BEST of BOTSWANA photo safari - May 2014
Posted by Wild4 Photo Safaris on 25th May 2014
Botswana - a name that has always brought to mind the romance of wild Africa. This great trip certainly lived up to the Africa of old, in so many ways.
We were met at the Xakanaxa Airstrip in the Moremi Game Reserve by our guide Nkosi and expertly driven to our first expedition style tented camp amidst huge rain trees in the Xini Lagoon Region.
The privileged sightings from this camp included 2 lovely male cheetahs, a collection of ten different waterbird species fishing together at a small vanishing waterhole and a fantastic full moon rising/sunset scenario featuring a baobab tree.
After Xini we moved on to the Khwai area which is community owned. Off-road driving is permitted in Khwai, which added to the excitement. We had wonderful experiences with leopard here - one included a three month old cub at a kill with her mother, which was very special. Three baby hyaena entertained us when the early morning sun had lured them from their den and we were also lucky enough to encounter Cape Hunting Dogs up close which we managed to follow on a hunt until the vegetation and their speed defeated us. The camp here was delightful - situated next to the Khwai River under magnificent leadwood trees.
The Savuti area of the Chobe Game Reserve was our next stop - a wonderland of marsh, forest, grassland and sandveld. This time our camp was situated in a grove of Kalahari Apple Leaf trees and had a character all of its own. It was here that we encountered the marsh lion pride - all beautiful specimens with two sets of young cubs.
I would like to thank the Letaka team for all their hard work and great organisation. Our guide Nkosi was outstanding. His knowledge of all facets of the environment in which he works was amazing, as were his driving skills. His ability as a photographer helped so much in understanding our needs. Pula, the chef and chief camp organiser was truly phenomenal - the food he produced in camping conditions was incredible. He was ably assisted by Banda and Frans.
From Savuti we flew to the Chobe River Front for the final stage of our trip. Here we did early morning and late afternoon boat trips in a specially designed photo boat which had been cleverly adapted for photographers. Thanks to the ability of our boat captain - Shar, we got great shots of white fronted bee-eaters and yellow billed storks at their nests, fish eagles, hippos yawning and elephants playing and drinking in the river, to name a few. Many thanks to "Guts" of Pangolin Safaris for all his help and assistance in making this so special.
The "Best of Botswana" Photo safari is different to all our others in so many ways - this is the real Africa, massive remote areas away from crowds of people. The light is amazing and the smells are unique.
We will be offering a second departure in 2015 as the first departure is already sold out, please email us if you are interested in a space on the 2015 departure.
Regards to all
Enjoy some photos from the trip !!...
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Shopping for a travel adventure on the Web is somewhat risky, but when I wanted to go on an African photo safari, I really had no choice. I looked around and finally picked Wild4 Photographic Safaris for one reason: the vehicle. It was obvious that this was an outfit that understood photographic details and the needs of serious wildlife photographers. With a capacity for 10 passengers, the vehicle takes just three photographers. The three photographers' benches feature platforms to steady big lenses on both sides of the vehicle, and loads of storage space and pockets for lenses, bodies, accessories, binoculars, field guides, water, etc. I can not imagine a better platform for photography in the bush veldt. What is not as obvious in the on-line description is that the vehicle comes equipped with Stu Porter, the Wild4 owner and guide. Stu, who bears a striking resemblance to movie actor Matt Damon, is a deceptively shy young man with an encyclopaedic knowledge of Kruger National Park, its animals, geography, geology, climate, seasons, and, of course, rules. He also has the eyes of an eagle and is the best leopard spotter in South Africa. Stu's knowledge and patience are seemingly infinite, and he somehow manages to be aware both of his passengers' needs and everything around us. He does everything humanly possible to give you the opportunity to get the best shot. And if you need more than just the opportunity, he can instruct even the most seasoned photographer on technique. Stu grew up next to Kruger National Park, and his mother (who does the meal preparation for the safari) started taking him there as soon as he was old enough. He has been accumulating his knowledge of the park and its animals all his life, and that comes in very handy when you need to know something about animal behavior. In short, Wild4 Photographic Safaris is all about the vehicle, with spacious seats, shooting platforms and Stu Porter as standard equipment. You can't do better. Thank you, Stu!
George Cathcart, USA
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 www.dongettywildlifephotography.com, USA