BEST of BOTSWANA photo safari - May 2016
Posted by Wild4 Photo Safaris on 2nd Jun 2016
The "Best of Botswana" 2016 photo safari has just ended and it was interesting to see how dry the Okavango Delta was but also to see how full the Chobe River was, quite contrasting locations and very different to the 2015 trips.
Moremi Game Reserve was our first stop for 3 nights. Highlights in Moremi included two big male Lions, a Lion kill, great birdlife, a large herd of Cape Buffalo, Wattled Cranes and a very atmospheric visit to "Dead Tree Island".
Next stop on the tour was a 4 night stay in the Khwai community area where we were treated to a number of great Leopard sightings including one of a young female Leopard that used a dead tree as her vantage point to spy on some nearby Zebra. Hippo activity was excellent in the early morning and we caught them just before they re-entered the safety of the water. One night at 2am we heard a pack of Cape Hunting Dogs right behind our camp in what seemed to be an altercation with some Spotted hyaena's over a kill that we suspected the dogs had made. In the morning we were able to catch up with the Dogs and followed them around for nearly 3 hours as they looked like they wanted to hunt again. They soon settled down to avoid the heat of the day and we again picked them up in the late afternoon. Birdlife in Khwai was also very good.
Our third stop on the trip was the special area in the Chobe Game reserve known as Savuti. Here we were treated to a number of excellent sightings of both the Marsh and Harvey's Pan Lion prides. The marsh pride had pulled down a Cape Buffalo in a small waterhole and we watched the interesting dynamics between and behaviours of the males, females and two small cubs as they all tried to get their share of the carcass.
The Harvey's Pan pride consisted of two adult females, 7 cubs and two males. On our final morning we were treated to a fantastic photo opportunity as the pride drank from a small pan, beautiful light and reflections too.
Life in camp is always a special experieince on the Botswana trips, it was getting cool at night but then the campfire was even more enjoyable.
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.
There was a lot more water in the river this year compared with last year, but the Chobe still offered great photo opportunites with Elephants, Hippos, Crocodile, Puku Antelope and of course the multitude of water birds found here.
Our final morning was spent at the Yellow Billed Stork nesting colony which has just started to become active.
Thank you so much again to a great safari with Letaka Safaris and our excellent guides, Nkosi and Lucas as well as the amazing camp team - T-Man, Mula and Banda.
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 the "Best of Botswana" Photo Safari, CK, Pok Zin, Rita, John, Rob & Sue.. it was a pleasure to have travelled with you and shared some amazing sightings together.
Here are some photos from the trip - enjoy
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On arrival we were treated as part of the family by Stu Porter, his wife Justyna, and parents John and Ann. The conditions for finding and photographing everything from small birds to large game was perfect – a 500mm lens on hire from Stu, a specially equipped vehicle, which was referred to as a hide on wheels ( with only 3 photographers) , a dedicated and professional approach to photography and plenty of time. We would set off at sunrise, find a group of lions as they were beginning to yawn and stir from sleep, or a pair of saddle-billed storks building a nest, and quietly move our cameras into position. The initial sighting was accompanied by the rapid firing of shutters, but then we would wait as long as necessary in the hope of getting further shots. Stu was very sensitive to our needs and would only make suggestions about the best camera settings if he thought we needed his advice. His awareness of how animals behave was very useful in planning our shots. Stu’s knowledge of African Wildlife and skill as a wildlife photographer is second to none, and I have learned a lot from his expertise. I am delighted with my photos !! This was the trip of a lifetime, good accommodation, delicious food and great company. It was altogether a wonderful, challenging and thrilling experience and, if you are looking for a photo safari in Africa, I too recommend you contact Stu Porter at Wild4.
David Austwick, UK
Many thanks for a fantastically organised photo safari. The attention to detail, not to mention your patience & enthusiasm (and humour) has made the trip superb. We're delighted we chose Wild4. Kind regards.
Dom & Jules, UK