In the first of a three-part blog, German photographer and filmmaker Christoph Tänzer tells us about his 2500km-long journey through Africa’s mighty Kalahari Desert, following in the footsteps of David Livingstone. All photos by Christoph Tänzer.
My childhood was strongly influenced by books about adventurers and explorers, as well as by the German wildlife filmmaker Heinz Sielmann and the German zoologist Bernhard Grzimek. It is no surprise that my photography and filming would sooner or later take me to one of the most incredible continents on Earth: Africa. Every time I visit this amazing continent, the magic of its varied landscapes, its people and, of course, its extraordinary wildlife, takes over my heart.
The inspiration for my photography and filming projects usually comes in different ways. The inspiration for my latest project ‘Xploreparadise: The Livingstone Trails’, came when I started reading Dr David Livingstone’s records about his African explorations.
Livingstone was a Scottish missionary, explorer and anti-slavery crusader – a man who dedicated his life to the exploration of Africa, not for the fame but for a greater purpose. Fascinated by his legacy, I decided to follow in his footsteps; and after seven months’ planning, I started a 2500km journey with my Botswanan friend and guide, Lucky Garenamotse.
Equipped with 80kg of camera gear, we traveled from the Central Kalahari to the Makgadikgadi saltpans further east. We went along the shores of Lake Ngami, one of Livingstone’s great discoveries, and passed the Tsodilo Hills, which first appeared on a map in 1857, after he explored the area from 1849-56. We ended our trip in the Zambian city of Livingstone, named after the great man himself.
During our journey, my friend Lucky and I experienced some amazing encounters and met some incredible people. I will elaborate on these in my second blog, when I will also describe the magic of the Kalahari Desert itself. You will also learn how we handled a leopard in the camp at night and find out some interesting facts about the calls of meerkats. That’s it for now!