We have recently returned from an incredibly productive trip to southern Tanzania. Our primary destination was Katavi national park, a small and very remote area which receives less than 650 visitors per year. In Katavi, game such as hippo, buffalo, zebra and elephant congregates in huge herds. This abundance of animals attracts predators, and prides of lions patrol the flood plains. The wildlife is much shier than in other places we have been due to the low volume of visitors. This made photographing the animals challenging but ultimately more rewarding.
We set ourselves a grueling schedule: off looking for wildlife before dawn, backing up photos at lunch, out again in the afternoon and then processing photos late into the night. Our constant companions throughout the day were the tsetse flies – large, almost invincible flies with a ferocious bite. They had a knack of launching coordinated attacks right at the crucial moment of taking a photograph and it wasn’t long before we were covered with angry red bites!
We dedicated many hours to photographing a pride of lions which lived near our camp on the Katisunga floodplain. The pride consisted of four females and six beautiful cubs. The hours we spent with them were rewarded with some stunning photos.
Katavi is also a great place to see a wide range of interesting bird species. One morning we lay beside a croc infested river with a blanket over us to photograph sand grouse as they came down to drink. One of our favourite creatures was a Verreaux’s Eagle Owl which often used a perch overlooking the plain. We spent a long time trying to capture some of its many amusing expressions!
Our ten days in Katavi were a fantastic experience. We have many more photos which we will be sharing in due course. Our next post will be about the Mahale Mountains National Park and the wild chimpanzees that we photographed there.