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Field Notes
Frans Lanting
Courtesy of Frans Lanting
Frans Lanting

What was your best experience during this assignment?

I found it amazing that such a complete ecosystem still exists by itself. After all my travels to Africa and other places, it was great to realize I had overlooked the Luangwa Valley. It is one of the last truly wild environments in Africa.

What was your worst experience during this assignment?

The nuptial flight of termites marks the beginning of the wet season in the Luangwa Valley. But you can never predict when or where it will happen. I had tried to photograph it before while on assignment in Botswana and East Africa, and have never been able to. So I was very keen to cover it this time but, again, the termites eluded me. I saw them fly, but never in the numbers I wanted to see. Then, on the last night in Lusaka, when my photo equipment was packed to be taken out of the country the next day, the termites swarmed in the city by the millions.

What was the quirkiest experience during this assignment?

Aardvarks are very elusive creatures, so I set up camera traps at burrows in hopes of capturing a photo. But I was surprised to discover that aardvarks aren't the only animals that use the burrows. When they move out, warthogs, porcupines, even hyenas and pythons move in.