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With the seasons in Hwange

With the seasons in Hwange

Wildebeest and their young during the rains, January in Hwange
Wildebeest and their young during the rains, January in Hwange
Mike Myers

As a photographer for Wilderness Safaris, I am privileged to work in most of the prime wildlife areas in central and southern Africa. In the last few years, much of my time has been spent in the Makalolo and Linkwasha concession areas of Hwange where Wilderness has camps. I have seen it through all the seasons of the year; from the abundant lush green of summer, when many young animals are born, through the coming of winter browns, yellows and reds, to the harsh late dry season, Hwange is magnificent and produces the unusual.

Two weeks in late January this year were breathtaking for the sheer abundance of wildlife: elephant, buffalo, eland, zebra, giraffe and warthog. We saw lion and wild dogs and my first-ever striped polecat in 35 years of working in Africa! Drives through woodland that breaks out into open grassy wetlands are the perfect habitat tapestry in which all these animals are found.

I have just spent another ten days at Little Makalolo and Davison’s camps and in the short space of three months I’ve seen the green replaced by the muted tones of autumn. We saw all the same animals, but in a different setting. This time though we also saw leopard and even sable, including two bulls fighting right in front of camp.

In late September last year we were in the same area at the height of the dry season. The air was thick with the dust and haze that make for that classic red African sunset. The waterholes were inundated with elephant and you could literally stay in one place and have everything come to you. We had a sighting of a male cheetah at Ngamo which features dry open plains denuded of grass at this time.

As a photographer I believe that using the natural habitat in composition is as important as photographing the animal itself. The seasonal changes in Hwange, and the sheer numbers of different animals, are my greatest creative tools and it is a true privilege to be able to work there.

Read more articles from this issue:
Zambezi Traveller (Issue 13, June 2013)

Read more about the region in our destination guide:

Zambezi Traveller Directory:
Little Makalolo Camp (Hwange, Zimbabwe)
Davison's Camp (Hwange, Zimbabwe)