You never forget shooting your first elephant. Ours was a huge bull with magnificent tusks that emerged unexpectedly from dense bush and was suddenly trunk to bumper with our vehicle. We weren't even in a game park at the time - in northern Zimbabwe big game doesn't respect boundaries. The massive tusker strolled nonchalantly by as we scrambled for lenses wide enough, hands trembling with excitement. That was many moons ago, but the thrill of such close encounters hasn't diminished a jot.
At this time of year, when everyone's thinking about travel plans for the months ahead, it's no surprise that an African safari tops the wish list of many wildlife photographers. But with so many decisions to make, planning a big trip like this can be daunting. Don't worry. We've had lots of practice at it, so sit back and start looking forward to the trip of a lifetime.
Where to go
Africa boasts an incredible array of habitats and biodiversity so you need to be sure from the start exactly what sort of safari experience you want. Do you want to visit 'honeypot' reserves for classic images you've always dreamed of, or are you prepared to break new ground and try less-travelled roads for the chance of something a little different? Would a mix of the two, for example the high profile Maasai Mara with Kenya's less well-known Laikipia wilderness region, provide a taste of both worlds?