A small collection of some of my best images from 2021, ranging from wildlife, rangers and researchers in South Africa and Namibia to deforestation in Sweden, hiking in Slovenia and surfers in Portugal.


This is a repost from early October, 2021, just after the death of Ndakasi was announced.

André and Ndakasi at Senkwekwe in 2021.

It is with great sadness that we learned of mountain gorilla Ndakasi’s death at Senkwekwe Gorilla Center in Virunga National Park, DRC. She drifted off in André Bauma’s loving arms on September 26th, 2021. André, who rescued her over a decade ago when she was a recently orphaned infant and with whom she remained incredibly close her whole life, always speaks of the center’s orphan gorillas as family. Watching them interact with André and the other caregivers, it was impossible to doubt the truth of those words.

There is much we have to answer for regarding our treatment of one another and our non-human friends and relatives, but the love and care given to Ndakasi and other rescued gorillas and chimpanzees at sanctuaries like Senkwekwe and Lwiro fills me with warmth and hope. Perhaps not of our overall impact, since without us there would be no need for such centers in the first place, but at least for the kindness and compassion we are capable of.

NY Times, Seeing Zambia's Magnificent Wildlife & How to Help

Hi everyone - greetings from week 5 (or is it week 6?) of house quarantine in Portugal, where our two-week visit to my parents has been extended to at least three months. Still, despite inconveniences such as canceled trips and assignments and a largely uncertain future - compared to what many people are going through, Jess and I are totally fine. And although this was meant to happen this spring at some point anyway, so many people being confined to their homes meant that the New York Times rushed through one of my photo essays as the first part of their ‘the World Through the Lens’ series of virtual travel inspiration. You can find the full selection of images (and some lovely comments) here, and this is the print version:

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I have to say, I loved all the interaction - hundreds of comments, dozens of emails - that was the result of the Zambia article, and I’ve been asked to join NYTimes Travel editor Amy Virshup for a 45-minute live video interview and audience Q&A. However, there are a few things I suspect we might not be able to discuss in any great detail during that session, but that I still want to be able to refer to, and that’s what this blogpost is for.

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I’m glad people are discovering Zambia, albeit virtually for the moment. Like many other places, Zambia’s protected areas are going to be in for a rough time this year, as a lot of the conservation and community work being done is funded either directly or indirectly through tourism. It’s important to note that while many places might do well with a break from tourism, that primarily applies to areas that don’t rely on tourism.

Let’s start with Zambia as a travel destination though. I absolutely love Zambia - it (and specifically South Luangwa) was where I had my first African adventure as an adult, camping high up in a tree for three weeks, watching baboons and elephants walk below my tent on a daily basis. Since then I’ve stayed in so many great camps and lodges, so if you want to put together your own trip, the easiest thing for me to do is to point you toward my good friend Mario Voss at Hidden Gems of Zambia, a Zambia-based travel agent / ground handler. Mario grew up in Ghana and has spent his entire adult life living in the Zambian bush, and we’ve had quite a few adventures together over the years.

However, if you’re keen to travel with Jess and me then there is now an option for that, too. As a result of the Zambia article, we were contacted by Dazzle Africa, a non-profit travel outfit specializing on South Luangwa, and a few days ago they launched a 12-day Mindful Safari Adventure during which Jess and I will run regular photography, yoga and mindfulness sessions - in addition to co-guiding the trip. You can read more about this unique trip on our Mindful Adventures website.

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Now let’s focus on how you can support the Luangwa from home. How can you do that? Well, actually, booking a safari DOES help, because even if you’re not traveling now, the money you pay can be used to cover salaries, which puts food on the table, which reduces the incentive for local families to resort to snaring wild animals. Both the Department of National Parks and Wildlife and many of the non-profits listed below are largely financed by tourism. But beyond that, you can, of course, support these fantastic conservation organizations directly, with donations. I will only link to ones I have worked with myself, whose reputation is impeccable, and/or for whom Mario, or someone else whose judgment I trust completely, has vouched. So, in alphabetical order, here are a few options:

1. African Parks - of the 17 protected areas African Parks manage, two are in Zambia: Liuwa Plains and Bangweulu Wetlands. African Parks use a systems-based approach, from park management and conservation research to anti-poaching, community engagement, education, and healthcare.

2. Chipembele Wildlife Education Trust - conservation education & scholarships for Zambian children and communities

3. COMACO - supporting wildlife conservation and small-scale farmers in eastern Zambia

4. Conservation South Luangwa - protecting the wildlife and habitats of the South Luangwa ecosystem

5. North Luangwa Conservation Programme - protecting Zambia’s only black rhinos and largest elephant population

6. Wildlife Crime Prevention - undercover work & intelligence to disrupt the illegal wildlife trade

7. Zambian Carnivore Programme - conserving Zambia’s carnivores and the habitats they live in

These are all incredible organizations with passionate, dedicated staff, and they could really use your support in what will be a very tough year for many of them. As always, if you have any questions, you’re more than welcome to send me an email.

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Peace, Love & Understanding (kind of)

It’s been a busy but wonderful start to the year, with three weeks in Kenya followed by a two-week trip to Swedish Lapland – a region Jess and I have fallen head over heels for. It’s such a beautiful place, and it’s right up our alley (albeit an alley it takes 15 hours or so to reach by car): untouched, wide-open spaces, beautiful forests and mountains, very distinct seasons (snow!), and very few people.

Watching the sunset in Pajala, Swedish Lapland.

Watching the sunset in Pajala, Swedish Lapland.

But some of the issues we’ve come across in my native Sweden have given me a lot to think about – mainly concerning what we’re willing to do ourselves versus what we expect others to do, and how quick we are to judge one another.

There are plenty of wild animals in Sweden; we have a few hundred wolves (mostly in central part of the country), and there are bears, wolverines, lynx and moose. But as someone used to working in Africa, it’s all pretty relaxing. If I go for a walk, I don’t need to constantly check the ground for tracks, or look over my shoulder for buffaloes, elephants or lions. The last time someone was killed by wild wolves in Sweden? More than 200 years ago!

Bears are actually more dangerous than wolves, although it’s usually easy enough to avoid contact.

Bears are actually more dangerous than wolves, although it’s usually easy enough to avoid contact.

Wolverines, like lions, hyenas and leopards in Africa, will often kill livestock (including reindeer) if given the opportunity.

Wolverines, like lions, hyenas and leopards in Africa, will often kill livestock (including reindeer) if given the opportunity.

Despite this, the predator debate in Sweden is massive – and massively heated – with lots of people arguing passionately against a growing wolf population. And even many of those who want wolves, don’t really want them where they live. We’ve become so used to a convenient, comfortable life, that we instinctively lash out at the thought of something that makes us feel afraid.

And yet, we fully expect other people to live in far more perilous situations. Many of the people who don’t want wolves in their own neighbourhoods would be incensed at the idea of a highway through the Serengeti, and certainly don’t want rhinos, leopards and giraffe to have to make way for farmland, livestock and villages. When news about retaliatory killings of wild animals in Kenya or a poaching incident in Zambia is posted on social media, the outrage knows no bounds. The animals were there first! Humans are awful!

Bushmeat for sale outside Odzala National Park in Congo-Brazzaville.

Bushmeat for sale outside Odzala National Park in Congo-Brazzaville.

I think we really need to be more mindful of how we judge others. We can understand and empathize with someone’s position without approving of or agreeing with their views and actions. This goes for virtually every aspect of life, of course, but it certainly applies to questions like wildlife conservation, which tend to give rise to a lot of strong emotions. You can never fully know what someone has gone through, or is going through, and what led them to make certain choices, but it certainly helps to try to imagine yourself in their shoes. Can someone living in a city in western Europe or the US truly imagine not only what it’s like to have potentially deadly animals lurking in the dark just beyond your home, threatening both lives and livelihoods, but also to suspect that both your own government and people elsewhere in the world value the lives of those animals higher than they do yours?

Kamunu Saitoti was once a famed lion hunter but is today a proud member of Lion Guardians, a project designed to mitigate human-predator conflicts in Kenya and Tanzania. After half a lifetime of hatred of the big cats, followed by years of indiffere…

Kamunu Saitoti was once a famed lion hunter but is today a proud member of Lion Guardians, a project designed to mitigate human-predator conflicts in Kenya and Tanzania. After half a lifetime of hatred of the big cats, followed by years of indifference, he now says he feels about the lions where he lives the same way as he does about his livestock - high praise indeed from a Maasai.

This isn’t to say that we should condone the killing of wildlife, or the destruction of natural habitats. Not at all. My own position is clear: we absolutely have to find ways to coexist with wildlife. But as with so many other things, we can’t expect others to do what we’re not willing to do ourselves, and we shouldn’t be setting different standards for Sweden and Kenya (at least not in this respect). And we can certainly show one another more empathy, and greater understanding. The world is in a bit of a mess, if you hadn’t noticed, and becoming increasingly angry and upset probably won’t help setting it right again.

Co-existence is what we must aim for - but being judgemental about the mistakes we make along the way won’t help us get there any faster.

Co-existence is what we must aim for - but being judgemental about the mistakes we make along the way won’t help us get there any faster.


There is something unnerving about writing the first blog post on a new website. So I thought, why not use it to write all the things a proper biography does not or cannot contain, but which would no doubt help paint a more complete picture of who I am? While some of you have been following me for years, others are here for the first time, having just heard of me. Some of you know me well, others not at all. So, in no particular order, this is me.


I’m Swedish. I love picking flowers. I’ve always liked animals, sometimes a little too much; when I was a toddler I got stung by a wasp because I tried to pet it. I also nearly choked to death on a grape. I can never decide what my favorite color is. Also, I’m colorblind. I’m a somewhat accidental photographer - when I decided I wanted to become one I was actually pretty awful at it, but luckily I didn’t realize that until I’d improved significantly. Honestly, it’s pretty embarrassing to see what I based my self-assessment on ten years ago. I find foraging for mushrooms in Swedish forests very meditative. I’ve had malaria, but only once. My wife is just... wow. I’m very, very lucky. It’s pretty incredible to always go to bed knowing that if anything, you’ll be even more in love when you wake up. I have read the 7-book Masters of Rome series, some 5,000 pages, at least 5 or 6 times. And I think Harry Potter is pretty great, too. I have been to 70+ countries, and am always up for new adventures, but absolutely love being back in Sweden. I’ve run outside naked in the middle of the night to photograph lions, which wasn’t a terribly good idea. I enjoy cooking. Also saunas and skinny dipping. My parents are amazing, and it’s from them I’ve learned to value integrity so highly. Few things make me as angry as seeing them being treated unfairly. I find spiders fascinating, but also a little freaky, and can never quite get myself to be comfortable handling them.


I value critical, rational thinking. I sometimes wake up full of anxiety, worried that nothing I have planned will work out and that I don’t have much of a Plan B. But I’m generally a solution-based person, and something usually does work out. I love the sound of rain, and thunder. I prefer cliffs to beaches, lakes to oceans. I firmly believe that no dish is complete without mushrooms - except perhaps ice cream, and cinnamon buns. I don’t drink alcohol, but coffee is definitely growing on me. I have tiny ears, and they’re ridiculously sensitive to the cold. I like to think I’m wiser than I sometimes act. Cities and crowds make me tired. I have two very impressive sisters, who both found lovely partners, and I have one ridiculously adorable niece. I have a very strong sense of self-worth, and of right and wrong. Condescension and patronising attitudes make me furious, and I don’t tend to stick around if I don’t feel like I’m being valued as I should be. I am pretty sure a chimpanzee gave me parasites by kissing me. I scored top marks on my thesis, but I suspect that nobody other than the markers ever read it, and I never went back to my academic career after handing it in. I’m a flexitarian, and very okay with that. In fact, I’m pretty good at a lot of sustainability habits, but not great at any.

“I was once held up at gunpoint by an over-zealous goat herder in Ethiopia for three hours, but the only time that I have really feared for my life was during a storm in a tiny boat in the Solomon Islands.”

I love playing badminton, but have a habit of overdoing it and incapacitating myself for several days every time I do. I’m not sure if I’m either a morning or an evening person – how about a when-the-sun-is-up person? I’m truly awful at remembering people’s names. The only time since 2006 I’ve had any kind of normal employment was working in an outdoor gear store while studying in Tasmania, 2008-2010. I hate crumbs/sand/dirt in bed. I love dogs, but not dog hair. I would like to make mindfulness a bigger part of my everyday life. I’ve been peed on by wild gorillas. The fact that bananas are berries, and raspberries aren’t, is interesting, but probably not terribly important. As comfortable as I am in nature, I still feel uncomfortable being in the forest after dark – presumably because of childhood stories of trolls and witches rather than anything rational. For the same reason, I always feel slightly uneasy swimming across dark lakes, even when I know there’s nothing there to worry about. I like mountains, and I enjoy being atop them, but can’t say I tend to enjoy hiking up them, especially at altitude. I’m constantly annoyed about having to smuggle my (always too heavy) hand luggage onto airplanes when there are other passengers who clearly weigh much more than I do.


I’m not sure if I worry too much about the future, or not enough. I love hugs. Not a huge fan of heights though. Or pesky insects – flies, fleas, ticks and mosquitoes can perish for all I care, although I guess that would probably doom the planet somehow. I often feel like I’m trying to catch up, that my to-do list never gets any shorter. I’ve never tried any psychedelics but am very curious about their potential impacts on human wellbeing. I’m pretty sure a baboon stole my first iPhone. I find it very difficult to understand how anyone can take religion and religious texts seriously to the extent of questioning rationality, science and critical thought – I feel very strongly that nothing should be considered sacred in the sense of not being susceptible to revision based on new and better evidence. I like ABBA and the Mamma Mia movies, and not just because I’m Swedish. I wish money wasn’t necessary, but since it is, I wish I had more of it. No matter how fulfilling my life is or has been, I still won’t want to die. I’m a terrible musician, singer and actor, but a decent cook, driver, and putter-together of IKEA furniture.

I’m a very loyal friend. I once walked over 70km with an ankle the size of a tennis ball. I have zero tolerance for smoking, and while I have no issue with alcohol, I find drunkenness very tiresome. I’ve peed in a lot of wetsuits (but then, who hasn’t?). I like watching clouds – they make me feel appropriately small. I own seven DSLRs (four of which I actually use) and at least 12 lenses, the total cost of which I’d rather not think about. I find frogs, snakes and chameleons beautiful, while rhinos – majestic as they are – tend to be a bit… not so exciting to spend time with. There is definitely such a thing as bad pizza. Monty Python is very, very funny. There’s an awful lot of white in my beard these days. I sometimes wish I didn’t have to go out into the world at all, but the feeling normally doesn’t last. I can’t for the life of me understand how Instagram works. But I do love reading and responding to comments, messages and emails – they add a vital human element to this digital life – so, by all means, keep them coming.