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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Any aspiring photographer who has not yet been on a wildlife safari should join a WILD4 with Stu and Justyna Porter. You will be guided by a graduate professional photographer who is also a highly-qualified South African field guide. Stu's knowledge of photography and his understanding of African wildlife are exceptional. He is also blessed with an amazing spotter's eyesight. I often thought to myself, how on earth did he see that! As each day begins all these talents are passed on with sincerity and quiet enthusiasm to each photographer's needs. Nothing is ever too much trouble and his positioning of the vehicle for the best light and animal profile is always his first consideration. On our tour there were times for laughter and many times when action and adrenalin ran high. Any successful safari is only as good as its backup team. This family company is most ably supported by Stu's wife Justyna who is the drive behind the scenes and efficiently arranges the accommodation and all the logistics. Stu's mother, Ann Porter provides excellent food for the day in the park and around the campfire at night. Both are qualified field guides and their spotting abilities add greatly to each day's safari. This particular trip was most rewarding in both personal and photographic terms and one of the best we have ever enjoyed. Sincere thanks to you all.
Slim & Barbara Callaghan, UK
I found Wild4 through an article in Popular Photography magazine about how to choose a photo safari. They were one of five recommended in the article. After checking them all out, I saw that Stu and Wild4 offered the kind of experience that I wanted: 1) Small groups of dedicated photographers 2) Variety in wildlife viewing 3) Tuition on photography and wildlife behavior 4) Good communication and organisation. I can say that Wild4 met and exceeded all expectations on all points (and then some). 1) We used one vehicle for three photographers. Stu is a trained photographer himself, so his goal was always to get us into the best position with the best light. Having only three on the tour meant plenty of room for equipment and the ability to shoot from either side of the vehicle when surrounded by a herd of elephants! It also gave us the flexibility to be patient and wait for the shot. 2) The three places we visited each provided a unique experience and wonderful variety in scenery and wildlife viewing. 3) Stu's tuition was excellent. It was there if we needed it but never pushed. Tips, reminders, anecdotes on wildlife behavior. All given with patience and good humor. 4) From the first email, the communication was timely & clear. Justyna was a joy to work with and handled the back-office part of the tour seamlessly. It can't be as easy as she makes it seem. Wild4 didn't provide the wildlife or the spectacular sunsets that we experienced, but they put us in position to enjoy and capture a little piece of it in our cameras and in our memories. Our Safari was amazing and I would not have changed a thing…well, maybe I would have eaten a little less. If you're looking for a Photo Safari, there is nothing to consider. Just go ahead and contact Wild4 Photographic Safaris. You will not be sorry.
Doug Croft, USA