We headed out to Amboseli, a long drive through the Taita hills and Lumo conservancy, encountering beautiful wilderness interspersed with villages, under the shadow of Mt Kilimanjaro. We arrived in time for a beautiful Amboseli sunset with Elephants in front of the palms in the heart of the park. Dust added to the scene, creating the first typical “Light and Dust” moment.
Within the family coming out of the palm trees there was a tiny calf who quickly stole our attention. We quickly decided to grab our longer lenses and focus on the calf and its antics.
The following day we started with an early morning encounter with two male Lions on the edge of the palm trees. They were trotting across the plains, and we had a few opportunities for some nice panning images. It’s always good to practice different techinques. I like the results on this one. Driving on we came across another group of Lions, two males and three females, but these ones were a bit shy and quickly retreated in the bush when they saw us. Their bellies were full, they were probably taking advantage of the great concentration of Wildebeests and Zebras returning to the park.
We were focused on Elephants so we kept going, and we found a beautiful Elephant family grazing in a swamp. And in the dry lake bed a family of Elephants was crossing the wet parts. Only a small portion of the lake was accessible by road. Fortunately, a group of bulls with the mighty Tolstoy among them was still in the dry part. The bulls followed the family while Tolstoy kept walking in the bare dry patch. An extraordinary sight. We accompanied him gently on his walk, a real other-worldy scene finding one of Africa’s biggest tuskers in this setting.
The following morning we woke up to a glorious sunrise on the marshes. Elephants feeding raising dust all around them. Sun rising behind and the golden red light coming through the clouds of dust, for some magnificent dramatic effects.
We also encountered Amboseli’s other great tusker, the magnificent Craig. We caught him drinking, dust-bathing, mud-bathing in front of Kilimanjaro, we had some great portraits of him and it was just mesmerizing to be in his presence.
Tolstoy also showed up once more, this time in front of Kilimanjaro.
Our safari came to an end with a glorious evening on the dry lake where herds of Zebras descended at sunset to cross and disappear in the bushes to the north. We took our position as the Zebra families paraded in front of us. Lying on the cracekd soil of the lake at a safe distance and hidden from view gave us the opportunity to silhouette the Zebras against the dramatic sky for some amazing photographs. The key here was waiting for good separation between the many Zebras walking, not easy with so many animals in the frame. It was great to capture Zebras that were closer and others farther away for a sense of depth.
Three Giraffes were also on the lake at the same time, making their way across, while a family of Elephants was grazing on the edges. Some bulls caused panic and havoc in the herd until just about sunset the Elephants also decided to start their journey across the lake. We didn’t have too much time to spend with the marching Elephants due to falling darkness, but we did manage to capture some magnificent photographs of an always timeless scene. A fitting end to a fantastic safari.