Pat and Roger de la Harpe are two of the most enduring professionals in African wildlife photography, and undoubtedly two of the nicest. One of their more recent works focussed on Wild Dogs (find out more about their beautiful book here) and, a few years ago, I was lucky enough to spend a few days with them at Madikwe Game Reserve, where many of their photos were taken.
In fact, I was luckier than that, because the weekend was actually a photography workshop, led by Roger. Not only that, but Roger let me borrow his brand-new Nikon 600mm lens (a beast, which I soon had to abandon due to lack of upper-body strength). And, on our very first game drive, we got to spend the last golden hour of daylight with a frisky, happy pack of wild dogs.
This was a wildlife photo opportunity that indisputably ranks among my top five in eight years of African safari travel: never before or since have I had such a great sighting of wild dogs. My only regrets were that I hadn’t had time to familiarise myself with the 600mm lens (or do weight training), and that this fantastic sighting came just before our excellent and informative photography workshops with Roger.
Nevertheless, looking at these photos makes me happy. That these beautiful painted dogs are still alive and running around in the sunshine has to count as a Jolly Good Thing, and that I got to see them do so makes me a Jolly Lucky Thing.
P.S. Great news! I just looked on Roger and Pat’s website and saw that they’re doing one of their Madikwe photo safaris in September 2016 – check it out :)