Botswana 2023: Chobe River, Okavango Delta & Central Kalahari

Photography / Film Making Safari

in partnership with

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10 days  - 3 locations -  Chobe River, Okovango Delta, Central Kalahari

 

Dates: 01- 10 July 2023

 

2023 Rates - from £8995

Photography Tutor & Tour Host: Trai Anfield - wildlife photographer, film maker, travel writer and presenter of BBC's Living World

Category:   Wildlife - Photography - Film Making - Safari Tour - Botswana 

Botswana 2023 Highlights

  • Three of the country's premier wildlife destinations:​

    • Chobe River specialist photography boat, lodge & photo hide

    • Okavango Delta - mokoro, motor boat, walking and game drives

    • Central Kalahari - rarer species, hides, walks, drives, stars

  • Abundant and diverse range of wildlife throughout Botswana

  • Variety of habitats and landscapes

  • Great mix of photography boat, mokoro, vehicle & walking safaris

  • Exclusive use of specialist photography boat

  • Each photographer has a full row of seats in game vehicles

  • Optional astrophotography sessions

  • 1-2-1 photography tuition, reviews and post production session

  • presented in partnership with Botswana experts Pangolin Photo Safaris

  • every booking supports pangolin conservation charity

Our Botswana Locations

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What I Love About Botswana  

There is nowhere quite like Botswana for safari versatility! 

 

From our specialist photography boat on the Chobe River we have the chance to photograph massive herds of elephant from a truly unique perspective, as well as meeting crocs and hippos eye to eye!  Birds are a huge draw along the river too, while a specially designed hide at the lodge allows us to continue our encounters with mammals and birds from the level of the water. 

 

As we lose ourselves in the fringes of the Okavango Delta, we really do feel like we're escaping the rest of the world, exploring by traditional mokoro and setting out in safari vehicles to find the predators that inhabit this intricate habitat network, while making the most of both day and night photographic opportunities.  

 

Lesser known species are the stars of the Central Kalahari, with the chance of seeing Kalahari lion, springbok, Oryx and brown hyena as well as smaller mammals such as honey badger, bat eared fox and porcupine.  Here we slow the pace right down, taking time to notice the small things on walking safaris, before capturing all the golden hour action and the stars and nocturnal species at night.

Immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of this wonderful country as we discover the very best of Botswana safaris!

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On The Water In Botswana: Modern and Traditional Craft

 

Pangolin Photography Boat

The Pangolin boat is the finest way to explore and photograph the Chobe River.  Each photo boat is fully equipped with specialist seating and camera stabilisation systems, and we will have exclusive use of one craft.

 

Mokoro

In contrast, the best way of exploring the Okavango Delta is by a traditional shallow draught mokoro.  The usual allocation is two photographers per mokoro with a guide and spotter.  No camera stabilisation is provided in these traditional canoes and we recommend camera neck straps or harnesses to be worn.   Please note that, for your safety, this activity is reliant on sufficient water depth.

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Our Botswana Locations

Three distinct, premier locations will give us a varied and enriching photographic experience.

The Chobe River

The Chobe River forms the International border with Namibia and drains into the great Zambezi River.  Here we find the greatest concentration of African Elephants on Earth, making this the ultimate destination to spend time with elephants.  But the river itself supports an abundance of other wildlife, including large herds of African Buffalo, Plain’s Zebra, Giraffe, Impala and Kudu, which in turn attract predators.  The sheer numbers of birdlife is extraordinary here, as are the large numbers of Nile crocodile and huge pods of Hippopotamus.

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Chobe Accommodation:  Pangolin Lodge

Our base for Chobe Riverfront is the Pangolin Lodge with its specialist photography boats and hide. Each morning and evening we embark on our own exclusive-use photographic boat.  Equipped with tripods, gimbals and swivelling seats this boat is a photographer's dream as it stealthily cruises the river, bringing us up close, at water level, with all the wildlife of the Chobe River system.  We will have some free time during the middle of the day and after dark to take advantage of some of the other photographic facilities at Pangolin, including a newly constructed water-level hide, and bespoke editing and presentation areas.

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The Okavango Delta

 

The Delta is rightly considered one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa, with its flooded plains providing sanctuary for many mammal species, including the 'Big Five' - lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo - plus cheetah and most notably African wild dogs, which in the past my groups have been incredibly lucky to track and photograph. 

In practical terms the delta may be thought of as a vast oasis in an otherwise arid country, and as such it has attracted over 400 bird species, with many residents, as well as rarer migrants, to be seen throughout the year.

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Okavango Accomodation

One of the most exciting and authentic ways to experience safari is exploring the Okavango Delta from a private and remote luxury camp.  With just four twin tents, each with ensuite bathroom facilities and hot bush showers, the camp will be exclusive to our group, so it's easy to feel that we've left the world behind and have become part of the landscape.  

For this departure we have chosen the Pangolin photo camp at Footsteps, Shinde.  There are no barriers or fences around our tents, so wildlife is free to wander around the camp area, and the resulting sounds, and smells of nature are every bit as electrifying as the sights!

On game drive here we use long wheel base vehicles with four rows of seats, and a maximum of 4 photographers in each, to ensure that every photographer has access to a full row of seats.

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Central Kalahari Reserve

Adding the Kalahari to our Botswana safari opens up a whole new landscape, ecosystem and variety of subjects.  Here black-maned lions grab the photographic headlines, as well as cheetah, which we love for their tendency to hunt through the day.  Black backed jackal provide much entertainment and some great photo opportunities around the waterhole hide, and there is also a chance of seeing shy bat eared fox, brown hyena and honey badger ...and if you're very lucky indeed aardwolf, aardvark and even pangolin are known to frequent the area.  

 

Surprisingly, given the Kalahari's lack of cover, the area around our camp has also recorded over 200 bird species including Kori Bustard, Crimson Breasted Shrike, Pale Chanting Goshawk and Ostrich.  When conditions are right, it is also a great area for astrophotography.

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Central Kalahari Accomodation

As with the Okavango Delta, we have chosen: a remote, luxury camp as our base for the third and final phase of our Botswana photography safari: the Pangolin photo camp at Dinaka.  

 

Here we will explore on morning and evening game drives and walks. As with all our camps, though, we can stay out for the full day (with picnic lunches) if the group prefers and we are on exciting sightings.  Our time is very much our own, not dictated by a rigid camp schedule. 

 

It is also worth highlighting that we only work with camps where off-roading at special sightings is allowed, and night drives too.  Once again our vehicles will accommodate one photographer per row of seating, and our camp here also has a bunker-style sunken hide. 

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BOOKING

Botswana 2023: Chobe River, Okavango Delta & Central Kalahari

Photography / Film Making Safari  

DATES & RATES

£8995 per person, based on sharing double or twin accommodation throughout

Limited single supplement may be available on request

 

Includes:

  • Airport meet and greet in Kasane

  • 3 nights at The Pangolin Chobe Hotel (Full board) – 1/2/3 July 2023

  • Twice daily activities on the Chobe river on a Pangolin Photo Boat and access to hide

  • 04 July charter flight from Kasane to the Okavango Delta

  • 4 nights at the Pangolin Photo Camp  (full board) – 4/5/6/7 July 2023

  • Twice daily game drives in 2 private vehicles

  • 08 July charter flight to Dinaka, Central Kalahari

  • 2 nights at Dinaka (Full board) – 8/9 July 2023

  • Twice daily game drives in 2 private vehicles, guided walks and use of the Dinaka bunker hide

  • 10 July charter flight from Dinaka to Maun

  • All park, landing and concession contributions

  • All photography / film making tuition with Trai Anfield

  • All meals and drinks

 

Excludes:

• Flights into Kasane and out of Maun

• Visas
• Tips & Gratuities to driver/guides/camp & lodge staff.
• Any items of a personal nature.

• Personal Travel & Medical Insurance

Recommended Equipment

Please Note: All luggage should be in soft bags for packing.

Trai Recommends The Following Photographic Gear:

  • Camera body (and a spare of some description is recommended just in case. . . accidents can happen!)

  • A telephoto covering 100-400mm is ideal for most safari photography, though if you're particularly interested in birds you may wish to extend your range to 500 or even 600mm. The wider end of the spectrum (anything from 14mm – 70mm) will give great shots that include some habitat context as well as your subject, and will also come in handy for night time astro photography, if conditions allow. You may also have the chance to use a macro lens, for instance on flora and insects.

    * Please note: if you would like to hire a lens for the trip we can recommend some reliable providers

  • Plenty of spare batteries and your charger

  • Plenty of spare cleared memory cards

  • Laptop and an external drive to download, backup, process and store your photographs. . . you will almost certainly fill your memory cards more than once!  If you wish to receive advice on editing your own photographs on the trip please bring a laptop loaded with the software you use – Trai is happy to demonstrate on her laptop but you will process your own.

  • A water & dust proof covering for your camera and lens – doesn’t have to be expensive: we use cheap transparent plastic ones from the internet – they do the job fine and have the bonus of being really light and re-usable on all your gear.  

  • A photographic bean bag is useful for support and stabilisation when shooting from the safari vehicles.  A good range is available online.  A monopod may be a good alternative, depending on personal preference.

  • A light tripod is necessary if you wish to participate in landscape and astro photography sessions.

  • A head torch and spare batteries is also advisable for night sessions (with a red light option if possible) and around the camp generally.

  • If you are bringing a new camera we recommend uploading the user manual to your smartphone.

Personal Items:

  • Sturdy Shoes/Boots, shoes suitable for water 

  • Wide brimmed hat or cap, warm hat

  • Long trousers, shorts

  • Long sleeve shirts, t-shirts

  • Fleece

  • Light water & windproof jacket

  • Sunglasses

  • Sun Screen factor 30+

  • Insect Repellent

  • Head Torch and Spare Batteries

  • Usual Spectacles, Medications/Sanitary Products - please carry extra in case of loss or spoiling

  • Cash for gratuities, tips etc for drivers, guides, camp staff etc