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 have just returned from a fantastic custom safari to the Kruger with Wild4. This was my second trip in the Kruger with Wild4 and everything from start to finish was absolutely perfect. I absolutely cannot imagine doing this sort of trip there with anyone else. Things were off to a positive from way before we landed. Justyna was as helpful and patient as ever from day 1 and I must say that her suggestions were all spot on. Not only did she sort everything out for us and made it look easy (although I very much doubt it was), but the information she gave us prepared us well for the trip. As soon as we met up with Stefan after we arrived, we had nothing else to "worry" about except take pictures. He was not only great as a guide with his experience, sharp eyes, and genuine interest in wildlife becoming obvious quickly, but he was also excellent as a driver who knows what works and what doesn't photographically and was thus able to position the vehicle perfectly. It was not uncommon for one of us to just say a couple of words about what we wanted to try photographically and he'd immediatelly be on it, getting us in the perfect position while adhering to the rules and keeping the wildlife's interest as a top priority - something all members of the group I was in appreciated immensly. Thank you Stefan, Justyna, and Stu for making this trip happen for us! I look forward to being back with you guys in the future!
Matthew Scerri, Malta