Best of the Best - Top Ten Travel Photos From Each Continent: Africa
Just the mention of the name Africa conjures thoughts of mystery and untamed nature, which, incidentally, are available here in abundance. It is also a stunning subject for erstwhile photographers, due to the cultural, natural and historical variety that permeates every corner of this vast and mostly-undeveloped continent. Here are my own top ten photos gleaned from 3 separate trips to this fascinating and endearing part of the world. Once again, I'll be working my way North to South, only this time I'll veer a bit to the east to include the Seychelles archipelago, lying about a thousand miles off the African coastline.
1) Pyramids of Giza, Egypt
So technically, I didn't take this photograph - that credit goes to my Dad. In October 1995 when this photo was taken, I was just a 20 year old punk with limited international travel experience, and another decade to go before smart phones and digital photography would become the norm. What I like best about this shot is that there's no way to tell what year it is - such is the constancy of these ancient landmarks. This same exact scene has played out thousands of times both before and after my own visit there.
2) Cheetah Experience, Livingstone, Zambia
Normally a selfie wouldn't make it into my Top 10 photos list, but with such a lovely companion by my side, how could it not? Being up close and very personal with a cheetah was a bucket list experience for me back in August of 2014 (for more info read my blog post about it), and I console myself by reasoning that the cheetah might be prettier, faster and have more hair than I do, but at least I have opposable thumbs.
3) Victoria Falls - Seen from the Zambia Side
Too big to fit into one shot, this segment of Victoria Falls - one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World - was truly awe-inspiring. Seen from Knife Edge Island in September 2014, at the boundary between Zimbabwe and Zambia, the incessant spray creates an ever changing light show of wavering refraction as the sun moves across the sky.
4) Sunset on the Zambezi River, Zimbabwe
African sunsets are the stuff of legends. All that dust in the air makes for breathtaking vistas as the sun goes down (or up if you're that kind of person). Traditionally celebrated by drinking a cocktail (or sundowner), it's as good a time as any to pause and reflect on the stunning panorama that marks the end of another day in the bush, as it did for mine in August of 2014.
5) Grazing Giraffe, Chobe National Park, Botswana
Seeing these gentle giants are a guaranteed thrill on an African game drive, which rang true for me in August of 2014. Despite their very awkward appearance, these beauties manage to move around quite gracefully, though they're often just content to stand next to a tree and graze - which makes taking pictures of them a lot easier.
6) Kudu, Chobe River, Botswana
Receiving my vote for "Best Antlers Ever" this wary kudu along the banks of Botswana's Chobe River in August 2014 showcases the beauty and majesty that exists even among the rank and file of African wildlife.
7) Baby Elephant, Klaserie Reserve, South Africa
In my book, the only thing cuter than an elephant, is a baby elephant. I'll never forget my first encounter with them in the wild in March of 2009. Out of the bush an entire herd silently emerged, and within minutes we were surrounded by a massive group of giants who were quite protective of this little cutie pictured here.
7) Lazy Lions, Timbavati Reserve, South Africa
With all the traits of your average housecat, it's easy to lose sight of just how dangerous these 400 pound cats can be. Still, these boys, pictured in March 2009, would rather just sleep if it weren't for all those pesky tourists and their cameras.
8) Blyde River Canyon, South Africa
Like a smaller, greener version of the Grand Canyon, South Africa's Blyde River Canyon - and its signature rock formation the Three Rondevals - are the showpiece of the appropriately named Panorama Route connecting Johannesburg and the game parks of the Northeast. Naturally I couldn't help but snap off a few pics during my own passage in March of 2009.
9) Souvenirs for Sale, Mpumalanga, South Africa
It's easy to spot The Big 5 at any roadside stand, such as this one pictured in March 2009. African handicrafts range from the cheap to the exquisite, but the care and pride for their natural heritage is readily evident in the work of these native craftspeople.
10) Anse Source D'Argent, La Digue, Seychelles Islands
Voted one of the world's best beaches, this unique gem on the tiny island of La Digue is a showpiece of the Seychelles' signature eroded boulders made famous by screensavers everywhere. While they look great as a screensaver, the surreal landscape gave me the sensation of visiting another planet - a planet with really nice beaches - back in March of 2009.
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