Best of Botswana Photo Safari July 2023
US$ TBC Sharing
US$ TBC Single
US$ 3,000 Deposit
PLACES VISITED: Moremi Game Reserve (Okavango Delta) / Savuti (Chobe National Park) / Chobe River
PHOTOGRAPHIC SKILL LEVEL: Any level from beginner to advanced - photo tuition and guidance is offered on this safari
PHOTO TOUR LEADER: Stu Porter
This 13-day photographic safari begins in Johannesburg, South Africa with a flight into Maun, the safari capital of Botswana. From here we will set off on a 13-day photo adventure to explore some of Botswana's best photo locations—the Okavango Delta, Savuti, and the mighty Chobe River.
On arrival in Maun, we are met by our bush pilot, who will transfer us into the heart of the Moremi Game Reserve. A bird’s-eye view of the Okavango Delta is a great way to grasp the immense scale of this wildlife paradise, one of the last intact wilderness areas left in the world, and a photographers playground.
The Okavango Delta begins in Southern Angola and crosses Namibia's Caprivi Strip. It then spreads out over the Kalahari sands, forming a 15 000-square kilometre alluvial fan. The formation of the delta dates back nearly two million years.
Based at our private campsite, which is set up for our group only, we will explore the Xini area of Moremi. Noted for its beautiful seasonal floodplains and many lagoons, this area is very remote and wild.
Our next stop will be near the Khwai River, the eastern-most river of the Okavango Delta. This area offers excellent wildlife concentrations. Elephants come from miles around to drink, pods of Hippos are common, and the semi-aquatic Red Lechwe occupy the river’s floodplains. Lion prides along the riverfront are regularly seen. It is also one of the best places to see and photograph Leopards and the African Wild Dog.
From the Khwai River, we move north and east away from the Delta and through the Mababe Depression to Savuti, a vast thirsty land known for its Lion and Hyaena densities and made famous by films such as “Eternal Enemies” and the BBC's “Planet Earth” series. Savuti is an area within the Chobe National Park and is famous for its dry Marsh and the Savuti Channel.
This is a good area for African Wild Dog and Cheetah. San art dating back 4000 years can be seen on one of the hills.
Our final destination on the photo tour is the great Chobe River, which we reach by plane. Here we spend our photographic time on a private boat specially designed for photographers. Morning and afternoon sessions of 3 hours each will provide many great photo opportunities of birds and animals that come down to the river to drink.
The photo safari will end with a flight from Kasane back to Johannesburg.
This is an exclusive small-group photo safari with a maximum of 6 participants in 2 private vehicles (3 participants per vehicle). This will offer you plenty of space for equipment and guaranteed access to both sides of the safari vehicle.
Stu Porter will lead the tour and will alternate between the vehicles each day to offer photo tuition and guidance.
You will have a good chance to see and photograph the following animals:
Lion, Leopard, African Wild Dog, Elephant, Cape Buffalo, Hippo, Spotted Hyena, Jackal, Crocodile, Giraffe, Zebra, Wildebeest, Red Lechwe, Sable Antelope, Chacma Baboon, Vervet Monkey, Warthog, and an excellent variety of birdlife.
***NB: Luggage for this safari needs to be in soft duffel-type bags, NOT hard cases. This is necessary for the road travel between the different destinations, as well as the short internal charter flights. The dust and waterproof NORTH FACE-type duffel bags are ideal.
Day 1 Depart from Johannesburg's OR Tambo International airport (mid-morning) and fly to Maun in Botswana arriving around midday. Transfer immediately to our charter flight into the heart of the Okavango Delta - Moremi Game Reserve (approx 20 mins flight time) where we will be met by our guides and safari vehicles. Game drive with photography on the way to our private campsite. (overnight in Moremi for 6 nights in two different locations)
Day 2 Morning & Afternoon photo game drives in Moremi
Day 3 Morning & Afternoon photo game drives in Moremi
Day 4 Depart Moremi for the Khwai River (by road), photographing as we go, arriving at our second campsite in the late afternoon
Day 5 Morning & Afternoon photographic game drives along the Khwai River
Day 6 Morning & Afternoon photographic game drives along the Khwai River
Day 7 Depart Khwai for Savuti (by road), photographing as we go, arriving in Savuti in the late afternoon (overnight in Savuti for 4 nights)
Day 8 Morning & Afternoon photo game drives in Savuti
Day 9 Morning & Afternoon photo game drives in Savuti
Day 10 Morning & Afternoon photo game drives in Savuti
Day 11 Depart Savuti after a short morning drive for Chobe (by air), arriving in time for lunch at our Hotel in Chobe - 3hr Afternoon boat ride on the Chobe River (overnight in Chobe for 2 nights)
Day 12 3hr Morning & 3hr Afternoon photo boat ride on the Chobe River
Day 13 3hr Morning Boat ride on the Chobe River followed by breakfast and then depart from Kasane back to Johannesburg arriving in Johannesburg in the mid-afternoon. Connect with your international flights home.
- Regional flight from JHB to Maun and from Kasane back to JHB
- 6 nights Moremi (BLD) + Drinks
- 4 nights Savuti (BLD) + Drinks
- 2 nights Chobe River (BLD) + Drinks
- Meals as indicated: (B = Breakfast L = Lunch D = Dinner)
- The following drinks are included: local Beer, House Wine, soft drinks (Soda) bottled still and sparkling water **Spirits and Cocktails are NOT INCLUDED**
- All park entrance fees
- All road transfers & charter flights within Botswana as detailed in the itinerary
- Private use of 4x4 Landcruisers with qualified local guides
- Laundry is included ** you must wash your own "smalls", ie underwear & socks** when on the mobile camping section
- Professional photographic tuition
- All meals, drinks & laundry not indicated
- Tips / gratuities for camp / lodge staff and for your driver / guide - see FAQ's
- Visa fees
- Personal medical, travel (including trip cancellation) & photographic equipment insurance
- Any extra nights of accommodation before or after the photo safari - we can arrange these for you and add it to your statement.
- INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS
- Optional Extension to Victoria Falls
MOREMI, KHWAI & SAVUTI - LODGING & TRANSPORT
Accommodation in Moremi, and Savuti will be in an expedition style mobile tented camp, specially set up for our group in a private campsite. This is the way the first explorers visited this vast wilderness and it is common to have elephants, hyaena and other nocturnal animals in the camp at night. You will drift off to sleep accompanied by the real sounds of the African Bush, Hyaena's whooping and Lions roaring !!
This camp is comfortable, exciting and adventurous, but it is not luxurious.
We will have the exclusive use of 4x4 TOYOTA Land Cruiser safari vehicles with 3 photographers in each vehicle. Stu will be seated next to the driver/guide and will rotate between the two vehicles to offer photographic assistance. The safari vehicles are specially designed for photography with an adjustable platform and beanbag creating a stable shooting position for long lenses.
CHOBE RIVER - LODGING & TRANSPORT
For the two nights spent at the Chobe River, we will be staying at the Pangolin Hotel and will make use of their specially designed photo boats for all our boat rides. Boat rides which last 3 hours will be done in the early morning and the afternoon to make use of the best available light.
The flight from Johannesburg to Maun and from Kasane back to Johannesburg is approx 2 hours
There will also be two short internal flights in smaller aircraft:
1) Maun to Moremi (20mins)
2) Savuti to Kasane (45 mins)
The weather in Botswana at this time of year (June / July) is very pleasant, cool evenings and mild warm days up to 28 C or 82 F. The skies are clear and the air is crisp and clean. It can actually feel rather cold on the early morning game drives where warm jackets, gloves and warm hats are essential.
We have a more detailed kit list which we will send out to you at the time of registration.
For the first 10 nights of the safari whilst we stay at the expedition-style camps, there is no main electrical power. The vehicles we use have inverters that can handle all our recharging needs as long as we are sensible about when and how much we re-charge. The recommended way is to charge up camera batteries, cell phones / iPads whilst we are out on game drives. We usually return to camp at midday and this is when we recommend laptops are charged (at the same time downloading can be done).
We will run extension cords from the vehicles to a charging station. When we return in the evening, there will be another opportunity to recharge Laptops and download images. Power is available but it is limited, as long as we are sensible with how we re-charge there will be no problems. The hotel in Chobe and at the Victoria Falls (if doing the extension) will have electric points in the rooms.
The daily routine at all the mobile camp locations look something like this: wake up at 05:45, then meet up for a small breakfast at 06:15. We will then depart just before sunrise. We will stop at a convenient time in the morning to stretch legs and have a cup of tea/coffee and some cookies. We will return to the camp at around midday for lunch and a short break. We head out again in the afternoon and return to camp at around 17:30. Dinner will be between 18:30 and 19:00
On the Chobe River we will be doing boat rides in the mornings and afternoons. Each ride is around 3hrs long. There will be a basic breakfast before we go out in the mornings. When we return, we will enjoy a brunch. Tea and cake is served before the afternoon boat ride followed by a delicious dinner at 19:00
Officially there is NO OFF ROAD DRIVING allowed. Your guide is required to stay on official roads and tracks. You can be assured that your driver / guide wants to show you the animals and get you into the best photographic position. The guides we use are very experienced and they respect the environment and the comfort levels of the wildlife.
On this photo safari it is ESSENTIAL that you bring a duffel type bag for your main luggage (not hard suitcases - they are not allowed on the internal flights within Botswana) We have managed to negotiate a total weight allowance of 35 kgs (77 pounds) per person (this includes your camera equipment)
Please note that for the first 10 nights of the safari we will be in the Mobile Expedition camp and laundry is free of charge, so you do not need a lot of clothing for this safari, please keep it to a minimum. A normal Think Tank type camera bag (airport accelerator) should carry the amount of equipment you need.
The safari begins in Johannesburg with a flight to Maun in Botswana which is around 2hrs
On arrival in Maun we will catch our charter flight into Moremi, this is a 25 min flight.
From Savuti we fly to the Chobe River (Kasane), this is a 40 min flight
From Kasane we fly back to Johannesburg this is a 2 hr flight
If doing the extension to Victoria Falls, you will have a road transfer from Kasane to Victoria falls (approx 2 hrs 30 mins)
The flight from Victoria Falls back to Johannesburg is a 2 hr flight
As a photo safari company, we believe it is crucial to offer our clients a stable photographic platform on safari vehicles. In this regard, we have invested in our own professional photo beanbag system which we use in the vehicles in Kenya. These beanbags allow you to enjoy a comfortable shooting position from both sides of the safari vehicle and when photographing from the roof in a standing position.
Along with the complimentary use of our beanbags, we also offer each client the complimentary use of one VISUAL ECHOES PANNING PLATE which allows you to pan smoothly from left to right and lifts the focus & zoom rings of your lens off the bean bag enabling better focus and better control of your zoom. (Please view the "TRANSPORT & LODGING" tab for photos). Remember that you will often sit and wait patiently for long periods for a shot to present itself, so being comfortable is very important.
The general rule for all the locations is that you can leave just before sunrise (around 06:30) and return just after sunset (around 17:30)
Yes, there is a laundry service available at all locations. Laundry whilst on the first 10 nights in our expedition-style camps is included but you must wash your own "smalls" i.e. your underwear & socks. Whilst staying at the hotel in Chobe and in Victoria Falls on the extension, any laundry charges will be added to your room which you need to settle on the day of departure.
There is no wifi available when on the 10 night mobile camping section of the photo safari. There is free wifi available at the Chobe River Hotel as well as on the Victoria Falls extension.
Tipping is a safari tradition in Africa. We respectfully request that you follow our guidelines regarding tipping as it helps to set a standard across all of our photo safaris.
Any form of gratuity should be earned by the recipient through excellent service and for effort beyond their job description. If for any reason you do not feel comfortable tipping then please let your tour leader know.
We do our utmost to source quality safari companies/lodges and guides who have a similar work ethic and passion to us. The staff and guides work extremely hard to make sure we have a good time and they are incredibly patient and flexible.
We will send you a detailed recommended tipping policy for this photo tour in your Arrival Information Document, which will be sent to you 2 weeks before the start of your photo safari.
It is best to contact the embassy of the country you will be travelling to, and double-check to see what their latest policies are with regards to Visas and whether you should apply for them before you travel or if you can obtain them at the port of entry.
Smoking is not allowed in the safari vehicle and generally, it is not a very good idea to smoke in the bush as the grass is often tinder dry and bush fires can start easily. We do not take specific breaks for smoking either, but we will stop at relevant times for everyone to have a break and stretch their legs or have a cup of coffee. This would be your opportunity to have a smoke break. We ask you to respect the environment and carry your cigarette ends away with you.
Spending long hours in the safari vehicles will inevitably end up in folks needed a bathroom stop. We have to respect the rules of the different parks when it comes to this and these rules will be explained before the start of each safari. Generally, the safari saying of "any tree is a lavatree (lavatory)" goes. We will make sure we stop in a safe location for the comfort break.
The Kruger National Park is the only location that has proper washroom facilities at designated picnic sites or in the camps, and as per the rules of the park, we are required to stop at these specific places, not anywhere in the bush. Botswana, Kenya and Tanzania have limited facilities, and stopping at an appropriate place in the bush is allowed.
All of our safaris have emergency procedures in place. We will have contact with the office via either radio, cell phone or satellite phone. The office would then dispatch the relevant help - be it medical or otherwise.
In the case of medical assistance, the initial recovery from the field to the most relevant medical facility would be covered by our safari insurance. Your medical insurance would need to cover you for all other expenses.
Yes, we can cater for special medical dietary requirements, but you need to inform us of these requirements when you register. We will then be able to inform the lodges/camps we will be staying at about your requests well in advance.
Depending on what your special requirements are there may be a surcharge for this service.
Your time on safari is YOURS, you can feel free to use it as you wish. However, I can confidently say that very few people have ever opted to sleep in or spend time at the pool. This is a photo safari after all. Our main reason for being on the safari is to spend every possible minute doing photography so leisure time is not something people normally request.
On occasion people have wanted to sleep in on one day or skip an afternoon game drive, this is entirely up to you. However please note that we will not change our usual schedule to accommodate "leisure time" If for example, you decided to sleep in, you would not have the right to request the vehicle to come back and collect you at a more convenient time.
The photographers who go out with the vehicle can decide when to return. If you have a private vehicle to yourself then you can do as you please.
Credit Cards are by far the most convenient 90% of the time. Bringing along some cash as a backup is also a good idea. US$ are readily accepted in most African Countries and can also be used in some local shops (**Please note that there are some exceptions like South Africa and Namibia - both of these countries DO NOT ALLOW the use of US$ in their economy.
** If you are unsure please ASK us about which option is most suitable for the safari you are doing.
As far as tipping goes (more on the tipping section) you could separate it into the following two scenarios:
1) Your Local Driver / Guide / Ranger: - this can be done in US$ - CASH only
2) Lodge / Camp staff
> Kenya - this can be done in US$ - CASH or CARD
> Tanzania - this can be done in US$ - CASH only
> Botswana - this can be done in US$ - CASH only
> South Africa - this can be done in US$ - CASH or CARD ** this depends on the actual accommodation used - please ask us for clarity **
> Namibia - this can be done in US$ - CASH or CARD ** this depends on the actual accommodation used - please ask us for clarity **
Any other major foreign currency will also be readily accepted (EURO, GBP)
If you have any concerns please contact us and we will clarify it for you further.
All of our scheduled photo safaris (except for Namibia) are vehicle-based for the majority of the time. You will need to be in reasonable health but we will not undergo any long walks or hikes unless you personally choose to do so, or unless it is detailed in the safari description. Our extensions and custom safaris might warrant a different fitness level - please ask us for more details about the fitness level required for your specific custom photo safari or chosen extension.
Our Landscape tours of Namibia do require a fairly good level of fitness to get the most out of them. There is a lot of sand in Namibia and walking in this sand and up sand dunes are part of the trip. If you have more questions about fitness levels PLEASE ask us before signing up on any of our safaris.
On any trip to Africa, there is a risk of getting Malaria. Some areas have a higher risk than others. As we are not medical doctors we cannot advise you about whether or not you should take malaria medication. Our advice is to consult your local doctor or travel clinic and ask them for their opinion based on the most up to date and relevant information regarding malaria as well as any other potential diseases.
This is a topic you would need to consult a doctor or travel clinic about as details of these change on an ongoing basis. Be sure to ask your doctor or clinic about YELLOW FEVER as it is relevant in some of the countries we visit.
We highly recommend that you contact your doctor or clinic as soon as you can after registering to do a photo safari with us.
Yes, we do spend time photographing birds.
On our photo safaris, we will be stopping for "the large and colourful birds". If you would like to try and cover the birds in more detail then we recommend you travel with a like-minded photographer or that you book out a private safari vehicle so that you can go entirely at your own pace.
The pace of a regular photo safari compared with a bird photo safari is very different. If you do stop for every single bird no matter the distance or size, you will fall far behind the other vehicles who might find other sightings that you might not be able to get to in time. You would need to understand this and know that you cannot be everywhere at the same time and you will miss out on other sightings and photo opportunities. Also be aware that if you are sharing a vehicle with other photographers that you do not know, they may not be as interested in stopping for every single bird.
In general, we would recommend that you stick to bottled drinking water on all the safaris. In Kenya and Tanzania, this also includes brushing your teeth with bottled water. In South Africa it is possible to drink the local water and brush your teeth with it, so the risk of getting ill is small, however, we still recommend you drink bottled water.
Yes, the vehicles in our group are in radio contact with each other and we do pass on relevant information about photo opportunities to each other.
Our local guides are also excellent at acquiring any relevant pieces of information from their colleagues and friends. In Kenya, our guides do make use of cell phones to relay relevant information when radio comms are weak.
Each country has its own electrical and plug system. After you have registered to do a photo safari with us, we will send you our "PLUG & VOLTAGE" document which will explain this topic in more detail.
YES, it is possible to add on an extension to any of our safaris if you wanted to stay longer or visit a different place. There are some extension suggestions on the photo safari pages under the "EXTENSIONS" tab. Please ask us if you need help with this.
Alternatively, you can also request a specific extension that you might like to do and we will gladly set this up for you.
Yes this is possible to arrange for you - please ask us at the time of registration
Yes, this is possible to arrange, there will, of course, be a surcharge for the exclusive use of the safari vehicle, please ask us what this would be for the safari you are interested in.
Having worked with many different guides in different locations I have found that it is always nice and refreshing to have a guide with new ideas and suggestions and work together to achieve new images. It is also important though that the basics are understood by all the guides we use on our photo safaris which is why my training manual came to be.
The manual covers the basics of how to guide photographers, looking at the light, the distance from the subject and parking in a position to predict the animals next move. The manual also illustrates "in the field examples" so that guides know what we photographers are talking about when we say "can we move 1 meter forward, my background is not good from this position, etc etc..." !!
The manual has a big section on communication - this is the key to a successful safari. Both guides and photographers need to know what is going on so that they can prepare for potential situations, never assume, always ask, it will allow you to achieve more successful images.
We secure the use of "Private" Photographic vehicles on all of our safaris. This is a very important element of a successful photographic safari. Essentially it means that you will not share the vehicle with other guests staying at the lodge/camp who are not part of our group. Regular safari clients and nature photographers do not mix very well. You will want to stay for extended periods at a sighting waiting for the best photo opportunities.
Many regular safari clients just want to see an animal, take one picture and leave to go and look for more animals to tick off their list. We avoid this by securing private safari vehicles at all locations. Understandably there is a surcharge to hire these vehicles as the lodge or camp has to issue a specific vehicle and guide for our group and the vehicle is not filled with up to 9 people as it often is on regular safaris. In our case, there will only be a maximum of up to 3 photographers per safari vehicle.
Our full booking terms and conditions are found at this link on our website:
Authentic photographic safaris, by their very nature, have to be flexible. We do our utmost to accommodate our client's needs and requests which are very different from regular safari clients. We take each day as it comes and yes we are able to be flexible and stay out all day if a particular situation warrants it.
For example, if we are far from camp and are patiently waiting for a Leopard to descend a tree, a Cheetah to hunt or a group of Wildebeest to cross the Mara River, then we will stay out. It is always a good idea to bring along some extra snack bars for these situations.
However, If there is nothing worthwhile waiting for and no particular need for us to stay out the whole day, we will return to the camp/lodge for lunch and a short break before heading out again once the animals start to become more active and the photographic light improves.
- Get in touch with us to confirm that there are still spaces available on the photo safari that you are interested in. Please fill out the “ENQUIRE” form on this page
- Once we confirm with you that there is space available, and you would like to join the safari, we will send you a direct link via email. This will allow you to sign up to our CLIENT AREA
- After you have registered with your name, email address and a password of your choice, you will then be able to complete our online booking form
To SUBMIT the booking form, you will need to have read, understood and agree to our booking terms and conditions.
If you would like to read our booking terms & conditions, they can be found here: BOOKING TERMS & CONDITIONS
Please note that each participant must complete their own booking form.
- Once your booking form has been submitted, you will then be required to make the deposit payment.
We offer two options for payment of the deposits:
- International Bank Transfer
Please note that ALL bank fees are for your account.
Bank fees for a Bank Transfer vary depending on your own bank but are usually in the region of US$ 50 to US$ 80
Payments through PayPal carry a 4% handling fee
- Your place/s on the safari will only be confirmed once we have received your completed booking form/s and deposit payment/s
- As soon as your booking form/s and deposit/s are with us, we will update your CLIENT AREA to display the outstanding balance amount, which will be due 90 days before the start date of the safari.
VICTORIA FALLS Extension - Zimbabwe
If you are interested in doing this 2-night extension to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, then please let us know at the time of your enquiry.
Stu Porter sometimes accompanies the extension, but clients most often complete the extension on their own. We will arrange all the logistics for you.
One of the 7 Natural Wonders of the world, Victoria Falls is only a couple of hours away from our final destination in Chobe.
After your final morning photoshoot on the boat & breakfast, we will arrange for you to have a road transfer from Kasane, to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.
You will have the opportunity to visit this famous waterfall as well as partake in the many activities that are on offer at the Falls, such as helicopter rides, white water rafting, sunset cruises, game drives, night drives, walk with Lions, elephant rides and more.
After your two night stay, you will have a road transfer to Victoria Falls airport for your flight back to Johannesburg, arriving in the mid-afternoon.
$ Please enquire
Day 1 - Depart after breakfast from Chobe by road to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. You would arrive at your hotel in time for lunch - afternoon at leisure doing some of the activities on offer (overnight Victoria Falls)
Day 2 - Full day spent at Victoria Falls, visiting the Falls and doing optional activities (overnight Victoria Falls)
Day 3 - Depart after a final morning activity and breakfast for Victoria Falls airport - fly back to Johannesburg arriving in the mid-afternoon. Connect with your international flight home.
INCLUDED in the package:
- Flights or road transfers can be included in this package (please let us know at the time of your enquiry)
- 02 nights at Ilala Lodge in Zimbabwe (B)
- Meals as indicated: (B = Breakfast L = Lunch D = Dinner)
NOT INCLUDED in the package:
- All meals not indicated
- All Drinks
- Visa Fees
- Change of Itinerary
- All activities such as entrance fees to the Victoria Falls, boat rides and Helicopter rides
The Pangolin specially modified Photographic Boat on the Chobe River Botswana
A short video clip by Stu Porter showing the amazing Pangolin Photo Boat on the Chobe River in Botswana. Wild4 African Photo Safaris, the small group specialists. Filmed by Stu Porter.
US$ TBC Sharing
US$ TBC Single
US$ 3,000 Deposit
12th - 24th Jul 2023
6 places available
- 12th - 24th Jul 2023
- 12 nights / 13 days
Tour Led By
Everything about my first Safari with Wild4 was so outstanding that I was afraid the second would pale in comparison. I needn't have worried! It was a huge success! Communications, details, accommodations all handled expertly by Justyna. Making sure that we got into the right situations and stayed with them long enough to get the shot handled incredibly by Stu. Susan was not a photographer when we began this journey, but Stu's patient tutoring assured that she came home with some fantastic photographs as well! Our heartfelt thanks to the whole Wild4 family! We'll be back...
Doug & Susan Croft, USA
Thank you again Stu for your trip report of our Botswana trip. It has been very useful to me as I go through my photographs and try to identify the birds especially. It has also given me ideas on how to treat some of my photographs of similar subjects, Also a big thank you in general for the technique guidance you have give me this year and for your fantastic decisions about anticipating animal behavior. My resulting photographs are largely due to your help and to travelling with you. You have had a significant impact on the quality of my photographs and I am very appreciative. Looking forward to hearing about your Tsavo trip. Regards
Sharon Thorp, Canada