A photographic journal of Mana Pools

The magic of Mana Pools is something that has been documented on many occasions. By the seasoned traveller, the professional photographer, a bush loving family and the intrepid explorer. Each time I read about this place, I am able to relive my memories of Mana. It is easy to reminisce of the colours of the forest, the blue haze that is now known so well.

Each image I see from Mana Pools takes me right back into the moments where I found myself sitting quietly on the floor, watching a huge elephant bull feeding on fallen Albida pods, a safe distance away. I look back at a pack of wild dogs, denning their pups in some thick undergrowth, coming out only to provide for their pack and to a gentle canoe ride down the Zambezi river, floating past 2 elephant bulls as they jostle for dominance in water 4 feet deep.

My sentiments of Mana are personal, but I am sure they are shared, by a large community of people who visit this special place. However, in this post, my intention is to portray a recent safari I guided to Mana Pools in photographs alone.

This particular trip was based on photography, and photographing wildlife on foot. Our main focus was elephants and the forests. To capture these majestic creatures from low angles, giving the viewers of the images an understanding of perspective. Another goal was to find interesting ways in which to frame them using the browse line, the long arching branches of the trees, and trying our best to catch the best moments in the wondrous light.

Come on this photographic journey with me as we relive the moments from Mana Pools.

Elephants in the blue forest.

Low angles creating unique perspectives.

Colours that are hard to find elsewhere.

In Mana, small elephant herds are a common sight.

Youthful confidence.

Framed by protection.

Completely in touch with the surroundings.

A unique attraction of Mana Pools, photographing on foot..

Head held high, she is watching.

Small souls, chasing big dreams.

Being left behind the herd.

Your breathe becomes shallow and the air is still.

Close encounters with young bulls.

Textures and intensity.

Cautious approaches ensure safety at all times.

It gets its name for this reason, the blue forest.

A common technique of reaching for pods and branches of Albida trees.

Always important to hold your nerve.

A family of elephants move through the dry Ruckomechi River.

Close up textures of an elephants ear.

Giants are present in these forests.

A well known elephant bull reaching for the higher branches.

Tusks that are in need of protection.

Quintessential Africa.

A large bull feeding in the marshland in the late afternoon.

2 young bulls tussle for dominance.

By canoe, it is easy to approach and photograph these bulls as they cross the Zambezi.

Drifting past, without the slightest sound.

The Zambian mountain range adds huge depth to every scene on the river.

A big bull after fully submerging himself whilst crossing the river.

Low angles of some mischievous elephants in camp.

The egrets make for some interesting additions to each image.

2 young bulls crossing a channel to the Zambian side of the river.

4 feet deep, jostling for their rights as growing bulls.

Trunk to tail, they wade through he fast flowing waters of the mighty Zambezi.

Thank you to our amazing guests who made the journey with me to Mana Pools this year. We were shown a secret side of Africa that not many are fortunate to witness. From the comfort of a vehicle, an intimate moment on foot or drifting down the Zambezi in a canoe, each moment was one to cherish.

Planning a safari to Africa? Get in touch with us.

Written and Photographed by: Mike Sutherland

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