Peregrine kicked things off in Africa in 1984 with a 22-day canoe trip down the Zambezi in Zimbabwe. Since then we’ve extended things north and west to go on game drives, trek up mountains, laze on beaches and spend time at incredible community projects like the East Africa Mission Orphanage in Kenya.
Peregrine’s unofficial photographer/curator/historian, Peter Lemon knows a thing or two about this amazing continent. He’s been visiting Africa for 36 years and his incredible photographs have endless stories to tell.
When did you first visit Africa?
My first trip to Africa was an extended overland trip from Johannesburg to Morocco (and then Spain and France to London), way back in 1976. It was, all-up, four and half months in two Bedford four-tonne trucks.
I seriously started going back to Africa in 1988 – a much shorter trip taking a group of five friends to Botswana and Zimbabwe. I was blown away by the wildlife and the photographic opportunities and the skill of our guides. My life changed totally: the Great Addiction had begun.
What keeps you going back?
This self-same addiction to wildlife photography and wildlife encounters, and the fact that every trip throws up something new and different. The endless quest for the perfect photo. The magnificence of the call of a lion nearby at night, the whoop of a hyena, the cry of a jackal. The scenery, the openness, sometimes vast horizons and friends.
What’s one of your top animal encounters?
My first lion sightings in 1988 at Savuti Marsh in Botswana. Around dawn we had just set out from our campsite on a game drive. We were following a clan of about 15 hyenas (in itself spectacular), when suddenly we saw and heard a light aircraft flying in from the south, and dropping in height. The pilot throttled back the engine (one of our group cried out, it’s going to crash), but as it flew over the pilot opened his small window, and threw out a soft drink bottle, which landed nearby before he hit the throttle and climbed away. (A bit like in the film The Gods Must Be Crazy.)
On retrieving the bottle, we found a note scrawled inside, saying that a large pride of lions had taken down a giraffe at a certain spot (known to our guides) about ten kilometres away. We hightailed it to the spot, found the lions (a large pride with cubs), and sat there intrigued for the next couple of hours watching them feed and interact. It was a brilliant sighting, and the means by which it was obtained remain with me as if it was yesterday.
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Make your African dreams come true with a trip to Botswana and South Africa. The 11-day Colours of Africa journey includes Kruger National Park, Victoria Falls and Chobe National Park.
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