Another one bites the dust…

Two cheetah brothers, who I had followed all day, every day for 2 weeks, welcomed in another bright new dawn in the Serengeti as they prepared for another long day of stalking, hunting and – as it seemed most of the time – failing to catch anything!

Where do the years go eh? It doesn’t seem 5 minutes ago that I was sat here thinking about the plans for 2022….and now I’m knee (make that neck actually…) deep in 2023 and beyond. It has been a manic 12 months for sure, and there’s little to no let-up it seems in the next year either. From the calving grounds of the Serengeti in January, to walking waist-deep in elephant effluent in the Central African Republic in November, it’s been a bit of a whirlwind for sure, although, in many senses, it was back to the “good ol’ days” of getting back on the road, out into the field and getting my camera back in action for a good six months of the year.

The Serengeti, Congo, Baffin Island, North and South Dakota, The Skeleton Coast and Hoanib valley in Namibia, Somerset Island in the high Arctic, the Pantanal, Namiri Plains and Mahale Moutains (both Tanzania) and finally Congo again and the Central African Republic have been the story of 2022. It’s certainly been a good one for airmiles!…if not jetlag!

A majestic Bighorn Sheep ram pauses to survey his domain in South Dakota’s Badlands.

Back to the grindstone…

As you will have seen, much of my time has been spent on projects this year, with little to no guiding or trip leading (hallelujah! I hear you all shout!), and it looks to be a similar situation next year too with a lot more work at a number of Central African locations, Ecuador and India set to consume large amounts of my time. I’ve also a couple of exploratory trips planned that if they work out for me photographically, I’ll be able to help you experience too in the coming years.

Having said that, I will be looking forward to welcoming some of you to join me in Congo next year when I take a couple of weeks off from my book-work, as well as escorting a few grizzly bear trips in the Yukon and later in the year across multiple venues in Alaska. A quick trip to help some of you get the most from Zimbabwe follows that, and a final polar bear trip to Arviat for me sees out the year. It’ll be good to see so many of you on those, and to catch up with friends old and new for sure. Hopefully, I’ll be able to show you some fantastic wildlife and give you a few ideas on how to capture it on the memory card!

As shadows lengthen across the dunes of Sossuvlei, in Namibia, shapes come and go in seconds….but if you’ve a quick imagination, then this sand sea reveals a number of secrets…such as this “bird” that pecked away at the very base of the dunes that supported it….

Trips for the future

So many people have asked this year about plans for the future in terms of organising trips, that I felt it was time to put some clarity on things. We have been looking at how best to enable all of you to access and maximise the knowledge that I’ve built up over the last 30 years, and this is the result.

So going forward, I’m going to have 4 specific types of trip. These are outlined on the “about our trips” page, but in summary:

  1. Guided groups: photographer-led group adventures (usually 4-6 in a group).
  2. Unguided groups: as above, but without the photographer element. This could be a group of friends, a club or perhaps just a couple who want to access the knowledge-base, but are happy then to go it alone.
  3. Bespoke/tailor-made: tell me what you want to see (or perhaps ask for inspiration), and I’ll set it up for you. You will ONLY ever access the guides, locations and times that I do. You, essentially, go and repeat what I have done time and again…but this time it’s you in the chair, so to speak, getting your images! I will have been there and worked before on my own, and will set it up to be as close to that experience as I can do.
  4. Private Guided: Anything from 2 or 3 basically….but your own guide (photographer or professional guide supplied by us), to accompany you throughout. This is a great option if you want personalised attention on the ground, and also it does permit changes and alterations as things go along too as there’s always someone there to make sure you’re extracting every minute from the day. Private guiding is not for everyone, but can be a great addition to making a trip truly memorable. Please note, however, this is not always available as it depends on availability of myself or the other guides that I would trust you to travel with. You can also replicate one of our normal guided trips here of course, but for your own private group. Just ask and we’ll see if we can make it work.

A male chimpanzee rests by a stream in Tanzania’s Mahale mountains. Contemplative and calm, there is something deep hidden in those eyes.

On the “Tailor-made Safaris?” page on the website, there’s an outline of the types of trip on offer but this is literally the proverbial drop in the ocean. At present, for example, I’m organising a 4 week South American adventure for some people, a couple of migration visits (calving and crossing seasons), a cheetah photographic focus and an escorted trip across Zambia for private clients. You will see, however, on that page some provisional trips for 2024. Do please enquire if you’re keen as the waitlists for most are long, and as soon as I know the full extent of who wants to go, it will enable me to get the planning finalised.

Anything is basically possible (as long as I’ve done it), so the worst you can do is enquire. Remember, anything I send you on or advise you about is something I’ve done and worked on myself on my own commercial projects.

Want to know the best place for elephants in Tanzania? When to go chimp trekking? How many days to spend looking for Spectacled bears? Where lowland gorillas are? Spend time with the hyenas of the last Dynasties series? Then drop me a line. If I can’t do it for you, I’ll simply rule it out straightaway and steer you to others that can. For a genuine photo-focused wildlife experience, we’re a pretty good place to start at least 🙂

Have a great Christmas everyone and a happy and healthy 2023….see you around !