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Moving from the wilds of Africa, and exhilarating wildlife encounters in Zimbabwe and South Africa, to Toowoomba seemed an enormous lifestyle change for Clive Arnold and his family.

The move half way across the globe has not put a stop to Clive Arnold’s African tales however. His tourism business, Safaris into Africa, and his wildlife photography keep the adventure alive. Clive decided to relocate his family to Australia. More than a decade has passed since the family first settled on the Downs and they are proud to call themselves Australians. However, it’s clear that Africa still has a firm grip on Clive’s heart and soul.

Wild Encounters

Life for Clive and wife Anne began in Zimbabwe. Clive first picked up a camera at the age of eight, and there began a lifetime obsession with capturing the nature of Africa on film. However, over time a blessed upbringing became difficult in the country’s changing political environment and the newly married Clive and Anne set off to start their lives afresh in South Africa.

There, the couple turned their hands to sugarcane and mango farming on the border of the Kruger National Park. Their proximity to this incredible natural reserve was perfect for Clive to fulfil his passion for photographing and filming wildlife, producing many documentaries in the process. It was also the ideal place for the two conservationists to become heavily involved in anti-poaching and environmental campaigns. Life here was wild and exciting, with too many stories to count.

However, Clive, Anne and their two daughters packed up again, this time leaving Africa for good. With plenty of friends in Australia and the offer of a farming job, the Arnolds set off with four suitcases to start afresh once more. In 2003, the family put a deposit on their own farm near Withcott and relocated to Downs region which is reminiscent of the Eastern Highlands in Zimbabwe where Clive grew up; although half a world away, the climate and landscape feel familiar to him.

A photographer, documentary maker and conservationist, Clive was soon approached by friends on the Downs to take them and show them Africa from a local’s perspective. Drawing on their extensive knowledge of their native land, its animals and people, Clive and Anne now host regular tours. Clive says witnessing the great migration of wildebeest each year is the most spectacular of all his wildlife encounters.

“Every trip I go back to Africa, I see something different,” says Clive. “It’s what keeps me coming back.” As for his photography, this has become an all-consuming passion and he is currently compiling his best photography into a coffee table book.

Words by Alice Thompson | Images by Clive Arnold