ON THE LOWER
Nicole Martina Bradshaw
The international airport at Lusaka is small and functional and the new Chinese-aided terminal was not yet open when we passed through. A six-seater propeller-powered plane, piloted by an over-large but polite South African, flew us 40 mins to Jeki in the Lower Zambezi National Park. Jeki is composed of a landing strip, that is, a corridor of land cleared of shrubs, a radio antenna, one out-building of unknown function, and a second, where the latrines are. We travelled in September, towards the end of the dry season. As soon as the rains do start, the strip turns to mud and Jeki closes. Necessarily.
To arrive at our lodge took a 40-minute over land drive and a similar time speeding up the Zambezi river in a motor launch, dodging the sand banks, hippos and crocodiles. We were drowsily aware that the adventure had already begun as soon as the pilot manoeuvred himself roughly into the cockpit at Lusaka, but once we arrived at the lodge with its vista across the river to distant Zimbabwe and its late afternoon haze, and with the hippo and elephants dotted across the full arc of view, we knew this was the real deal.
Three Days on the Lower Zambezi is a wildlife photography book with a difference. It tells the tale of three companions who found themselves in Zambia to work on a humanitarian project and on their 'way back home' stopped off in the Lower Zambezi National Park for three days for an informal photo safari. Of three companions, two were on their first trip to the African bush, one a skilled enthusiast photographer, the other a beginner. The third companion was a professional photographer but have never worked on wildlife photography.
The book provides lots of information for non expert photographers who might take a similar journey (and encourages them to do so). The book was never planned, suggested as an idea only once the party had returned to Europe. From its pages, the spirit of a relaxed free will and serendipity of chance emerge.