In a quest to capture the essence of this unique ecosystem and the remarkable behaviour Botswana's Savute has engendered, internationally-awarded photographer James Gifford embarked upon a project spanning two years, during which he tracked and followed Savute’s inhabitants, sharing their struggles, triumphs and tragedies. His photographs, accompanied by his lyrical and sensitive prose, depict their fascinating, interconnected stories as they strived to survive. The resulting book is incredibly evocative and moving.
Award-winning photographer James Gifford has always been an avid traveller. It was the continent of Africa and its wildlife that captivated him from an early age, beckoning repeatedly until he could eventually call it home. He has spent the past decade living in Botswana on the edge of the world-famous Okavango Delta, photographing wildlife for editorial features, running specialist photographic safaris and conducting commercial photographic and video shoots for luxury safari lodges.
In 2016 James won the Photograph of the Year award in Nature's Best Photography Africa competition and was a finalist in the Big Picture Natural World competition. His work has been published in numerous magazines, including Africa Geographic, BBC Wildlife, Geographical, Travel Africaand The Times. In 2010 he wrote and published the popular handbook Wildlife Photography in Botswana . His images have also featured in a range of other publications, from glossy coffee-table books to ubiquitous best-selling guidebooks.
His fascination with Savute began with the resurgence of the channel, growing with every day he spent there. Before long he realised that its bewildering environment and the incredible tales of its inhabitants would combine to form an enthralling story that the rest of the world deserved to hear, a rare beacon of hope amongst the depressing outlook for the continent's wildlife portrayed with disheartening regularity in the media. With the roof of his vehicle as a bed and a canopy of stars as his ceiling, camping wild in the bush gave him the best opportunity to capture the images he believed would do justice to this remarkable habitat. And, in the two years he devoted to the project, the incredible array of sightings he witnessed is testimony to Savute's status as one of Africa's great wildlife destinations.