Africa. What wildlife photographer or enthusiast has not dreamed of visiting the “Mammal Continent?” This Botswana Wildlife Photo Tour ~ 2020 will see that dream realized as we visit the Chobe River and Okavango Delta.
While there are plenty of antelope, hippos, elephants, buffalo and other critters to train our lenses on, it’s the predators that fascinate me.
Our tent camp in the Delta is perfectly located to find endangered African wild dogs and lions (by the way: the lions of the Okavango Delta are the biggest on Earth). There are also leopards and cheetahs in the area. With our expert Bushman trackers we will have excellent chances to photograph these stunning creatures.
LIMITED to six (6).
Chobe River and Okavango Delta.” width=”700″ height=”466″>
In addition to our game drives in the Okavango, we will also patrol the Chobe River in a specially constructed photo boat. Each photographer will have a seat that rotates through a complete 360 degrees with an attached lens mount.
While searching along the river we’ll no doubt see hippos and plenty of elephants. Photographing from the water as the animals come down to drink is a unique experience.
Along the way we’ll keep an eye out for birds as well. Although most folks venture to Africa for the big mammals, the birds are outstanding!
This is a scouting tour. I have not visited these lodges before. I’ve done the research, but without having the experience I can’t really tell you how every detail will work.
There may be some bumps, things I’ll change on future tours. In return, you’ll be getting a discount rate on this tour. I can offer you a good deal because the ground agent has extended a special price to entice me to lead tours there. I’m passing that discount on to you. Going forward, the price will not be this low again.
We will have two chartered flights during this tour. The cost for this is included in the tour price.
IMPORTANT NOTE: This is an estimated schedule & we’ll do our best to stick to this itinerary, but certain conditions may necessitate changes. Good photographic experiences & plenty of chances to view wildlife will be our goals at all times.
Monday, November 9:
Arrive in Kasane, Botswana (airport code BBK) . You’ll be picked up and brought to our hotel on the Chobe River.
Tuesday, November 10 & Wednesday, November 11:
While staying at our hotel on the Chobe River we will have excursions twice a day. We can either do a boat on the river or opt for a game drive.
The game drives in the Chobe offer the chance to see more plains game like zebra, giraffe, buffalo, wildebeest, plenty of antelope species and the rare sable antelope.
When you opt for the land-based game drives you will have a better chance of seeing the larger predators like lions, leopards and wild dogs as they tend to operate a kilometer or so inland from the Chobe River. The reasons for this are twofold.
Firstly, the Chobe River is home to some immense crocodiles and the land-based predators are wise enough to seek water from the waterholes rather than risk ambush from a fellow predator.
Secondly, the big cats and wild dogs know that lots of the plains game (especially in the very dry months) will move back and forth from the river during the day and the thicker vegetation is the perfect cover.
Thursday, November 12:
Today we’ll take a charter flight to our bush camp. Here the adventure ramps up!
The rustic camp is on the edge of a seasonal island and is situated in the southern section of a vast concession occupied by a handful of other lodges. The area directly around the camp is one of the best game viewing areas in the whole of Botswana and the safari experience is hugely enhanced when you add the tracking skills of the local Bushman driver guides and trackers.
Friday, November 13 through Monday, November 16:
The next few days will have us staying in the bush and actively looking for predators and other wildlife.
Game drives are in open-sided vehicles, include off road driving, and are the best way to have close-up viewing of the plentiful wildlife.
We’ll be accompanied by a guide and tracker team, with the tracker greatly enhancing the experience by being able to focus on finding and following fresh predator tracks.
Unlike most safari camps our drives do not have to be confined to staying in the vehicle. You are with the masters of the bush, and they will share with you their phenomenal tracking skills. If you are keen, you can take to foot along with your guide/tracker team to learn about the tracks they are following.
Walking safaris that allow us to focus on the small secrets of the bush are also an option. Our guide can teach us about spoor (tracks), scat, and other signs of wildlife. We’ll also learn about medicinal plants and the legendary Bushman survival skills.
Night game drives provide the opportunity to seek out nocturnal animals, increasing the diversity of species encountered. Night drives also increase the chance of seeing certain species when they are their most active. For example, sometimes the lions that sleep all day get on the move once darkness falls.
Typically, the afternoon game drive stops for a sundowner drink to enjoy the stunning sunset. The drive back to camp is then in the darkness while our tracker searches for animals. For guests who are interested, we can also arrange to do a night drive after dinner, increasing the chances of finding more nocturnal creatures.
Tuesday, November 17:
Wake once more to the primitive sounds of the African bush. Savor the experience you’ve had over the last nine days. Sadly, today we say goodbye to our camp and board a charter flight for Maun (airport code MUB).
WHAT YOU CAN LEARN ON THIS TOUR:
- How to handle fast action in a changing environment.
- How to photograph wildlife through vegetation.
- Metering tips.
- How to pan running wildlife.
- Tips for photographing wild raptors & other birds.
A note about instruction on my photo tours:
Since skills levels vary so much on photo tours, I tailor my teaching to individual needs. Please do not be shy about telling me what you need.
- 8 nights of accommodations (double-occupancy; single is available – email for details).
- Meals & drinks from arrival at our hotel on the Chobe to drop off at the Maun airport on the last day of the tour.
- Charter flights.
- Weight upgrade for charter flights (Note: even with this, weight is significantly limited)
- Private ground transportation from arrival to departure.
- Park entry & permit fees
- Drivers, spotters, and local guides.
- Jeff’s instruction, critiquing, and assistance.
- An extensive full-color dossier.
- Daily safaris.
- Use of specially-built photo boat.
WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED:
- Airfare to and from Botswana
- Travel insurance (optional but recommended)
- Medical expenses
- Laundry service
- Phone calls
- Any other personal items
LOGISTICS, EQUIPMENT & SUCH:
The bulk of the photography will be done while on safari in an open-air vehicle or photo boat, which requires no walking or carrying of gear. However, the vehicle does travel over rough dirt roads and sometimes does so very quickly when an animal is spotted and we’re trying to get to it.
Fly into Kasane International Airport in Kasane, Botswana ( airport code BBK ).
U.S. & Canadian citizens do not need a visa to visit Botswana.
You will receive an extensive dossier as your photo tour nears. Among lots of other information, it includes a list of suggested camera gear. In the meantime, here is the EQUIPMENT CHECKLIST (PDF) for this Scouting Trip to photograph the wildlife of Botswana.
If you have any questions about the minimum lenses, etc. that will get you through, don’t hesitate to ask!
Please note: I do not have a tripod on the list because most of our shooting is done from a vehicle & space is limited. In addition, luggage weight on charter flights is restrictive. (The tour does include a “weight upgrade,” but that still is relatively tight).
GENERAL INFO / SIGN UP:
- DATES: Monday, November 9 ~ Tuesday, November 17, 2020.
- SPACE FOR: Six (6) travelers
- PRICE FOR TOUR: $6995.00 ~ We’re offering this special low rate one time only because this is a scouting trip
- DEPOSIT AMOUNT: $1,500
- PAYMENT DUE DATES: A total of half the cost of the tour due 6-months before departure. Remaining balance due 90-days prior to start date of tour.
Please read our CANCELLATION POLICY before purchasing
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