Botswana Photographic Safari 2021
16th June – 30th June 2021 – 1 Space Left
Group Size: 6
Tour Leaders: Tom Way On Behalf Of Natures Images
This safari not only offers the opportunity to visit one of the jewels in Africa’s wildlife photography crown in the form of Botswana, but also the chance to experience it in the traditional way of a mobile safari: we will be moving camp as we travel from the Moremi region on the edge of the magnificent Okavango Delta through iconic places such as Savuti and Chobe National parks and ending up on the shores of the mighty Chobe River.
It is a trip that offers an amazing variety of habitats from dry mopane forests and riverbeds, to lush wet swamplands and waterways. We’ll explore by our own 4WD vehicles throughout, enjoy a boat trip on both the Delta and the Chobe River, have the opportunity for some night drives and walks in one area and all the time be camping under the stars as we go in our comfortable tents with good home cooking and support throughout.
With iconic prides of lion, a number of packs of painted dogs, excellent cheetah country, good cover for a healthy leopard population, hyenas, elephants, giraffe, specialist antelope including red lechwe, sable and roan and over 500 species of bird that we may encounter this really is a classic mobile safari in a fantastic corner of the continent.
Day 1: We will look to catch our overnight flights to Johannesburg – full details/recommendations will be advised nearer the time.
Day 2: On our early morning arrival in Johannesburg we will look to catch our short connecting flight to Maun, Botswana. We plan to then head into the magnificent Okavango Delta area on short a chartered scenic flight as this will give the best possible views of the amazing habitat as well as the chance to take some dramatic aerial images as well. Our initial base will be in the Xakanaxa area in the heart of the Moremi Game Reserve and the eastern end of the delta and we will be based here for 3 nights, so after a busy days travel and no doubt some additional photography as we drive to our base we will be ready for the first night in our mobile camp setup.
Days 3 – 4: We will spend 2 full days in the Moremi area noted for its many floodplains and beautiful lagoons as well as mopane woodlands and acacia forests and among the array of over 500 species of birds to be found here, this is an important area for lion (there are a number of prides based around here), cheetah, painted dog and both black and white rhinoceros as well as some local species of antelope including the semi-aquatic red lechwe. It is also home to large herds of buffalo.
The pattern of our days will be similar throughout the whole trip, with early morning wake-up followed by a morning game drive and returning to camp for a late breakfast, rest in the middle of the day and then an afternoon drive through to sunset and night drives on our return to camp. On one of our 2 days here though we plan to take a boat trip on the delta as this will give us a different perspective on the area.
Day 5: After a morning drive we will transfer our entire camp northeastwards to the south the Khwai Community area just outside the Moremi National Park itself and where we will be based for our next 3 nights. This is an area that is particularly good for leopard as well as painted dogs. Being just outside the park it is also an area where we are able to stay out in our vehicles after which provides additional opportunities for dusk and night photography: with the trip timed to coincide with a full and waxing moon then it is possible to capture some very different images. Elephants come from miles around to drink at pools here and pods of hippos are common too, the latter at the magnificent Dombo Hippo Pools in particular.
Days 6 – 7: Two full days (and evening drives too) to make explore the Kwai Community area and we may have the option to arrange a short trip on the delta in a traditional Makoro as well while we are here.
Day 8: After our morning drive we will again break camp and head slightly further north into the justifiably renowned Savuti region of Chobe National Park. It will be immediately apparent that the habitat has changed as this is a much more arid area without the waterways of the delta, but it is an excellent area for game generally with an array of different antelope species and an equally good density of all of the big cats and predators.
Days 9 – 10: The Savuti March and Savuti Channel areas were an integral part of the BBC’s Planet Earth series with particular focus on the lion prides here who have learned to hunt elephant, and along with the high densities of hyena to be found here these will almost certainly form a large part of our attention when out on or morning and afternoon game drives along with cheetah once again as this is prime habitat for them as well.
Day 11: After a final morning in Savuti we will continue our drive northwards into the heart of the Chobe National Park which is topped by the great Chobe river and where we will be based for a final 3 nights.
Days 12 – 13: The Chobe area, as well as supporting the full array of species is particularly rich with elephant that regularly make their way to the river each day to cross to the islands to feed as well as drink and bathe. From our base in the centre of the park (away from the busier Kasane end) we will be able to explore many stretches of the riverfront and also plan for a boat trip on the river to see the elephant, buffalo and array of bird species there. The woodlands here are also an excellent place to see the rarer sable and roan antelope.
Day 14: On our final morning once more for our return flights from Kasane to Johannesburg and from where we will catch our overnight flights back to Europe.
Day 15: Arrive back in the UK/Europe.
Our accommodation is what is described as semi- luxury walk-in tents with mosquito proofing and sewn in groundsheets. They are clean and comfortable with a stretcher bed, foam mattress, towels, pillows, sheets and blankets so although we will be mobile and moving our entire camp on with us every 3 days or so it is nevertheless comfortable all round. Each tent will have its own attached en-suite long-drop toilet and a bucket shower as well. If you have any special dietary requirements do please let us know in advance as we will be in very remote areas and it will need planning in advance. Bottled water is provided at all times in the camp, and wine, local spirits, beers and soft drinks are included for meal times etc. The daytime temperature is typically around 15 – 20 degrees Celsius so in terms of clothing you will obviously need light¬weight but also potentially shower-proof clothing with a fleece or warm outer layer for the early morning drives and evenings around the campfire. Footwear needs to be just of the sensible outdoor variety. Sun cream, a hat, lip moisturiser and sunglasses are also recommended, as we will be exposed to the sun for long periods. Please liaise with your doctor as to which medication to bring. Insect repellent is useful as they can occasionally be a nuisance.
It is particularly important that your insurance for this trip covers any emergency evacuations as we will be in particularly remote locations throughout the trip.
In terms of camera gear then the longest lens you have will be needed (300mm with converter as a minimum really and 500mm is ideal). You may also consider some shorter lenses for the array of environmental opportunities (70-200mm and 24-70mm say). You will need storage devices for the array of images you will build up and a laptop for viewing these on the evenings can be both sociable and also good for critiquing purposes.
Cost includes: Transfers from the airport, accommodation, ground transportation of luggage, internal flights, all meals, drives, scenic flight, boat trips and park fees.
Cost excludes: International flights to Maun and from Kasane, visas, sundry items, non-local alcohol (ie spirits) in camp, and tips/gratuities for camp staff and drivers.
If you have any questions at all about this trip please do not hesitate to get in contact with either Tom (07876 333787) or the team at Natures Images (01952 411436). You are able to book this trip directly through this link: https://www.natures-images.co.uk/holiday/classic-botswana-safari-2021/