On Safari in Mana Pools, Zimbabwe

The view across the Zambezi, from Goliath Safaris Camp

After the wedding, the bridal party (consisting of the bride and groom, the groomsmen, and the bridesmaids) went to stay in Mana Pools National Park, at the Goliath Safaris Luxury Tented Camp. To my great delight, I was included, and spent a magical few days there.

This camp is unique, in that your personal guide is the legendary, Stretch Ferreira, also known as the "Elephant Whisperer". While most safari guides drive their clientele around to view game from the safety of the vehicle, Stretch specialises in walking safaris, where you get to experience the wildlife up close.

The tents are luxurious, each with its own shower room

There is also an area for guests to relax, and gaze out over the stunning view

This is not a permanent camp. Every year, the camp is taken down before the rainy season (usually at the end of October), and reconstructed again in May of the following year, although always on the same stretch of bank overlooking the Zambezi.

Every morning, we left early to look for game, sometimes they found us first!

Stretch led us really close up to this elephant, one he has known for 25 years

Posing to have your photo taken with an elephant in the wild, is quite scary!

We also walked up to lion...

Stretch persuaded us that if we don't threaten them in any way, they won't want to hurt us!

I found it rather intimidating when a pride of lion walked through our camp each night. I could hear then growling, and I was aware that there was only a thin wall of canvas between me and them!

Our group would walk through the bush, closely following Stretch,
 as he followed the animals' tracks.

This buffalo was rather scary too! What do you think? 
Am I being a whimp?

We came across this pack of wild dog

We had been watching the wild dogs for a while, when suddenly a herd of elephant appeared

Without warning, the elephants turned and charged at the dogs. I think it was a bit of
elephant fun, as once the dogs had dispersed, they trundled off again!

Seemingly unconcerned, the dogs wandered back again, and regrouped..

..while the elephants had a good laugh!

The wild dogs leave on a hunt

On another occasion, we watched as the wild dogs set off on a hunt, and then rushed to the vehicles to drive to where Stretch thought they were heading. We must have only taken 5 or 6 minutes to reach the spot, but by then, the dogs had already caught, killed, and eaten a baboon.

Here they are gnawing on the remains...
All that was left was the head of the baboon, and they had
even eaten the brains.

There were beautiful, and tranquil moments too! Not all animals are violent!

One very interesting fact we learned was that impala and baboons have a symbiotic relationship, Whereas the baboons have amazing eyesight, impala have a keen sense of smell, and hearing. They are often seen together, as they warn each other of any predators nearby.

I had such an amazing time at the camp, that I wouldn't hesitate to go back, however scary! I do hope there is a next time!

Elizabeth Coughlan


A Family Wedding in Zimbabwe

Beth and Séan, the Bride and Groom

We were so thrilled to be able to fly to Zimbabwe for the wedding of our nephew, Séan, and his beautiful bride, Beth. The wedding was held at Ryelands, Harare, among the msasa trees. On the invitation, the bride had requested that all guests should only wear shades of cream, and no other colour. Everyone made a special effort to comply, with the result that everything looked amazing!

The groomsmen and the celebrant, waiting for the ceremony to begin

All the guest were seated on bales of hay, as this was truly a bush wedding...

...then the choir began to sing...

...as the bridesmaids, and flower girls, came along the path

Then came the beautiful bride, supported by her father,
an award-winning safari guide, also known as the "Elephant Whisperer"

Beth and Séan made their vows, in front of Mark, the celebrant

As they walked through the lines of guests, everyone threw rose petals over them...

...while a sweet little flower girl peeped out from behind a bridesmaid's dress

Cocktails and snacks were served among the msasa trees, 
while we checked the seating plans, hanging from a branch

The dining tables were set out in a clearing in the woods

As night-time fell, lights strung among the trees gave everything a romantic glow

Then the dancing began, and we all partied well into the night

What a beautiful wedding, and one we will always remember. We were so privileged to be part of this wonderful day.

Elizabeth Coughlan


Photography Trek to Burgazada


Burgazada Waterfront

Just before leaving Istanbul for our new nomadic life, I joined my last trek with our photo club. We visited Burgazada (the Island of Burgaz), one of the Princes Islands, in the Sea of Marmara. This island is a favourite holiday getaway for locals; although few tourist manage to find their way there, preferring to visit the much larger Buyukada, or Big Island.

Burgazada is well-known for its fresh fish

Stray dogs roam the island, and are found everywhere.

Flowers were blooming all over the island, like this purple hibiscus

Photographer at work

We climbed up the island's hills to photograph the locals going about their daily work

Horses roam the island too!

Private cars are not allowed on the island. transport is by way of horse and carriage. It was coming to the end of the summer season, so not so many carriages were needed. Extra horses are put out to grass for the winter, and usually spend their time wandering the island. Unfortunately, they are often chased by the packs of homeless dogs.

The population of the island is mainly Turks with a Greek heritage, 
which explains the existence of the Greek Orthodox churches.

We were fascinated by this sign in a shop window.
You can see our group reflected here.

Beautiful bougainvillea was everywhere!

I caught this reflection in a doorway

The Asian side of Istanbul, from the water

Too soon, our trek was over, and we were headed back to the city. I hope to visit Istanbul, this time as a tourist, in November. I loved belonging to the photo club, and I definitely recommend it for any new resident. You get to see areas of the city that you might never see on your own, and with a group of wonderful friends. I will certainly miss you all!

Elizabeth Coughlan


GEP 2015 Paris Travel Video Expedition

Ah! Paris

What an amazing fun-filled week we had at the Great Escape Publishing Travel Video Expedition in
Paris, France, with experienced travel videographer, Tom Reissmann. We had a value-packed, action-packed full 5 days, and learned so much about the techniques, and business side of travel videos, that we are all set to take that first scary step as travel videographers.

Here is a collection of my clips from that wonderful week in Paris.

Paris, J'adore!

Elizabeth Coughlan

Press Centre

Press Centre
I couldn't resist this one!