A cheetah in a tree? Lion cubs posing atop their mom? Our travels in 2022 provided lots of great photographic opportunities. If 2020 and 2021 were years of patience and endurance, 2022 was a year of reconnection and resurgence. A year that saw our guests journey to a variety of African countries and cities. While there, they...
Explored the channels of the Okavango Delta by canoe in Botswana
Slept out under the stars of the South African sky
Trudged through miles of mud to reach Dian Fossey’s former research station at the foothills of Rwanda’s Bisoke Volcano
Tracked critically endangered rhinos on foot in Namibia
Enjoyed a picnic on a remote, private island in Mozambique
Explored the Great Rift Valley on foot with a Maasai naturalist, learning about their ancestral land
Each family, couple, or solo traveler came back telling stories of how their life had been changed by their trip. They recounted the guides that taught them how to differentiate a lion track from a hyena track, how they watched elephants playing in the river for hours from the deck of their room, how an art tour in Cape Town opened their eyes to the beauty and struggle in the country’s history and so much more.
Chatting with guests after their return home and hearing how impactful their time in Africa was, reaffirmed for Jomi and I why we do what we do. Sharing Africa’s beauty with people and watching them fall in love with the continent and get passionate about protecting its wilderness is what motivated us to start Trunks & Tracks back in 2018.
In 2022, we privately guided a number of trips and visited new lodges in order to expand our expertise of the areas and their top properties. Hadley visited new lodges in Kenya and South Africa while Jomi explored new parts of Namibia and got the fantastic opportunity to spend the winter guiding in Antarctica (more info coming on his experience soon). We've rounded up some of our top photos from our travels in 2022...
Above: We watched three cheetah cubs playing with their mom on the open plains of the Maasai Mara for close to two hours. At one point, mom got up and walked a distance away. As if that was the cue for mischief to commence, one cub climbed up into a nearby tree. It stopped and perched in the fork of the tree about 15 feet off the ground, surveyed its surroundings (seemingly admiring the feat - cheetahs don't have retractable claws, so climbing trees is not easy for them), and stared right down my lens. ©Hadley Pierce, Maasai Mara, Kenya
Above: What goes up....©Hadley Pierce, Maasai Mara, Kenya
Above: a heard of elephants grazing below the Oloololo Escarpment in the Maasai Mara. One of my favorite things about this area is the contrast that the escarpment provides in the background of photos.
©Hadley Pierce, Maasai Mara, Kenya
Above: While privately guiding a trip in Botswana we came upon the carcass on a juvenile elephant. The carcass displayed no signs of visible injury, so the cause of death was something of a mystery. Although the stench was overwhelming, the wildlife interactions at the carcass were endlessly interesting and provided lots of great photo opportunities. Our guests watched as three species of vulture, hyenas, and lions came to feed. Close to 100 squabbling white-backed fought to earn a spot where they could reach the carcass. After the dust settled from the most recent scrap, one vulture surfaced with a mouth full of down feathers, plucked from another vulture. ©Hadley Pierce, Linyanti, Botswana
Above: With black rhinos listed as critically endangered by the IUCN (and a population of just over 6,000 remaining in the wild), getting to see these animals in the wild is always such a treat. This individual kept its distance, but looked in our direction (likely smelling and hearing the vehicle) for quite some time, allowing for us to get some photos; but also allowing us time to put down our cameras, pick up our binos, and soak up the magic that is getting to spend time with a black rhino in the wild. ©Hadley Pierce, Maasai Mara, Kenya
Above: While the image quality might not be the sharpest (Jomi's wifi on the ship in Antarctica isn't strong enough to send big file sizes so this was sent via WhatsApp), the image content is what makes it so special! Jomi took this photo on one of his recent landings in South Georgia (an island off the coast of Antarctica). The wildlife viewing here is exceptional with thousands of King Penguins, Elephant Seals and Cape Fur Seals calling the island's shore home. ©Jomi Krobb, South Georgia Island
Above: It takes time for elephant calves to figure out how to use their trunks. This youngster was having lots of fun playing with its trunk--twirling it around in circles as it moved its head, tapping it on the ground and stretching it out in every direction. ©Hadley Pierce, Okavango Delta, Botswana
Above: We came across these two small lion cubs nursing from their mom in the Maasai Mara. Trying to get some peace, the exhausted Mom continued to roll away from the feeding cubs onto her other side. Not to be deterred, the cubs would climb over mom's tummy and slide down onto her other side to resume nursing. We watched them do this over and over again and got this shot as they stopped mid climb to stare curiously at the game viewer. ©Hadley Pierce, Maasai Mara, Kenya
Above: One of the many reasons we love going to Tswalu in South Africa's Kalahari is that you have the chance to see unique, desert-adapted animals like brown hyena (with some luck on your side). Although brown hyena are typically nocturnal, we saw this individual in the early afternoon. One of the benefits of a winter safari is that the cooler daytime temperatures allow typically nocturnal predators to be active for longer during the day. This individual walked down the road towards us, periodically pausing to stare at us with curiosity. ©Hadley Pierce, Kalahari Desert, South Africa
Above: After an overcast morning, and some midday showers, the clouds finally parted around 4:30 pm to give us some gorgeous, clear-aired, golden hour light. I felt like the light showed off this kudu bull in all his majesty. ©Hadley Pierce, Okavango Delta, Botswana
Above: A contemplative young baboon, looks out onto the Linyanti Channel in Botswana. ©Hadley Pierce, Linyanti, Botswana
Above: Desert sunsets are phenomenal. Something about the way the color of the sun is reflected in the sand and the whole desert changes color around you. We headed up to the crest of a dune at Tswalu to catch the sunset, only to find a big sable bull had beat us to our spot! ©Hadley Pierce, Kalahari Desert, South Africa
Above: We spotted this young lion from a far distance away (always very satisfying when the lion colored rock in the distance does in fact turn out to be a lion). The pride had found a perfect vantage point looking out over the plain below (dotted with giraffe, zebra, and Thomson’s gazelle). ©Hadley Pierce, Maasai Mara, Kenya
Above: A special moment Jomi captured between an Adelie Penguin and its hatching chick. ©Jomi Krobb, Antarctic Peninsula
Above: Serval cats typically hunt rodents and birds in tall grass where they blend in and are nearly impossible to see. We were lucky to find this one close to the road where we could get some quick photos before it walked into the taller grass, slunk down, and disappeared altogether. ©Hadley Pierce, Maasai Mara, Kenya
Above: This young buffalo was very interested in our vehicle and gave us a good stare down before it resumed grazing. I loved the way its teeth peaked out through its lips – it reminded me a bit of Ferdinand the Bull. ©Hadley Pierce, Maasai Mara, Kenya
Above: A blue wildebeest running through the tall grass as a winter breeze blows through his tail ©Hadley Pierce, Okavango Delta, Botswana
Above: Two red lechwe locked horns in a floodplain in the Okavango Delta. We love returning to places at different times of year to see how the landscape changes – this large floodplain had been bone dry when we were last at Vumbura Plains Camp in October. By June, the flood waters had completely filled the area with water. ©Hadley Pierce, Okavango Delta, Botswana
Above: While the sizable migratory herds of wildebeest and zebra had largely returned to the Serengeti, hundreds remained behind, dotting the plains of the Mara. ©Hadley Pierce, Maasai Mara, Kenya
Above: These baboons were all seated on a log looking away from me. The one on the far right eventually relaxed its head, resting it on the baboon in front. I loved capturing what I felt was a sense of intimacy and family as the two large females nursed their youngsters on their chests and supported the juvenile at their back. ©Hadley Pierce, Linyanti, Botswana
Above: An elephant calf with flexed 'fingers' at the end of its trunk. ©Hadley Pierce, Maasai Mara, Kenya
Above: To understand how special this photo is you need to either: a) be a birder or b) keep reading. A Narina Trogon (pictured) is an incredibly colorful forest bird, aptly described by e-bird as "A spectacular, mostly iridescent-metallic-green bird, with a scarlet belly, broad yellow bill, and white under tail." They can only be found in the canopies of riverine and lowland forest, making them a notoriously hard bird to find. On our last day at Angama Mara, we went on a bird walk with the Maasai Naturalist, Patrick, who told us he heard Narina Trogons call regularly from the forest beside the river nearby. As we walked, we heard a pair calling (just hearing it and knowing it was close by was a huge thrill!). We followed the calls and eventually Patrick spotted one sitting on a low branch. Such a special moment – it’s rare to just see, let alone get a photo! ©Hadley Pierce, Maasai Mara, Kenya
Start planning your safari...
If you are interested in booking a trip to any of these destinations or want to learn more about visiting a different area, feel free to reach out to Hadley at Hadley(at)Trunksandtracks.com for a quote or some more information!
What our guests are saying...
"We had a wonderful experience with Trunks & Tracks. This was our first safari and it exceeded my expectations. Hadley made sure we had all the information we needed to be fully prepared for our trip. Our trip was originally booked for summer of 2020, and Hadley handled all the changes as we rebooked for 2021, and then had to postpone again until 2022. Our itinerary was perfect, and the transfers went seamlessly. We visited two safari camps in Botswana and both were outstanding. The driver/guide that Hadley provided for us in Cape Town was highly knowledgeable and very accommodating. All in all, it was a memorable trip and we were sad to see it end. I hope to book another trip to Africa with Trunks and Tracks in the future."
-Lydia L. (Maine, USA)
Traveled to Botswana and South Africa