Authentic small group photo tours to South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana and Namibia
BEST of BOTSWANA photo safari - June 2016
Posted by Wild4 Photo Safaris on 5th Jul 2016
Our second "Best of Botswana" 2016 photo safari has just ended and although only a few weeks since the last trip, the water level in the delta was up whilst the water level on the Chobe River was down - nearly 2 meters !! Once again this shows how unpredictable things are when dealing with mother nature. Regardless of the water level, the trip was a great success.
We first spent 4 nights in Moremi. Highlights in Moremi included a huge gathering of over 60 Fish Eagles around one big pan on Dead Tree Island, Side Striped Jackal, Pied Avocet, Banded Mongoose and a sighting of a lifetime - Lions bringing down an adult bull Cape Buffalo. When we arrived on the scene the struggle might have already been going on for a couple of hours based on how exhausted both the Lions and the Buffalo were. The Lions had also managed to bite through the Buffalo's tendons in both of its back legs, unfortunately this sealed the poor buffalo's fate and it was only a matter of time. Over 1hr 30mins later the Buffalo succumbed, and we were all relieved that his ordeal was finally over. I have never seen an animal put up such a fight and it was truly humbling to watch.
We went to sleep listening to the sounds of the bush wondering what we might find at the kill site in the morning. The Lions that had made the kill - two adult females and 3 sub adults were no where to be seen, instead we found 3 adult males and a female that must have chased the other lions off and stolen their hard fought prize.
We then spent the entire morning at the carcass, watching the feeding behaviour, dominance behaviour of the one male over the others and then when it got warm and the Lions were hot and full, we enjoyed watching the vultures doing their best to steal the kill. Despite each of the Lions taking their turn to defend the kill from the vultures, the need for shade and rest final won and the Lions left the kill. Known as "natures clean up crew" for good reason, the vultures frenzied feeding left very little of the carcass.
Next stop was the Khwai community area. Highlights here were a beautiful young male Leopard (the brother of the young female we saw in May), running Hartebeest, excellent Hippo and Elephant, saddle billed storks and a full morning spent with the Machaba female Leopard who attempted to stalk up on some Reedbuck out in the marsh.
On our final morning we left Khwai early and headed to the area of a reported Cape Hunting Dog Den site. Our luck was in today as the adults and the puppies were in full view and right next to the road, we had an incredible sighting of these endangered carnivores and very special indeed !!
Savuti was our third destination. Again there was a big difference in the water levels of the pans that support life in Savuti at this time of the year. The pans near the Marsh that we had visited and seen the Lions with their Buffalo Kill on the last trip had all dried out, so we concentrated our game drives on the area around Harvey's Pan where there was still quite a bit of water available. We caught up with the Lion Pride we saw on the last trip. All the small cubs were still accounted for, but I think thankfully the small cub we had seen with the broken leg had passed away. Great Elephants, Giraffe, a Male Greater Kudu covering his horns in the wet mud.
Our flight from Savuti to Kasane and the Chobe River was a quick 35 mins and after lunch we headed out on our first afternoon boat ride on the Chobe in the special Pangolin Photo Boat.
As mentioned before the water level was down by nearly 2 meters but this had no impact at all on our sightings.. on our first afternnon outing we notched up 25 different species, almost all of which oofered good photo opportunities. How better to start than with a beautiful Malachite Kingfisher less than 3 meters from us !!. Highlights included great African Jacanas with chicks, African Darter, Pied Kingfisher with fish, Bathing Fish Eagles, hunting Fish Eagles, hundreds of Elephants, Hippo, Chacma baboons, Kudu and Impala drinking, Lions, Purple Heron, African Skimmers, Pygmy Goose, Cape Buffalo, Crocodiles, Little Bee Eaters, Puku Antelope and a final morning visit to the yellow Billed Stork nesting colony which had a few visible chicks.
Thank you so much again to a great adventure with Letaka Safaris and our excellent guides, Nkosi and Shadrek as well as the amazing camp team - Mula, Banda and Dreams !!!
Many thanks also to Pangolin Photo Safaris and our boat captain Shuur !! thanks for yet another great stay at the river.
Finally thanks to all the participants for joining us on this Photo Safari, Denny, Vinny, Debbie, Don, Ken and Mike.. it was a pleasure to have travelled with you and shared some incredibly amazing sightings together.
Fantastic images! Thanks again for a wonderful experience and all your help. along the way.
Mike McDermott - July 07th, 2016 at 9:28pm
Where do I start. I have enjoyed photographic safaries in Kenys, Tanzania, and South Africa but I cannot express how GREAT this experience was. The different areas on the delta all had amazing animals and diversity of climate from Moremi to the river envirornment of Khwai and then to the sand and dryness of Savuti. But the the time spent on the Chobe Riber was the best experience I have ever spent in Africa. Stu, Justyna you are the best! and not to forget Letaks, Pangolin and out great guides. I would highly recommend this safari to everyone. It’s a buffet of africa you will never forget.
Denny Donohue - July 26th, 2016 at 1:09pm
Eleven days in tented camps in three different locations is too hard to describe. It must be lived and experienced to truly appreciate and understand. Then onto the Chobe river and a specially outfitted photographic boat. What an amazing trip. Stu and all the others, I cannot thank you enough.
Vinny Berdar - September 17th, 2016 at 1:45pm
Fantastic as usual. Always love to see your pictures. If possible if you con post the settings as you use to do it in past
Ulhas Mayekar - December 23rd, 2016 at 1:22pm
This was truly a fantastic safari. The camping experience gave us the feel of being closer to nature as opposed to being in a lodge without really roughing it and the camp food was superior to the lodge buffets. The photographic opportunities were great throughout the safari and our time on the Chobe River was exceptional. As a veteran of 13 safaris to other locations in Africa I can say this was fantastic.
Don Getty - April 03rd, 2017 at 9:17pm
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Justyna and Stu - I just wanted to take a moment to express my sincere thanks for again arranging a simply marvelous trip for us. It was perfect in all respects. And we were blessed with some truly amazing animal behavior to photograph. We had great skies, great camps, GREAT guides in David and Mamai, and great everything else. (including the new photo land cruiser)
Bruce Hollingsworth, USA
I have enjoyed photographic safaris in Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa but I cannot express how GREAT the “BEST of BOTSWANA” trip was. The different areas on the delta all had amazing animals and diversity of climate from Moremi to the river environment of Khwai and then to the sand and dryness of Savuti. But the the time spent on the Chobe River was the best experience I have ever spent in Africa. Stu, Justyna you are the best! Thanks also to Letaka, Pangolin and our great guides. I would highly recommend this safari to everyone. It's a buffet of Africa you will never forget.