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Country Visited: Mongolia
This is a bit premature as the Mongolia expedition is not until 2020 however i was fortunate to join Jami on her Mongolia scouting trip in March so want to comment here. Mongolia is a country i’ve been curious about for some time and it far exceeded my expectations. We experienced three different areas and cultures as well as the capital city and surrounds of UlaanBaatar or UB for short. Mongolia is a place of space, vast regions of a once truly great historical empire that stimulate the imagination. The Gobi desert delivers with massive sand dunes, its lunar-type landscapes, features of Flaming Cliffs, Mongolia’s two humped bactrian camels (a surprisingly comfortable ride) and a night sky that never ends. The opportunity to stay in a Ger,.. that’s bucket list accommodation stuff. We also travelled way out west and spent ‘up close and personal’ time staying with and getting to know Kazakh eagle hunters. We rode the same stocky horse they used to conquer their vast empire with, we photographed them amid mountains and landscapes that were simply jaw dropping and we were warmly invited into their homes and community. We shared their food, daily family life and were also introduced to their music. A local eagle hunters festival coincided with the timing of our trip so we witnessed men and one young girl all in full competition mode. A real photographers or adventurers appetite wetter for the annual Golden Eagle Festival, which has to be a truly incredible experience. We were there at the end of winter so needless to say it was cold, real cold and snow covered but as spring commenced the promise of warmer weather bringing new animal life and colour was becoming obvious as the landscape began to change. Fall too must be beautiful season to travel Mongolia. Although it’s not included in this itinerary I will mention here that we visited the remote Tsaataan reindeer herders as you’ve possibly seen Jami’s images. That’s a worthwhile but entirely different, very difficult and time consuming travel experience. Having experienced Mongolia and done so at its coldest and most difficult travel times, this itinerary as planned looks tempting enough to seriously consider making a return visit. I could go on and on as the more i write the more stimulated my recall becomes but i will spare you. I’m confident that the usual level of expertise and professionalism associated with Jami and Theo’s Wild Focus Expeditions will make this trip a winner for anyone who’s ever considered Mongolia as a destination. For those who are prepared to take some rough with the smooth, and be at the forefront of photographic adventure travel the images and experiences you return with, this will be totally mind-blowing. Mongolia is the type of travel experience where you have to do more than simply sit back and scratch the surface ….. but when you do, Mongolia will amaze you and reveal the unexpected.
Country Visited: Indonesia
We all travel the world because we want to see new places and to experience new adventures.I didn’t want to imagine what it would be like, I wanted to experience it first hand and Wild Focus Expeditions was just the travel company I was looking for. Small group expeditions for photographers and travelers to remote destinations.My destination, Indonesia, photographing orangutans and other wildlife. The diversity of the trip was amazing: from learning about the destruction of the rain forest for palm oil plantations, learning about the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program (SOCP) , exploring the jungles of Sumatra, cruising up the river in a traditional river boat to the jungle in Tanjung Putting National Park in Boreno. The village of Ubud in Bali with shopping, visiting rice and coffee farms, traditional wood carvers, exotic Balinese dances, monkey temple and so much more.Being an amateur photographer, no problem, owners Jami and Theo, both professional photographers provided expert guidance and my photographs are amazing! The OMG moment for me was coming face to face in the jungle with a wild dominant Male orangutan, very rare and only 10 feet away, WOW!Wild Focus was a well organized trip, the logistics traveling to 3 separate islands, jungle accommodations, food, river boat, activities, local guides to enhance our experience to 5 star accommodations in Bali was perfectly planned. The owners, Jami and Theo attended to each guest’s interest and needs and were exceptional hosts. The trip was amazing, educational and a life altering experience. I’ve already booked my next trip with Wild Focus in 2019 to Africa! Thank you Jami and Theo for making this trip a memory of a lifetime.
Country Visited: Indonesia
I am on my way home from completing two weeks in Indonesia with Wild Focus Expeditions! It has been an amazing experience. Hiking into the Sumatran jungle and observing the orangutans (in their natural habitat) was an opportunity of a lifetime.
The highlight for me personally was photographing a Sumatran male and tracking him through the jungle! It doesn’t get much better than this!!!! When traveling with Jami and Theo there is always unexpected excitement!
Our travel connections were flawless and our guides top notch. Through Jami and Theo’s knowledge of the orangutans, our trip was enriched with a visit to an amazing sanctuary where the dedicated staff work endless hours to protect this endangered species.
As a culminating adventure, we stayed 3 nights in the magical town of Ubud, Bali. I fell in love with the warm people and beautiful country. I am beyond blessed to have the opportunity to travel with this group.
I have truly enjoyed all of the trips I have taken with Wild Focus Expeditions, but as I reflect on my trip…this has to be one of my top favorites. Thank you Jami and Theo for all you do to provide your groups with amazing photographic opportunities second to none.
Country Visited: Indonesia
I keep thinking it just can’t get any better than my last trip with Wild Focus Expeditions. And then it does!
I’ve just returned from my 6th trip with Jami and Theo, the WFE leaders; this time to Indonesia. Each trip seems to have a main “target” that we hope to find and get great photo ops in their presence. Well, how about coming face to face with a dominate male orangutan in the jungles of Sumatra? We ended up getting tons of great shots of him, as well as mother orangutans with their babies, other monkeys like pig tailed macaques, gibbons, proboscis monkeys with their famous long noses! We traveled to several sites on this trip which included peaceful cruises on a local Klotok boat up the Sekonyer Kanan River to Camp Leakey in Borneo, we visited the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Center’s Quarantine Center and their upcoming Orangutan Haven (still being built – I’m looking forward to going back there someday to see this amazing project completed!). We made two strenuous hikes up into the hills of Guwung Leuser National Park where we had multiple encounters with male and female orangutans in the wild!
Jami and Theo, and their local guides that they work with, make each step in our travels not only exciting (when it should be), but uneventful when we made transfers from plane, to car, to boat and back again. It’s obvious that they’ve done their homework and prep work, to make these trips come off without a hitch.
Now, before you think this trip was just hiking through the hot humid jungles of Sumatra and Borneo; and getting great shots of all the wildlife, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention our last three days in Bali where we got to stay at the Viceroy. This has got to be the most fabulous hotel I’ve ever stayed at anywhere in the world! We got to relax in our own personal infinity pool (in each room!!), went into town for some shopping and local traditional dances at night.
Another Amazing Trip with Wild Focus Expeditions. I’m now looking forward to next year’s trip to Botswana!!
Country Visited: Indonesia
Jami and Theo have done it again with this unique and special trip. My wife and I have been fortunate to join them as part of their second inaugural journey – Svalbard and now Indonesia.
My experiences went far beyond photography of two of the three Orangutan species in Indonesia to a broader cultural exploration and deeper, in-person understanding of the impact of palm oil production on unique and finite habitats.
Our visit to the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programs’ (SOCP) Orangutan Quarantine Center at the start of the trip framed the balance of my time in Sumatra and South Kalimantan, Borneo. I am extremely grateful for the time with Ian and his team. In Bukit Lawang and Tanjung Puting National Park, Jami and Theo worked with excellent local resources that again enriched the overall journey and time there.
Ubud, Bali was an excellent finale. The Viceroy itself was outstanding – location, accommodations and food – made even more so by the genuine warmth, openness and commitment to service from everyone from the gardeners to the owner who was around each day.
Indonesia is vast and diverse, so be prepared to travel frequently during the program by car, plane and boat to see everything – it is all worth it.
Country Visited: Greenland
This was my second trip to the Arctic after Svalbard last year (both with Jami and Theo). The big draw for me for this trip was the timing – potential to spot wildlife AND witness the spectacle of Aurora Borealis. Of course none of these is ever guaranteed, but that’s the thrill of going on expeditions in nature!
While Svalbard was high on wildlife action, Greenland was glorious in the true sense of the term. In one of the few pristine places left on the planet, we had ample opportunities to photograph magnificent landscapes in some stunning, diverse light!
Wait, did I say not much wildlife action? The one polar bear we saw from up close, was in a dream setting though – on top of an iceberg with evening light and dramatic clouds in the backdrop! I would take one such over many others, any time :) Musk Ox is the other large mammal we saw from good photographing distance against the fall colours of the shrubby tundra landscape.
The Aurora Borealis (northern lights) spectacle we witnessed on the trip will always remain etched in my memory – watching the lights dance overhead is an experience not matched by many others. We were fortunate to have clear skies and strong activity on one of the nights and decent sightings on 2 others. It was also a good learning experience photographing the lights, with inputs from Theo and Jami beforehand.
My most satisfying part of the Greenland trip was definitely photographing nature’s sculptures – the magnificent icebergs, in all shapes and sizes, in some glorious lighting. It was like being in an open air iceberg art gallery, with opportunities galore to be creative with composition and light as well as experimenting with black and white photography. The rugged, pristine landscape of the east coast of Greenland formed the perfect backdrop to photograph them against.
Visiting such pristine, remote areas of the planet doesn’t just let us admire nature’s wonders, but also serves as a reminder of the importance of preserving these critical, yet fragile ecosystems. I feel fortunate to be able to be part of such expeditions and thanks to the team Wild Focus Expeditions for making these possible.
Overall, the trip was very well organized and executed smoothly – something that I have come to expect of Wild Focus Expeditions, but do appreciate that it takes a lot of depth of planning and execution. The newly renovated M/S Freya was a delight to be onboard, with spacious cabins, amazing crew and some delectable cuisine prepared by our chef on the trip – Christian. Must call out that the crew went way beyond their call of duty to help and were super helpful and supportive of the guests’ needs during the highly turbulent seas that we encountered on our way from Iceland to the east coast of Greenland. Our guides, who also piloted our zodiac boat were highly knowledgeable when it came to both the place as well as photography – thanks John, Jens and Acacia! John’s decades long experience in photojournalism, coupled with his deep knowledge of the Arctic ecosystem, definitely added to the the enrichment of my overall experience.