By Claudio Bacinello

International Expeditions' guests Claudio and Teresa Bacinello share stories and photos from their safari to Southern Africa.

So, here we are, on our fourth trip with IE and the furthest from home Terry and I have ever been. Following stops in London, Johannesburg and an overnight stay near Victoria Falls in Zambia, we’ve arrived at Chobe Savannah Lodge on the bank of the Chobe River in Namibia.

The air here is different. It’s clean, with a pleasant dry, woody scent. We like it. Our hosts, Brett and Roxanne welcome us like family, and, as we enjoy a cool drink, Roxanne points out a small group of elephants grazing across the river, in Botswana. She says the herd is moving to the river for water and we should see quite a few more the next day.

Next morning, we see that her prediction has come true. There are literally hundreds of elephants grazing and drinking along the river. Over the next two days, our river excursions allow us to observe the elephant’s behavior at close range and provide the opportunity for some spectacular photographs. In addition to elephants, we also see a large troop of baboons, impala, buffalo, crocodiles and hippos. I recall how utterly surreal it seemed as we sat in our boat with the engine off and watched and photographed these changing scenes as they unfolded before us. Who knew that a herd of elephants could be so quiet and that, normally cautious baboons and impala would go about their business as if we weren’t there. Terry and I split our photographic assignments for best coverage, with her using her compact camera for larger scenes and groups and me using my SLR for tighter groupings, individual shots and small details.

Two days and a thousand or so photos later, it’s time to move on.

Stay tuned for more stories and Claudio's photo tips coming soon. You can see more of Claudio's images from his Southern Africa Safari on the IE flickr page.