She lives in a place where the outside world almost stops to exist! A well known wildlife photographer, Kim Mcleod lives with Zara a beautiful canine of mixed heritage as companion, friend and confidante. Their days are packed with forays into the bush watching the famous herd of elephants, listening to birds, looking at beetles, catching up with the rhinos and the hippos, watching monkeys and teaching photography.
Something that most of us can only dream of, Kim is the resident photographer at Thula Thula which is a private game reserve in South Africa. Thula Thula is famous for its elephant herd, known widely through late Lawrence Anthony's book, The Elephant Whisperer.
Justifiably, Kim credits pristine nature and the fabulous food for her health.
"I do yoga as much as possible and when the weather is cool, I run. Things change in the bush too often. That's why I do a mix of whatever is feasible at that moment," says the slim Kim who loves her meditation music. “I think what helps me stay young are the bumps we get when we drive around in the game viewer. It possibly helps blood circulation,” laughs the photographer who loves to eat fish.
Kim loves the fact that when she looks out of her window, there are no signs of the city, or of any disruption. “The heart is quiet. And when you are around the elephants, the world fades away. It is a blessing to be this close to nature,” she smiles. Kim knows each of the famous elephant herd by name and their individual characteristics too. “You can feel their energy. Working here is not a job, it’s a passion,” adds Kim who began photography at 36. So tuned is she to life at Thula Thula that Kim says, “When I go to Durban, I have to leave by the third day. There's noise, pollution, cars, roads...”
Work is worship
Kim’s biggest joy and luckily her profession is to take photographs. “I take pictures when I am happy. You just have to be motivated to do it and being in a good place with good people means you do a good job,” explains Kim. That’s one reason why she has started photography classes in wildlife reserves.
Zara's adoption was not planned. “I just knew she was mine. She fits in easily- drives around the reserve with me, hangs out with me, travels with me, knows when she has to keep quiet and where she can chase monkeys. She knows me so well and gives me so much love. We both look after each other. Zara is just so balanced! We are proper partners,” smiles Kim patting her dog. For a dog living amongst wildlife, knowing instinctively how to act where is so important.
Living in the bush is not as easy as it looks Kim tells us. “It sucks you in. It's not luxurious, you are almost removed from the outside world, have to keep an eye on yourself. There are times poachers stir trouble. There's never a quiet day, nor a day like another! Keep yourself hydrated, eat good food, exercise and take a few days off to do other things,” she smiles.
We sure would like to stay in the bush to discover all this!
If you want to see some of Kim's amazing work, go through cthrume.net