WILD 4 PHOTO Pty Ltd

Wild4 African Photo Safaris

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

African Photographic Safaris since 2003

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

Back to Trip Reports

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

Leave a Comment

Testimonials We recently travelled to South Africa for a safari led by Wild 4 African Photographic Safaris. To put things simply, we were completely blown away. I had been on safari before, and had expectations that I thought were reasonable, but Wild 4 completely exceeded those expectations in so many ways. First of all, Justyna handled all of our travel and trip details with exceptional professionalism and always responded to even our most basic questions quickly and in a very detailed manner. Once we had arrived in South Africa, we were met by our guide Stu Porter, who I cannot say enough good things about. He is so organised and cordial. Stu was spotting things that we couldn’t believe that he was spotting, which almost always led to an amazing wildlife experience that we never saw coming. His knowledge and understanding of the wildlife and ecosystem was outstanding, and he went to great lengths to insure that we had the best chance of capturing a great photo, without compromising the rules of the park or the integrity of the animals and ecology within it. His understanding and respect for the wildlife and surroundings made the trip so much more than just a “drive around and look at whatever we see” kind of experience. I know that you can never predict what kind of experience you will have when you go out into the wild, and often it’s up to nature to decide what events you will be a part of, but in all honesty, I can’t imagine a better guide than Stu Porter. We will be doing our future trips to Africa with Wild 4, and cannot recommend them highly enough. Thank you so much for what a lot of people call “the trip of a lifetime”, although we feel that this is only the beginning of many trips of a lifetime. Thank you, Wild 4!!

James Smith, USA


Testimonials The wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm Stu shared was priceless, from identifying birds and pointing out animal behaviors, to stories about Kruger Park past, and of course, answering photography questions day in and day out. You were so patient! I really appreciated the custom photo safari vehicle and thoughtful design and extra space it afforded, and the advantage and flexibility of traveling with such a small number of people. I learnt so much, and I look forward to sorting through the images and enjoying remembering all the things we did during our busy photo safari.

Helen Cruickshank, Australia