Movie celebrities shouldn’t be the only ones to see their performance rewarded! As it is the season of the Academy Awards, we’re publishing our own selection featuring the Best of the Best of our South Luangwa celebrities!

First of all we’ve chosen the Golden Rhinoceros of Mapungubwe as our mascot, as a fun reference to Oscar. Mapungubwe rhinoThen we created our own poster announcing the Safawards 2014! How cool is that? And we chose 13 categories for awards.

Safawards 2014

But with no further ado – roll the drums…


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The Ebony Forest just South of Kaingo, is one of the most magical places of South Luangwa and rightly deserves the title of best shooting location, as from sunrise to sunset, the light is sensational for photography.(Picture by Jules)

IMG_5728Wouldn’t you agree that those two Mwamba males are simply gorgeous? Best in Style really! Perfect features, beautiful eyeliner and well groomed manes. Lions of South Luangwa do not always develop very large manes as their habitat is very dense, very bushy, and large manes are not always compatible with such environment. Lions with large manes are found in open areas such as Kafue National Park. (Picture by Pat)

IMG_0480-2The award goes to our Wild Dogs. Probably the most original and diverse coat of all African wildlife (although our Thornicroft Giraffes came very close to win the Golden Rhino). Painted Wolfs are found in South Luangwa although they are very elusive. Each dog has unique patterns and is easily identified. (Picture by Meyam)

DSC_4946Sunrise and Sunset provide the best light for photography, and there is no better and most magical light than a breathtaking sunset on the Luangwa River. (Picture by Izzy)

DSC_8376There is not such thing as “Special Effects” in Africa. Visual effects are natural – we thought a gruesome picture of lions fighting for a small share of an impala is a great representation of the harsh reality of life in the bush.¬† It is wild out there! (Picture by Izzy)

DSC_8349This is a direct correlation to the actual Academy Awards, as one of the nominated documentaries had this exact title: The Act of Killing. But the parallel stops there. Here we are not talking about the outrageous act of humans killing each other, but of the natural law of survival. In South Luangwa, the Act of Killing is by far the best story to tell! (Picture by Izzy)

Meyam original (162)In the wild there is no place for scripts imagined by human beings. It is all up to nature. It’s original and the best! (Picture by Meyam)

IMG_3355The award for best performance as actress in a supporting role is without a doubt going to all the lionesses of South Luangwa for their high fertility and remarkable skills as mothers. (Picture by Pat)

IMG_2833-2We gave Elliott the award of Best Actor, but in a Supporting Role  Рas a grown up one-eyed leopard Elliott is still regularly found in the vicinity of his mother Kylie, and usually not to pay her a visit but to steal her kills! We love you though Elliott! (Picture by Pat)

IMG_4814-2By far the most famous elephant at Kaingo, Ed deserved the award of Best Actor in a Leading Role. On this particular occasion featured in the picture, he acted one of his best performances for our guests – laying on the trail and playing silly Ed. (Picture by Pat)

_MG_4286-2Indisputably the award for Best Actress in a Leading Role had to be given to Kylie, our resident leopard at Mwamba, who has this past season again been a fantastic model for our guests. When found at the right time, she can pose and spend hours sitting on the most photogenic log, for our passionate photographers’ delight! Kylie is easily recognized because her left ear is slightly damaged. (Picture by Meyam)

_MG_4233-2And finally we thought that this picture, taken by Meyam, was a tribute not only to South Luangwa, to all our leopards (this is Kylie) but also to Meyam, guide at Kaingo and Mwamba, for his continuously improving photographic skills. Congratulations for the Best Picture award! (Picture by Meyam)

_MG_7882A last tribute, posthumous, will go to all the lion cubs and other babies of the wild who perish in the first weeks or months of their short lives. It is tough being a baby in the wild, even with the best mothers around, sometimes nature rules in very harsh ways.

We hope you have enjoyed our Safawards, and don’t hesitate to share them with your friends!


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  1. Lorraine van der Merwe January 26, 2015 at 7:46 am - Reply

    What a wonderful exhibition of what Mwamba and Kaingo have on the menu!! Congrats to all the photographers and wonderful ‘Actors’! I myself has left a piece of my skin in the bush…amazing place.

  2. Elaine Randolph March 2, 2014 at 8:58 am - Reply

    Great work, Izzy. Love especially the tribute to the babies. They are so dear.

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