An excerpt from an interview with Ryan van der Linde
Ryan Van Der Linde, a passionate wildlife and nature photographer, describes Africa as wild, diverse and vibrant. Born and raised in Zimbabwe, into a family passionate about wildlife. Camping and exploring the wild places of Zimbabwe, are among some of his favorite childhood memories.
From very young, Ryan’s love for nature was instinctive, collecting anything from feathers, shells, rocks, leaves, seed pods and even dung, to take home and analysis with great curiosity.
This continued as he got older, pursuing his interest in wildlife and the natural environment by learning as much as he could by reading books, magazine articles, and any resource he could get his hands on.
When he finished school, he passed the Learner Professional Hunters/Guide licence. It wasn’t until he started taking wildlife photographs that he realized his true passion. And so, in 2017 Zambezi Boy Photography was created. Going from strength to strength, selling prints all over the world, but most importantly turning his passion into his profession.
“I fell truly blessed because this is not a job, it is a vocation.”
Each new day in Africa, brings its own challenges, and he wouldn’t trade it for anything. Life in Zimbabwe has strengthened his character, and has taught him humility and gratitude.
“I have learnt so much about the environment and animals around me. One of the most interesting, was learning from the Tonga tribe in the Zambezi Valley, about the many uses of the baobab tree.”
Having traveled through South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe, he isn’t short of a tale or two. His favorite place on his travels, the Zambezi River, and a trip in 2016, he did with his Grandfather and brother.
As for close encounters with wildlife, one springs to mind. On a trip to Sinamwenda, a very remote fishing village on the shores of Lake Kariba, Ryan was left stranded in the bush. A heavy rain storm washed away parts of the road, with no way forward or back. Fortunately, he was on route to a fishing camp and had enough supplies to keep him going for the four days he was stranded. Ryan saw it as an opportunity to explore the lake shore and surrounding areas on foot. While out exploring, he spotted some elephants very close-by. He thought they hadn’t seen him, so he stopped to quietly observe them. But they had.
“You can imagine my shock when a young bull elephant started to charge me. I don’t think I have ever run that fast in my life.”
Ryan’s favorite African animal is the African Antelope. Often overlooked by tourists, mostly because they are plentiful and not as imposing as the big five. Antelope such as Kudu, Sable, Gemsbok, and the rare Lichensteins Hartebeest, he says, are some of the most beautiful animals in the African bush velt.
The best part about living in Africa, Ryan says, is seeing the diversity of the people and cultures, and the slower pace and simplicity of life.
“It’s like living in an epic adventure movie. There are so many places to explore within Africa. It is a land of extreme beauty, from the wide-open plains of the Serengeti; lush rainforest of East Africa; dry Kalahari sands; Mopani woodlands; to the vast wetlands of Southern Africa; combined with colorful cultures, deep myths and rich history. Every time I visit a place, even if I have been there before, I learn more, discover more beauty, which makes me fall in love with Africa all over again.”
To follow Ryan on Instagram, please click the link: https://www.instagram.com/zambezi_boy/