakensberg Mountains, with his family. Now that he has found a way to share the natural beauty of his homeland with the rest of the world he is regularly out on photography trips. An Industrial Engineer by profession, and an accomplished artist in genres like music and poetry, Morkel has always enjoyed whatever allows him to express his creativity to the fullest. Photography turned out to be the perfect "marriage" between his engineering brain and artistic soul. "I hope that in some way I can raise awareness through my imagery of the plight of not only our wildlife but also the fragility of the last remaining wilderness areas that they call home.” Morkel was recently honoured for his commitment to his craft by receiving a "Highly Commended" for one of his images in the 2010 BBC Veolia Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. He is based in Mpumalanga, South Africa and even though he prefers going on safari with his family and friends, Morkel also leads the odd photographic safari and has recently begun presenting workshops in post-processing techniques.

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Glenn Bartley

Morkel, congratulations on your success in our recent “Best Photo of the Week” Competition – https://focusingonwildlife.com/news/best-photo-of-the-week-ended-18-aug-2012/

Glenn Bartley

Morkel, Mana Pools must be a great place to visit – congratulations on your outstanding images as always – let’s all sign the petition on the above link – hopefully we can help to create awareness about the need to save this beautiful place.