Shooting in Mozambique (but real men hunt with cameras)

Personally, I prefer my shooting to be of the non-lethal kind.  When I saw the photos of Cecil the Lion, shot last year in the run-up to my own African adventure, I couldn’t help but think he would have looked much more majestic standing in his natural habitat, as opposed to lying dead at the feet of his killer.   I resolved immediately to try and photograph as much wildlife as I could when visiting Mozambique in September.  I was both delighted and frustrated. Delighted by all of the animals, the big sky and the natural environment I saw.  Frustrated by those animals I missed (some of which were WAY UP THERE on the list of must sees) and by the lack of investment the country puts into rebuilding its beautiful habitats.

So – what can you see?

Quite a lot, actually.  If you go looking for the “big five” you are likely to be disappointed.  Don’t get me wrong – there are quite a few elephants (though I didn’t see any), and it is possible to see lions if very lucky, but the local rhino have pretty much all been killed, and it would be better for the surviving ones to stay away.  The territory is wrong for buffalo and you can have all of my teeth if you ever see a leopard.

That said, there are plenty of beautiful, majestic, wild and very “African” animals to keep your attention.  Their habitat is different to your average wildlife program and it makes the photography a real challenge.

Zebra amonst the trees
Zebra amongst the trees. When seen like this, rather than on the planes, their camouflage makes perfect sense. Autofocus is pretty hopeless though!
African Warthog
African Warthog approaching for a drink in the midday sun.

As well as any number of large animals that you can see on the land – it is the sky and the water you want to focus on for real excitement, from above – the large African eagle…

African Fish Eagle
African Fish Eagle

… to the tiny Malachite Kingfisher.

African Malachite Kingfisher
African Malachite Kingfisher

At or in the water, the mighty Hippo…

Hippopotamuses (hippopotami) - it's a family affair
Hippopotamuses (hippopotami) – it’s a family affair

…to the (also) tiny green handed horned ghost crab

Green handed horned ghost crab
Green handed horned ghost crab

And after all that – there is the sea and all that is in it or on it.

Bazaruto two mile reef
Bazaruto two mile reef
Migrating humpbacks off Tofo beach
Migrating humpbacks off Tofo beach

How could I possibly have been disappointed or frustrated with all this (and more)? Well – I never saw a whale shark, and I never captured the humpbacks under the water.  The manta ray I saw was in the distance, and my photos of reef sharks didn’t work. What a hard life!!

The sky at night was rubbish too…

Sunset over Limpopo

Milky Way

Looking back, I’m not sure why I came back!  I really must get back to Africa soon…

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