mana pools, marlon du toit, photo safari, private guiding, travel africa, wild eye

My Magical Mana Moments

Marlon duToit All Authors, Marlon 1 Comment

Mana Pools is a special place for me.

Few safari destinations today truly deserve to be labelled “unique”. Mana Pools on the other hand is so set apart and different that it re-defines the safari experience.

I would love to share with you six of my most intimate, magical moments, all captured on safari in Mana Pools.

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That light, oh boy that light! I am yet to find another wildlife destination with the innate ability to illuminate the surrounds in the manner Mana does. There’s a tangible richness to it!

This elephant bull slowly moved through the forest canopy, ever edging closer to this ray of sunlight ahead of him. When he finally walked in to the light and heaved his head up in to the branches above, I knew we had captured something so special!

See Mana is not so much about the animal as what it is the environment. It offers the perfect balance of both, the two ingredients melting together as one.

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Have you even encountered a lion away from the safety of a safari vehicle? Have you ever seen what those golden eyes look like when they meet with you, nothing separating beast and prey?

Mana is one of the few places left in Africa where these intimate encounters are possible, and none stands out to me as much as the moment above.

This incredible male lion made eye contact with me from within the dense undergrowth of a Tricelia forest. A magical sliver of sunlight illuminated the beast with, only for a moment. That moment though felt like  minutes, our eyes seemingly locked. I will never forget it, nor will my guests who were by my side.

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I will never forget the moment above.

This was my first encounter of an elephant heaving itself up on its hind-legs, stretching that trunk high up into the tree above. To think a feat like this is possible for an animal weighing 6-tons, defying all laws of gravity imposed upon his species!

I remember my heart thumping so hard! My hands were shaking and I could only hope that I had dialed the correct settings.

These emotions are incredible, you feel alive in a way you never knew possible! To see something like this in real life is life-changing.

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The sight of this African wild dog will always stay with me. It will be a wildlife sighting that I will always remember as one of my favorites!

I lay flat on my belly in a sandy riverbed watching the pack play. All of a sudden this male, likely the alpha male, made his approach directly towards me. I have been on foot with dogs before I felt no fear. I felt at one with him, I felt as is his eyes pierced right through me.

He came to within 4 meters of where I lay and just stood there. He growled lowly and menacingly. It was incredible, I felt so alive!

This moment also redefined what wildlife photography meant to me! I want my guests to experience this feeling, I want their lives to be changed in the same way mine was! Such is the power of encounters in Mana Pools.

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Sometimes things just work our perfectly. Often in wildlife photography, timing is everything. This counts not only for a moment of action, but the timing of several factors combining together.

I positioned my guests perfectly for the image above. This Mana bull is well known for rearing on to his hind-legs. I needed him to do so at the very right moment, in the very right position.
The sun was seconds away from setting behind the Zambezi escarpment. The moment was now! I had prepped my guests on all the correct exposure settings and we were ready!

Then it happened, he stood up at the exact right moment! Shutters fired wildly! My guest all nailed it, an incredible moment, so rich in colours, mood and content!

mana pools, marlon du toit, photo safari, private guiding, travel africa, wild eye

Mana Pools is all about those intimate moment that take your breath away. They really do! Each and every encounter is different, and each one impacts you in a different manner.

Through my moments above I am sure you will agree that there’s something so otherwise and special about this enchanted forest?

Just look at the panoramic scene captured above! How much would you not like to see this for yourself?

Thanks so much for your time, look forward to the next one.

About the Author

Marlon duToit

Passion, enthusiasm and an unquenchable thirst to explore and introduce you to our natural world’s wildlife perfectly sums up my ambitions. I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. Through my African adventures I kept my photographic passion alive. Behind a camera aimed at a lion or a leopard is where I am most at home, my heart skipping a beat at the mere thought of it. My intention has never been solely for recognition but for the plight of what’s left of our natural recourses. Using my love and understanding of wildlife I am able to convey to the viewer more than an image or a fleeting moment. I aim to tell a story, to bring that moment alive to you and to capture your heart through it.

Mana Photo Safari - October 2015

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