Wild4 African Photographic Safaris

Wild4 African Photo Safaris

Specialist small group photo safaris to South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana and Namibia

BEST of BOTSWANA photo safari TRIP REPORT - April / May 2017

Posted by Wild4 Photo Safaris on 7th May 2017

An unusually heavy rainy season has resulted in a lot of the Okavangao Delta being underwater. Moremi Game Reserve and the Khwai concession were very wet indeed and this meant that a lot of the the regular roads were unpassable which restricted our game drives to certain areas. However regardless of how wet the delta was, we still managed to find an abundance of photo opportunties with birds featuring high on the list. Water bird activity was of course very busy and we spent a lot fo time with Fish Eagles, Saddle Billed storks, Squacco herons, Cormoroants and King fishers. Our first three nights were spent in the Xini area of Moremi which has a real sense of wilderness, we hardly bumped into a single car during our 3 days here. 

Next up was our 4 night stay in the Khwai Concession area. By far the highlight from Khwai was spending a number of hours on our own with a beautiful young male Leopard. The ability to follow animals off road in Khwai offers a great opportunitiy to get a bit closer to the wildlife. Apart from the Leopard, we were entertained by a troop of Baboons near our camp, a great sighting of the big Verreaux's Eagle Owl, the stunning Crimson Breasted Shrike, Greater Kudu, Cape Hunting dogs, Little Bee eaters and a Great Spotted Cuckoo being fed by its host mother, a Burchell's Starling.

Our third land based stop was three nights in the Savuti area of the Chobe National Park. Savuti was teeming with birds of prey and I have never seen so many Tawny Eages before. HIghlights here were two juvenile Secretary Birds still at their nest (although seemingly independant). We watched as an adult arrived and fed one of the large "chicks" with 3 or 4 baby birds, most likely, Francolin chicks. We also spent time with Dwarf and Yellow Mongoose, watched a Hornbill chick being fed by the adult at the nest, which was a dead tree lying on the ground !, saw a second pack of Cape Hunting Dogs, a Barn Owl in a tree cavity, Elephants at Harvey's pan, a Greater Painted Snipe !, Cape Buffalo, Giraffe and two Lionesses.

From Savuti we set off for the magnificent Chobe River for our final 2 nights. The river was the fullest I have ever seen it at this time of year and it did allow us to get closer to the edge of the river and photograph some of the animals coming down to drink. It also opened up some new channels which we were happy to explore. Birdlife is alway excellent at the Chobe River and we completed 4 boat rides on the special Pangolin Photo Boat with its custom designed swivel chairs and gimbal mounts, this is the best and only way to enjoy photography on the Chobe River !!

We had sightings of and photo opportunties with, Pied Kingfishers, African Darter, Reed Cormorant, Black Crake, Malachite Kingfishers, Giant Kingfisher, African Jacana, Allen's Gallinule (a first for me), Long toed Lapwing, Elephants, Hippo and African Fish Eagle building a nest.

But the highlight of the stay at the river and perhaps of the whole trip was spending time photographing a pride of lions (3 females and 2 males) who walked along the river front and were at times no more than 10m from us in the boat. One female then charged in on a Nile Monitor Lizard that had been warming up in the sun on the river bank. She chased and caught the lizard just before it reached the safety of the river. A really rare and very specdial sighting indeed !

So even though the conditions in the Delta were quite different to usual, it just goes to show that one never really knows what mother nature has in store for you.

A HUGE thanks goes to the Letaka Camp Staff team who looked after us so well for the first 10 nights of our trip, it is still a mystery as to how these guys manage to do all that they do and still have the energy to look after us with so much care and attention to detail. Thank you Musa for the amazing food !!, and to KP and KG for making sure every aspect of our camp life experieince was taken care of so that we could enjoy our experience to the fullest.

Of course without a master guide, we would not have achieved the photos that we did, and on this occasion our master was Nkosi !!, thanks so much for all your patience with positioning, and re-positioning the vehicle and finding that Leopard for us was an incredible piece of intuition, only achieved after decades of time guiding in the African wilderness, thanks Nkosi !!

Mr Shuur, our boat captiain on the Chobe, thank you so much for getting us in and out of sightings on the river and for those magical moments with the Lion pride.

And a final huge thanks to Guy, Cat and Richard for joining us on this Botswana adventure, it was a pleasure to meet you Richard and to travel once again with Guy & Cat, until the next time and another box of Jammy Dodgers !

Enjoy some photos from the trip !

Best wishes,

Stu

 

Reed Cormorants, Moremi
Reed Cormorants, Moremi
Hammerkop, Moremi
Hammerkop, Moremi
Saddle Billed Stork, Moremi
Saddle Billed Stork, Moremi
African Fish Eagle, Moremi
African Fish Eagle, Moremi
Crimson Breasted Shrike, Moremi
Crimson Breasted Shrike, Moremi
Baobab Tree, Moremi
Baobab Tree, Moremi
Squacco Heron, Moremi
Squacco Heron, Moremi
Greater Kudu Bull, Moremi
Greater Kudu Bull, Moremi
Impala Ram, Moremi
Impala Ram, Moremi
Little Bee eater, Moremi
Little Bee eater, Moremi
Grey Headed Kingfisher, Moremi
Grey Headed Kingfisher, Moremi
Young Impala, Moremi
Young Impala, Moremi
Cape Hunting Dogs, Moremi
Cape Hunting Dogs, Moremi
Chacma Baboons, Khwai
Chacma Baboons, Khwai
Young Baboon, Khwai
Young Baboon, Khwai
Baboon with a rarely photographed set of twins, Khwai
Baboon with a rarely photographed set of twins, Khwai
Pied King fisher, Khwai
Pied King fisher, Khwai
Southern Ground Hornbill, Khwai
Southern Ground Hornbill, Khwai
Great Spotted Cuckoo which with host mother, a Burchell's Starling, Khwai
Great Spotted Cuckoo which with host mother, a Burchell's Starling, Khwai
Verreaux's Eagle Owl, Khwai
Verreaux's Eagle Owl, Khwai
Young male Leopard, Khwai
Young male Leopard, Khwai
Young male Leopard, Khwai
Young male Leopard, Khwai
Young male Leopard, Khwai
Young male Leopard, Khwai
Young male Leopard, Khwai
Young male Leopard, Khwai
Red Billed Hornbill, Khwai
Red Billed Hornbill, Khwai
Little Bee-eaters, Khwai
Little Bee-eaters, Khwai
Young male Leopard, Khwai
Young male Leopard, Khwai
Yellow Billed Storks, Khwai
Yellow Billed Storks, Khwai
Open Billed Stork, Khwai
Open Billed Stork, Khwai
Verreaux's Eagle Owl at sunset, Khwai
Verreaux's Eagle Owl at sunset, Khwai
Brown Snake Eagle being mobbed by a Fork Tailed Drongo, Khwai
Brown Snake Eagle being mobbed by a Fork Tailed Drongo, Khwai
African Hoopoe, Khwai
African Hoopoe, Khwai
Lilac Breasted Roller, Khwai
Lilac Breasted Roller, Khwai
Red Billed Hornbill, Khwai
Red Billed Hornbill, Khwai
Juvenile Secretary Bird, Savuti
Juvenile Secretary Bird, Savuti
Adult feeding juvenile, Savuti
Adult feeding juvenile, Savuti
Second juvenile arriving at the nest, Savuti
Second juvenile arriving at the nest, Savuti
Tawny Eagles, Savuti
Tawny Eagles, Savuti
Yellow Mongoose, Savuti
Yellow Mongoose, Savuti
Dwarf Mongooses, Savuti
Dwarf Mongooses, Savuti
Red Billed Hornbill feeding its chick at the nest in the fallen tree, Savuti
Red Billed Hornbill feeding its chick at the nest in the fallen tree, Savuti
Barn Owl, Savuti
Barn Owl, Savuti
Cape Hunting Dogs, Savuti
Cape Hunting Dogs, Savuti
Double Banded Sandgrouse, Savuti
Double Banded Sandgrouse, Savuti
Marabou Stork, Savuti
Marabou Stork, Savuti
Young Impala, Savuti
Young Impala, Savuti
Zebra, Savuti
Zebra, Savuti
Male Impala, Savuti
Male Impala, Savuti
Pied babler, Savuti
Pied babler, Savuti
Magpie Shrike, Savuti
Magpie Shrike, Savuti
Blacksmith Lapwing, Savuti
Blacksmith Lapwing, Savuti
Male Impala smelling the scent gland on the face of a rival male, Savuti
Male Impala smelling the scent gland on the face of a rival male, Savuti
Southern Ground Hornbill eating a Dung Beetle, Savuti
Southern Ground Hornbill eating a Dung Beetle, Savuti
Red Billed Ox-pecker, Savuti
Red Billed Ox-pecker, Savuti
Bull Elephant at Harvey's Pan, Savuti
Bull Elephant at Harvey's Pan, Savuti
Bull Elephant at Harvey's Pan, Savuti
Bull Elephant at Harvey's Pan, Savuti
Young Elephant, Savuti
Young Elephant, Savuti
Egyptian Goose, Savuti
Egyptian Goose, Savuti
Greater Painted Snipe, Savuti
Greater Painted Snipe, Savuti
Fish Eagle sunset - composite image
Fish Eagle sunset - composite image
Cape Buffalo, Savuti
Cape Buffalo, Savuti
Male Impala, Savuti
Male Impala, Savuti
Lioness at Harvey's Pan, Savuti
Lioness at Harvey's Pan, Savuti
The second and more shy Lioness, Savuti
The second and more shy Lioness, Savuti
Lioness and Giraffe, Savuti
Lioness and Giraffe, Savuti
Giraffe, Savuti
Giraffe, Savuti
Elephant herd at Harvey's Pan, Savuti
Elephant herd at Harvey's Pan, Savuti
Elephant and two youngsters, Savuti
Elephant and two youngsters, Savuti
Bateleur Eagle,, Savuti
Bateleur Eagle,, Savuti
Burchell's Sandgrouse, Savuti
Burchell's Sandgrouse, Savuti
Double Banded Courser, Savuti
Double Banded Courser, Savuti
African Jacana Chicks, Chobe River
African Jacana Chicks, Chobe River
African Jacana nest with eggs, Chobe River
African Jacana nest with eggs, Chobe River
African Darter, Chobe River
African Darter, Chobe River
Reed Cormorant, Chobe River
Reed Cormorant, Chobe River
Pied Kingfisher, Chobe River
Pied Kingfisher, Chobe River
Pied Kingfishers, Chobe River
Pied Kingfishers, Chobe River
Green backed heron, Chobe River
Green backed heron, Chobe River
Pied Kingfisher with frog, Chobe River
Pied Kingfisher with frog, Chobe River
Sunset on the Chobe, Chobe River
Sunset on the Chobe, Chobe River
Hippos, Chobe River
Hippos, Chobe River
Giant Kingfisher, Chobe River
Giant Kingfisher, Chobe River
White Faced Whistling Ducks, Chobe River
White Faced Whistling Ducks, Chobe River
African Fish Eagle with nesting material, Chobe River
African Fish Eagle with nesting material, Chobe River
African Fish Eagle with nesting material, Chobe River
African Fish Eagle with nesting material, Chobe River
Male Lion, Chobe River
Male Lion, Chobe River
Photographing the Lions from the pangolin Boat, Chobe River
Photographing the Lions from the pangolin Boat, Chobe River
Lioness yawning, Chobe River
Lioness yawning, Chobe River
Lion pride walking along the river front, Chobe River
Lion pride walking along the river front, Chobe River
Two Male Lions, Chobe River
Two Male Lions, Chobe River
Lioness at the beginning of her stalk, Chobe River
Lioness at the beginning of her stalk, Chobe River
Lioness starts charging in, Chobe River
Lioness starts charging in, Chobe River
Lioness and Monitor Lizard, Chobe River
Lioness and Monitor Lizard, Chobe River
Lioness catches the Monitor, Chobe River
Lioness catches the Monitor, Chobe River
Lioness, Chobe River
Lioness, Chobe River
Lioness, Chobe River
Lioness, Chobe River
Lioness with Monitor Lizard, Chobe River
Lioness with Monitor Lizard, Chobe River
Lioness, male and Monitor Lizard, Chobe River
Lioness, male and Monitor Lizard, Chobe River
Photographing on the Pangolin Boat, Chobe River
Photographing on the Pangolin Boat, Chobe River
Bull Elephant feeding, Chobe River
Bull Elephant feeding, Chobe River
Bull Elephant, Chobe River
Bull Elephant, Chobe River
Female Baboon carrying a dead baby, Chobe River
Female Baboon carrying a dead baby, Chobe River
Hippo yawn, Chobe River
Hippo yawn, Chobe River
Pied Kingfishers, Chobe River
Pied Kingfishers, Chobe River
Black Crake, Chobe River
Black Crake, Chobe River
Adult African Jacana, Chobe River
Adult African Jacana, Chobe River
Allen's Gallinule, Chobe River
Allen's Gallinule, Chobe River
Long Toed Lapwing in flight, Chobe River
Long Toed Lapwing in flight, Chobe River
Long Toed Lapwing, Chobe River
Long Toed Lapwing, Chobe River
Adult Malachite Kingfisher, Chobe River
Adult Malachite Kingfisher, Chobe River
Juvenile Malachite Kingfisher, Chobe River
Juvenile Malachite Kingfisher, Chobe River

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6 Comments

  • Fantastic images yet again Stu. It seems no matter which country or safari you lead, wet-dry-arid or dusty amazing photo opportunities appear for your guests with astounding captures recorded by yourself. The lioness / monitor lizard set are incredibly well taken and the article a pleasure to read.
    All the best
    Alan and Linda Wilson

    Alan Wilson - May 08th, 2017 at 1:15am

  • Great images as expected. I’m looking forward to a return trip.

    Don Getty - May 08th, 2017 at 6:03pm

  • Gorgeous pictures, Stu.  I am so tempted by Botswana.  Don’t the baboons come near? Also lovely writing.  Thanks for posting it.  Love B

    bridget - May 09th, 2017 at 5:46pm

  • Fantastic pictures as usual

    Ulhas Mayekar - June 02nd, 2017 at 2:09pm

  • Great photos as always and as expected. The lilac breasted roller flying with beak open and the lioness chasing and catching the monitor lizard are beyond fantastic. Oh, to be back in Botswana, but I’m kinda leaning toward Namibia. I’ll be in touch!

    George Cathcart - June 02nd, 2017 at 3:15pm

  • Great images and sounds like another fantastic trip. We still hope to return again soon.

    Graham Clark - June 02nd, 2017 at 9:52pm

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Testimonials Bastian and I enjoyed the Migration photo safari very much. We realize that we have been very fortunate to see so many crossings and animals in such a short period of time. The safari was well organized, all accomondations were first class and the food certainly a nice surprise. One could not have expected such good food in the wilderness! James and Julius took good care of us and were one reason that we saw so much different and exciting wildlife. You picked a great support team for this safari! Bastian and I learned a lot of new photo techniques from you, which we will use in the future to improve our photographic results. Bastian for sure got hooked on time lapse, I'm sure he will be back in touch with you, sharing some of the work I expect he will create soon. Thanks to you and all your preparation, your guidance and support, this was a once in a life time experience. We will never forget these fantastic sights and animals and our photographs will always remind us of you and the great time we spent together. Now we have the difficult task to sort through thousands of images. One day it will be done and I hope my DVD will do justice reflecting the beauty of Masai Mara. Not an easy task but a welcomed challenge.

Bastian & Matthias Freund, USA


Testimonials Kruger North to South 16 days of photo safari gone off like a wink of an eye especially when it was fun and memorable. Like an aciton-packed movie, the opening scene at the Skukuza Airport reception by Wild4 Team : Stefan and Sandrine was delightful and the afternoon game drive was filled with excitements with shots of wildlife encountered as we travelled to our first camp in Satara. The numerous sightings we experienced over the next two weeks were nothing less than thrilling and of course capturing the Big 5 was fulfilling. The teamwork of Stefan and Sandrine was excellent giving the traveling photographers absolutely nothing to worry except to be trigger happy. Each day I shot approximately 1,500 images as each day bought new surprises. As a photographer I used the Sony A9 with the 2x teleconverter on the 100-400mm G Master zoom for distant & fast-moving subjects like eagles' flights, lions, leopards, rhinos and the smaller birds in flights while my Leica SL on a APO Vario Elmarit 90-280mm zoom for intermediate distance subjects like elephants, hippos, zebras, Impalas, Kudus and various animals within close quarters of the vehicle, and finally my Leica Q for the panoramic shots of landscape and daily point and shoot. A memorable trip ending with almost 4 TB of mobile hard disk storage. I will re-live my memories when I sort out the images and I look forward to my next trip with Stu on the Tanzania & Elephants of Amboseli and many other trips with Wild4.

Clifford Yap, Singapore