29 April 2010

Pioneering photographic safaris

Last year, Pixar took the call of the wild to new heights with Up. During this journey we are met with the Spirit of Adventure, both literally and figuratively, and its embodiment, Charles Muntz. To see what real adventures of the era were like, however, guest at Animal Kingdom Lodge – Jambo House have to look no further than The Sunset Overlook and the travels of Martin and Osa Johnson.

Martin and Osa Johnson were a Midwestern couple who spent a major portion of their lives as travelers, explorers, documentarians, and lovers of the undiscovered or unindustrialized corners of the world. Martin had spent a good deal of his early years aboard the Snark with Jack London or traveling with the exhibit that featured photographs, artifacts, and stories from that journey. After marrying Osa, the pair set off across the world documenting and studying the worlds of the South Pacific and Africa.

After spending the years between 1917 and 1920 observing the South Seas and Borneo, the couple set their sights on Africa. For the next fifteen years they would dedicate their lives to surveying and studying the people, creatures, and landscapes of Africa. During this span they would also obtain their licenses to fly, purchase a pair of amphibious planes (named Spirit of Africa and Osa’s Ark), and be the first pilots to fly over, and film, Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya. Along the way, Martin and Osa would visit Kenya, the Nile, Mount Marsabit, and the Congo, including a little area known as Ituri Forest (which should sound familiar to those who frequent Kilimanjaro Safaris). From their fifteen years of filming in Africa they would create movies that include, but are not limited to, Trailing Wild African Animals, Martin’s Safari, Osa’s Four Years in Paradise, and Congorilla.

Meanwhile, back in The Sunset Overlook of Animal Kingdom Lodge – Jambo House, a collection of photographs from Martin and Osa Johnson’s various African safaris can be examined, for those that take the time to wander through this great area. Aside from the photographs, there are also exhibits featuring clothing and supplies that crews would carry with them on such safaris. Also, should you wish to discover more about the couple’s life and travels together, I recommend Osa Johnson’s book, I Married Adventure.

I apologize for the blurriness of some of the photographs below. For those interested, I highly recommend viewing the photographs for yourself!


Unknown said...

Thank you for your post. The Martin and Osa Johnson Safari Museum was honored to provide Johnson photos for use in the Sunset Overlook. Readers interested in learning more about Martin and Osa Johnson can visit the museum's website, www.safarimuseum.com.
"I Married Adventure," one of 18 books written by the Johnsons, is available in the Lodge's Zawadi Marketplace.
FYI - Johnson film is also used in the Conservation Station at Disney's Animal Kingdom.
Conrad Froehlich, Museum Director

Ryan P. Wilson said...

Conrad - Thank you so much for for the additional information and for sharing these fantastic photographs with the world!