AUGUST 28 - SEPTEMBER 7, 2023
1 MORE SEAT LEFT!
I'm incredibly stoked to launch a brand-new photography expedition to one of the most special corners of Africa: Zambia! A journey that takes you back in time, to the nostalgic essentials of a true African safari. An expedition like no other, with a wide variety of vehicle safaris, walking safaris, canoe safaris and boat safaris. Get ready for a wild adventure!
Scroll down to read the full itinerary. All images you see below are taken on previous visits to the very same 3 camps.
CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR THE EXPEDITION
Zambia truly is one of the last remaining unspoiled safari destinations. A place that many people describe as Africa of 10-15 years ago. For this expedition, I am collaborating with Chiawa Safaris, an award-winning collection of Safari Camps.
Last year, in 2021, I ventured on a 18-day long trip with them to South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi and I was so mind-blown that I decided to repeat that very same itinerary, but this time offering the opportunity for 6 people to join me and to share this incredible experience that is Zambia.
During this trip we will explore the bush not only with vehicles but even more so on boats, in canoes and on foot. Because Zambia is particularly known for walking safaris - one of the most incredible and honest interactions you can have with wild animals - this is an expedition like no other.
We kick-off with Lower Zambezi National Park and visit Old Mondoro as well as the iconic Chiawa Camp. After that we transfer to South Luangwa National Park where we will stay at Puku Ridge Lodge. We will stay in each camp for 3 nights, working with some of the best guides in the industry since Chiawa has been awarded ‘best guiding team in Africa’ multiple times. For a period of 10 nights, we will emerge ourselves in one of the most unique ecosystems in the world and experience some of Africa’s wildest flora and fauna. And all of that, in the best possible season, the end of the dry season, which makes for spectacular game viewing.
The expedition starts on August 28, 2023 in Lusaka. With everyone traveling towards Zambia from different directions, the first day is all about landing and acclimatising. We are spending the first night at Protea Towers, a Marriott hotel in the capital city Lusaka. The next morning our adventure starts!
Early in the morning of August 29 we travel to the domestic Airport where we will board out flight to Lower Zambezi National Park. After a short flight of only 35 minutes, we will be picked up from Jeki Airstrip by vehicle transfer and make our way to the first camp, Old Mondoro.
Old Mondoro has been hands down the most intimate bush experience I had in all my years in Africa. It’s a small camp consisting of only 5 chalets and the concept is simple - to provide guests with an authentic and unedited Zambian safari, providing a “back to the bush” atmosphere that centralizes on the wildlife and wilderness experience. We will be completely disconnected from the internet for the next 3 nights and experience some of the most incredible wildlife encounters on the planet. Wild animals are part of the camp and part of our daily routine.
Elephants are literally residing inside the camp, under the canopy of winterthorn trees on the banks of the Zambezi River. Big cat sightings (some of the most prolific leopard sightings to be had in Africa) are very common as well, with the magic of the water providing island-hopping buffalo and elephants at your doorstep, as well as an extreme concentration of hippo. “Mondoro” in Goba language means Lion. The camp name honours a mythical white lion that used to prowl nearby – although “Old Mondoro” is long gone, his descendants still roam the wilderness of the Lower Zambezi, wild and free.
The 5 chalets are constructed of reed and canvas, each with a beautiful and comfortable shaded deck that overlooks the Zambezi River. Each room has an en-suite bathroom with hot and cold water during the day as well as the night, an outdoor shower and even a bath tub that overlooks the river. The area is particularly know for walking safari’s as well as water based activity and of course we will experience both, under the guidance of some of Africa’s best guides.
The reason I picked September to be our month, is because it’s the end of the dry season. It will be hot which means animals come to drink at the last remaining waterholes and concentrate around the river. It’s the best month of the year to visit Lower Zambezi, and given the fact that our camp is situated right at the Zambezi banks, the animals will literally be everywhere you look.
On the morning of Day 5 we get picked up at Old Mondoro by boat and transfer via water to our second camp, called Chiawa Camp. After staying in a ground-level bush camp for 3 nights, we now switch to Chiawa Safari’s flagship luxury camp. An award-wininig camp that combines the best of two worlds; first-class service and top-notch luxury accommodation as well as some of the most exceptional game viewing in the world.
The camp is consisting of 9 spacious and luxurious tents and each tent is equipped with an ensuite bathroom. All tents are covered by big thatched roofs which ensures for cool mid-days in the blazing Zambian heat. A wonderful place to relax in between game drives and activities.
During our stay at Chiawa Camp we will experience a totally different side of Lower Zambezi National Park then Old Mondoro. Even though both camps are only 1,5 hours apart, the vegetation is completely different which makes again for unique photographic opportunities. During long days in the bush and on the water, we will come across lions, leopards, wild dogs and large elephant herds, but also spend up and close time with buffalo’s, hippo’s, antelope, crocodiles, serval, an amazing array of birds and many more amazing species.
During sunrise the low light pours across the floodplains, igniting the tops of the winterthorn glades where elephants are feeding on fallen seedpods (better known as elephant cookies). The area around our camp is the perfect hunting ground for lions, leopards and wild dogs; but above all this timeless valley is a land of giants, of towering, ancient trees and the elephant herds that find sanctuary beneath their dappled shade.
On the morning of Day 9 we get transferred by boat and later by car to Jeki Airstrip again, where we will board our flight to South Luangwa National Park, our second destination of the trip. It will be tough leaving this magical place behind but in front of us lies another top-notch Zambian safari destination.
After arrival we will be picked up from the airstrip and transferred to Puku Ridge, a newly renovated lodge in the middle of South Luangwa National Park, build on a ridge and overlooking a private waterhole and private floodplain.
The South Luangwa is 9,050 square kilometres and is colloquially referred to as the “Valley of the Leopard” due to such a high density of this elusive African animal being found in the park. Both day and night sightings are waiting for you! While modest in size, the South Luangwa is still largely uninhabited and unexplored, providing guests with a remote and private feel. The area is arguably home to Africa’s best bush walks exploring the valley on foot and even with the likely possibility of encountering some very rare African wild dogs.
For 3 nights we will explore this exciting ecosystem. In many ways it is very different from Lower Zambezi, but both areas have 1 thing in common, wildlife is abundant. Each of the 8 luxury safari tents are set on an elevated ridge overlooking woodlands and plains full of wildlife. Every room has a multi-level veranda with a plunge pool plus a towering star bed for nights under the vast African sky.
On the morning of Day 11, on September 7, we will board our plane back to Lusaka and the trip comes to an end. We will arrive in Lusaka around mid-day so you can connect on your flight home that same night.
1 x night at Marriott Protea Towers in Lusaka based on B&B
3 x nights at Old Mondoro Camp
3 x nights at Chiawa Camp
3 x nights at Puku Ridge Lodge
All accommodation based on twin / double sharing
All domestic airport transfers
All domestic flight tickets
Full board in all 3 camps incl all meals, wines & spirits
Entrance fees to the National Parks
All game drives
Photographic lectures & image review sessions
1-on-1 tuition in the field
All activities: walking safaris, canoe safaris, boat safaris, night safaris
International flight tickets
Travel & cancellation insurance
Tips & gratuities for staff
PCR testing and visa
Above you see an image of the October 2022 Kenya Expedition group! We had such a blast on the Amboseli lake-bed as well as in Mara North. After the expedition, I asked each participant to write a short testimonial about this trip and what it did to them. You can read their comments below.
Sasha (USA) - I just got back from a life changing expedition with Pie in Kenya, and literally had the time of my life. The thoughtful care and effort Pie puts into planning these trips was evident every day, and it was clear he has spent years building meaningful relationships with everyone involved in Africa. The Kenyan people were kind and genuine beyond words and truly added to the overall experience. I felt safe and taken care of the entire trip. I made tons of new friends with fellow photographers, witnessed endless sightings of incredible wildlife and landscapes, ate some of the best food of my life, and walked away feeling inspired, full of emotion, and ready to take my business to the next chapter. Throughout the trip, Pie shared his knowledge and expertise whenever he could - during workshops, meals, even during jeep drives! The connections made during our time together became apparent during our goodbye’s, especially when the tears started flowing… haha. Overall, it was unbelievable how much education, life experiences, and joy were packed into 10 long days. It’s an investment for sure, but also the trip of a lifetime, and one that everyone should experience!
Michelle (USA) - Where to begin, Pie’s expedition was a trip of a lifetime! One that will have me buzzing for a long, long time. Amboseli and the Masai Mara are two very unique and magical places that stole my heart from the beginning but what was extra special was the amount of knowledge I took home from hours upon hours of being in the bush and learning from Pie. To add to that, the lodges were absolutely incredible as was the heaps of delicious food we had at every meal. I had tears in my eyes on the final day knowing I was leaving such a special country and even more special group of people that came together from all over the world to learn about photography and be immersed in the African bush for 10 days.
Tobias (United Kingdom) - This is the third time I have been on a trip with Pie and every trip seems to get better and better. It’s more than just a photography trip, you almost seem part of a family. The relationships Pie builds with the people in his groups is what really makes these trips so special. The wildlife is mind blowing and Pie works with the best guides that do everything they can to get you in to the best positions for photography. This specific trip opened my eyes more than ever to the challenges that wildlife and humans face in Africa during climate change and droughts, and witnessing this first hand has had a huge impact on me personally. I can’t thank Pie enough for making a trip like this possible and I also can’t thank everyone who was there enough for making it so unforgettable.
Noortje (South Africa) - This Kenya expedition was about so much more than just taking photos. It gave us an insight into Pie’s adventurous spirit and way of living, his view on the planet, our place on it and how we coexist with the natural world. Understanding that is what ultimately results in taking great images and we certainly achieved that! It was a beautiful and wild adventure, and Pie’s enthusiasm, commitment and honesty made the trip unforgettable! Thank you for your knowledge, the laughs, the chases, the fantastic food (!) and all the in-between moments!
Yash (India) - I mean it when I say that this trip to Africa has had a huge effect on who I am, and I mean it in the most positive way possible. I came thinking only about photography, but left with an African experience so raw and so moving. My eyes opened to incredible stories of the people and wildlife, which I attempted to capture with my camera under the guidance and teachings from Pie. And last but not least, and which was totally unexpected, but I left with a new found group of incredible people that I consider as one of my closest friends.
Nathalie (Netherlands) - This was definitely a once in a lifetime trip! It was an incredible experience to hitch a ride on Pie’s passion and energy. It was a wonderful group, with a great variety in personalities and background, which made the expedition even more special. Every little detail was right! I dare to say it was a dream which unfortunately I have to wake up from now, but I’ll carry it with me the rest of my life.
Capucine (France) - A trip of lifetime, this is what was promised and the dream became a reality! I had an amazing time in the bush with the best group of people. Amboseli and Masai Mara blew my mind with the abundance of wildlife. Going from shooting unbelievable scenes to having the most delicious food in the camp has been a real happiness bubble for 10 days! Very inspiring workshops as well with Pie who definitely made this trip very special. Also, lots of surprises along the trip, which I won’t share here, which made it unforgettable!
05.00 – 05.30 wake up + coffee/tea
05.30 – 09.00 photography in the field with focus on soft morning light
09.00 – 09.30 bush breakfast or packed breakfast
09.00 – 11.00 continue photography in the field focusing on B&W photography
11.00 – 13.00 lunch in camp + lectures by Pie
13.00 – 15.00 rest, edit, back-up
15.00 – 18.00 photography in the field with focus on soft afternoon light
18.00 – 19.30 optional night drive
20.00 – 21.30 campfire drinks & dinner
21.30 off to bed to rest for another day of adventures in the bush
We are very flexible when it comes to planning our days. Usually, we leave each day with a packed breakfast, which allows us to stay out in the field all morning. If the conditions and sightings are good, we can even decide having lunch in the field to maximize our time with wildlife. We also carry our own sundowner drinks each afternoon, which gives us full flexibility.
As you can see in the planning, at lunch time I will host several lectures. Topics can be workflow, post-production, animal behaviour, composition, light, elephant conservation, how to find your voice as an artist, social media, equipment, and so on. In between activities there’s also room for 1-on-1 tuition about any of the above topics or whatever comes to mind.
In both lodges we will use Toyota Land Cruisers that are specially modified for photography. On board you will find bean bags, blankets, a fridge with ice-cold drinks and 220 volt electricity sockets for charging. There will be a maximum of 3 people sitting in the back giving each participant enough space to move around. I will be sitting in the front, next to the driver and alternate between both vehicles. A rotating scheme will make sure everyone gets to spend an equal amount of time in my direct presence. Working with the right people is everything. Therefore, I carefully selected the best possible naturalists/guides that will lead us on this expedition. As a result, we will work with some of the best people in the industry, award-winning guiding teams in all 3 camps.
Nope, not at all. Everybody is welcome. Beginners and professionals. In fact, a diverse group always makes up for a lot of fun, because the main idea of these expeditions is all about interaction and learning from each other. I’m more than happy to explain you the basics of how to use your camera, but we can also have a deeper conversation about how to grow your personal brand as a visual artist, or how to find your voice. So please don’t hesitate if you have never used a camera before, I’m there to help.
As soon as you have confirmed your booking, we will share an extensive list of recommended gear items that you would need for this expedition. However, don’t stress, any camera will work, it all depends on how you use it. We offer a custom advise for every level, from amateurs and beginners to full professional photographers.
In the past 3 years I have spent more than 45 weeks in Africa spread across Kenya, Zambia and Botswana. This has generated an in-detail understanding of seasonality, geography, animal behavior, photographic opportunities, community living and cultural aspects, and of course wildlife conservation. This combined with 10+ years of experience in photographic story-telling, makes this trip a unique opportunity to learn. The entire itinerary is crafted around the theme of story-telling, which means I deliberately chose certain areas, camps and guides to work with. We will maximise time in the field and won’t be restricted by gate opening hours. We work with an award-winning guiding team in all 3 camps on this trip. I will be hosting lectures and there’s room for 1-on-1 tuition as well. It’s a trip that’s centered around teaching you how to tell meaningful stories about the wild and you will go home with an incredible series of images!
For more information about Terms & Conditions click here.
Of course. We will send you a full briefing before the trip on which steps you need to take in order to travel according to local and international Covid laws. Please be aware that many African countries, in addition to a negative PCR result, also requires a double vaccination in order to enter the country.
Pie Aerts is a Dutch documentary and wildlife photographer with a sincere interest in human/wildlife coexistence stories. Through his lens, he examines the intricate relationship between animals, humans and nature and, as we become increasingly distant from each other and ourselves, he uses photography to search for the cause of this disconnect. He’s the founder of Prints for Wildlife, a fundraising platform that since its inception in 2020 has generated 2.1mio dollars for conservation and believes art can be an incredibly powerful tool to restore the disconnect. Pie also serves as Canon EMEA Ambassador, Gitzo Ambassador and Hahnemuhle Ambassador.
CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR THE EXPEDITION