Mario & Jennifer Fazekas are a husband and wife team who are fanatical about photography and African wildlife. Jenny works full-time their eBooks and Mario has a day job.
“So we don’t consider ourselves to be professional photographers,” says Mario. “Keep in mind that you don’t have to be a pro to capture great wildlife images!” he adds.
Since I discovered their website, full of Southern African Wildlife photos, I was looking to having a chat with Mario and Jennifer. I finally made it and here is what we talked about:
- How did you decide to pursue a writing career?
“Photography was just a hobby that eventually became our passion. We have been visiting African national parks since 1995 and have spent over 800 days on photo safaris so we built up an enormous collection of images that were just sitting at home. We encountered visitors in the parks who were struggling to get decent photos as they could not find certain subjects and/or they did not know how to best photograph them. We had been through this frustrating stage and had learnt many lessons over the years, so we decided to share that knowledge on our website and via eBooks so that visitors to the parks could accelerate their learning curve and start getting good photos on their first safari and not on their third or fourth!”
- Was getting published hard?
“We approached a few publishers who were interested in publishing our books but the one wanted to change the content too much while the other eventually decided our books would compete with some of their current authors’ books on wildlife photography so we decided to self-publish and have never looked back.
Our Kgalagadi eBook was written by ourselves but we also team up with co-authors when needed as we realize that we don’t know all there is to know about a park, so combining our experiences with other wildlife photographers can add value to the book. For our Etosha eBook we partnered with Kathryn Haylett, who owns and runs YourSafari.co.uk as she has spent over two years doing photo safaris in Etosha National Park. For our Pilanesberg eBook we partnered with Edward Peach, who was a field guide in the park for 18 months. Both these people know their park’s fauna & flora and are photographers, so they were the ideal partners for us on these two eBooks.”
- Are ebooks as popular as traditional books?
“Oh yes, especially for people on African safaris as they already have so much luggage and photo gear so the last thing they need is a few more kilograms of books to lug around with them! In addition, eBooks never run out of print, they can be easily updated to include new camps and waterholes, they can be read not only in dim light but also in total darkness on smart phones and iPads, an eBook is easy to hold as it does not require use of both hands, they can be taken with on self-drive or guided safaris, and reproduction costs are negligible so they can be sold for less than a print book of comparable number of pages.”
- What genre are your books?
“Art, and in particular Nature and Wildlife Photography. Our ebooks fill a much needed gap in the market as there are hundreds of books on wildlife photography and many books on African game reserves but not much on how to photograph the wildlife at each specific game reserve. Our eBooks provide detailed information on each camp, lodge, waterhole, viewpoint and route in the reserves providing ‘how-to’ information that can be applied from day-one of the photographer’s safari.”
- Do you have a specific writing routine?
“We both take photographs but Jenny does the initial writing of the books before, during and after each safari. We both decide on what images and lessons to include and then, once we have all the necessary information, I do the image insertion and checking of Jenny’s text for typos. The word document is then converted to a PDF for sale on our website or converted to Kindle format for sale via Amazon.”
- What are your current projects?
“We are working on three eBooks:
- The photographer’s guide to the Greater Kruger Park, which includes the Kruger National Park and the surrounding game reserves such at the Sabi Sands, Timbavati, Manyeleti, plus concessions within the park and lesser known reserves like Makuya.
- The photographer’s guide to Madikwe Game Reserve that features more than half of the 21 lodges within the reserve with wildlife photography lessons.
- The photographer’s guide to Namibia – Etosha is the crown jewel of Namibia s national parks but Namibia has so much more to offer so we focus on other parks and photo attractions such as Namib Naukluft park, the Fish River Canyon, Kolmanskop, Damaraland and Solitaire to name a few.
- What’s next for you?
“Africa is a big place and so far we have focused on some of the more popular and affordable Southern African parks. We are considering finishing southern Africa by doing some of the parks in Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia and then we will look at the East African parks such as the Serengeti and Masai Mara. We were tempted to look at national parks in other countries, such as India, but Africa is where our heart is.”
About Mario & Jennifer Fazekas
Mario Fazekas was a city-boy who had lived in Johannesburg and Durban all his life. Jennifer, his wife, had tried numerous times to get him to go to one of the national parks but Mario was not interested. At the end of 1994 Jennifer got him as far as Old Joe’s Kaia, which is about halfway between Johannesburg and the Kruger Park. And that’s how it all started.
Since 1995 Mario & Jennifer have been visiting various African national parks – from the lush subtropical Kruger National Park to the red desert dunes of the Kalahari thirst-land.
They’ve been on more than 1000 game drives on 140 African Safaris, 80% self-drive safaris and 20% guided safaris, and have spent over 800 days and nights in the African wilderness.
In their web site, ‘Kruger 2 Kalahari’, Mario & Jennifer share their passion of nature photography by showcasing a selection of their images that capture the essence of God’s creation in these and other contrasting wilderness areas