Wild4 African Photographic Safaris

Wild4 African Photographic Safaris

Authentic small group photo tours to South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana and Namibia

BEST of BOTSWANA photo safari TRIP REPORT - May 2017

Posted by Wild4 Photo Safaris on 2nd Jun 2017

Our second "Best of Botswana" photo safari for 2017 started only 3 days after the first trip and already there were changes in the water level, both in the Delta and at the Chobe River.

The tour however stared with the optional extension to see the famous Victoria Falls on the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia.

From a personal perspective, the falls is one of my favourite places in all of Africa, the sheer size and magnitude is amazing. We visited the falls at sunrise, in the afternoon, took a helicopter flight (the best way to see the whole falls) and for the first time, we visited the falls to try and photograph the Lunar Rainbow - a phenomenon that only occurs at full moon.

We enjoyed our stay at the falls, but the high water level created an above normal amount of mist and spray, so most of the eastern view points were not photographable. We instead concentrated on the western view points and the helicopter ride was great.

We did achieve a shot of the Lunar Rainbow, but logistically it is a bit tricky to organise. The eastern view piints would offer better photos, but there was just too much mist and spray this time round.

From Victoria Falls we travelled to Moremi via Kasane, this time were were able to fly into Xakanaxa airstrip in Moremi, but were left with a long drive to our camp in Xini.

Our three nights in Moremi offered up some good opportunities of African Wilddog, Spotted Hyaena, Giraffe, Red Lechwe, a beautiful female Boomslang and a number of great birds such as the Black Crowned Tchagra, Meyer's Parrot, Grey Headed Kingfisher and a Shikra.

The 4 nights in the Khwai concession were next, this time around the water level had dropped enough for us to reach the islands where we found two male Lions and a Lioness. On our way back one night we watched one of the Male Lions swim across the Khwai River which was great !

Some other highlights were Impala, Elephants, another pack of African Wilddogs, Common Waterbuck, Verreaux's Eagle Owl, a Hammerkop catching fish, Tree Squirrels, African Hoopoe and a wonderful Pearl Spotted Owlet.

Our final 3 nights were in the Savuti area of the Chobe National Park. Savuti proved to be very successful once again. Highlights were a female Leopard that drank from a pan, great Elephants, African Buffalo, Black Backed Jackal, Burchell's Zebra, Tsessebe and Giraffe. Birds were great with a lot of photo opportunities which included, Kori, Bustard, Capped Wheatear, Dickinson's Kestrel, Marico Flycatcher, Crimson Breasted Shrike, Little Bee eaters and Brown Snake Eagle. The best was left for the last morning as it so often is in Savuti, we caught up with the Marsh pride at Wilddog Vlei, after they had finished off the remains of their Cape Buffalo kill. The pride of 11 with the two pride males drank from the pan and played around for over an hour before it was time for us to head to the Savuti International Airport and our flight to Kasane.

The water level in the Chobe River had dropped by another meter or so from our previous trip. This meant that some channels were now too shallow to navigate, but it exposed some other areas we had not been able to visit before. We once again completed 4 boat rides on the special Pangolin Photo Boat with its custom designed swivel chairs and gimbal mounts, and some of the highlights were, African Darter, Elephants swimming and feeding in the river, Crocodile, Hippo, Baboons, Impala, a rarely seen herd of Sable Antelope, White Fronted Bee eaters, Malachite Kingfisher, White Crowned Lapwings, African Spoonbill, Brown Hooded Kingfisher and our final session was spent photographing the Yellow Billed Stork nesting colony who had only just arrived !

A HUGE thank you 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 Pula for the amazing food !!, and to Ghoms and Philemon 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 another huge thanks goes to our master guides, Shadreck and Lucas, thanks so much for all your patience with positioning, and re-positioning the vehicle, experieinced guides like you are a must for any photo safari to be successful !!

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 feeding Elephants and Yellow Billed Storks.

And a final huge thanks goes to Bernice, Sharon, Georges, Ray, Mark and Marc for joining us on this Botswana adventure, it was a pleasure to have spent this special time with you all in one of the least remaining wildlife edens !

Enjoy some photos from the trip !

Best wishes,

Stu
 

Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe
Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe
Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe
Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe
Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe
Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe
Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe
Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe
Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe
Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe
Lunar Rainbow over the Victoria Falls, taken at 19:30 (full moon) settings were: 25 seconds at f4 ISO 400 on a Canon 5DMK4 with a Canon 16-35mm f2.8 lens
Lunar Rainbow over the Victoria Falls, taken at 19:30 (full moon) settings were: 25 seconds at f4 ISO 400 on a Canon 5DMK4 with a Canon 16-35mm f2.8 lens
Red Lechwe in Moremi
Red Lechwe in Moremi
Meyer's Parrot - Moremi
Meyer's Parrot - Moremi
Grey Backed Camera Operator - Moremi :)  .. (Cameroptera)
Grey Backed Camera Operator - Moremi :) .. (Cameroptera)
Giraffe drinking - Moremi
Giraffe drinking - Moremi
Giraffe play fighting - Moremi
Giraffe play fighting - Moremi
Swainson's Spurfowl - Moremi
Swainson's Spurfowl - Moremi
Grey Headed Kingfisher - Moremi
Grey Headed Kingfisher - Moremi
Giraffe - Moremi
Giraffe - Moremi
Sub-adult Martial Eagle - Moremi
Sub-adult Martial Eagle - Moremi
Black Crowned Tchagra - Moremi
Black Crowned Tchagra - Moremi
Spotted Hyaena - Moremi
Spotted Hyaena - Moremi
Hadeda Ibis - Moremi
Hadeda Ibis - Moremi
Helmeted Guineafowl - Moremi
Helmeted Guineafowl - Moremi
African Wilddog - Moremi
African Wilddog - Moremi
Female Boomslang yawning - Moremi
Female Boomslang yawning - Moremi
Tawny Eagle - Moremi
Tawny Eagle - Moremi
Young male Impala running  - Moremi - settings were: 1/20 sec f20 ISO 100 on a 5D MK4 with a Canon 100-400mm version 2 lens
Young male Impala running - Moremi - settings were: 1/20 sec f20 ISO 100 on a 5D MK4 with a Canon 100-400mm version 2 lens
White Browed Sparrow Weaver - Moremi
White Browed Sparrow Weaver - Moremi
African Wilddog - Moremi
African Wilddog - Moremi
Shikra - Moremi
Shikra - Moremi
Laughing Dove - Moremi
Laughing Dove - Moremi
Elephant eating minerals - Khwai
Elephant eating minerals - Khwai
African Wilddog - Khwai
African Wilddog - Khwai
Southern White Crowned Shrike - Khwai
Southern White Crowned Shrike - Khwai
Hammerkop eating fish - Khwai
Hammerkop eating fish - Khwai
Young Tree Squirrels - Khwai
Young Tree Squirrels - Khwai
Male Impala - Khwai
Male Impala - Khwai
Male Lion crossing the Khwai River at night - Khwai - settings were: 1/320 sec f2,8 ISO 25 600 on a 5 DMK4 with a Canon 400mm f2.8 lens
Male Lion crossing the Khwai River at night - Khwai - settings were: 1/320 sec f2,8 ISO 25 600 on a 5 DMK4 with a Canon 400mm f2.8 lens
Yellow Billed Hornbill - Khwai
Yellow Billed Hornbill - Khwai
Hammerkop fishing - Khwai
Hammerkop fishing - Khwai
Elephant dust bathing - Khwai - settings were: 1/100 sec f11 ISO 100 on a Canon 5DMK4 with a Canon 100-400mm version 2 lens
Elephant dust bathing - Khwai - settings were: 1/100 sec f11 ISO 100 on a Canon 5DMK4 with a Canon 100-400mm version 2 lens
African Hoopoe - Khwai
African Hoopoe - Khwai
Male Common Waterbuck - Khwai
Male Common Waterbuck - Khwai
Pearl Spotted Owlet - Khwai
Pearl Spotted Owlet - Khwai
Bronze Winged Courser - Khwai
Bronze Winged Courser - Khwai
Coffee & leg stretch spot in Khwai
Coffee & leg stretch spot in Khwai
Verreaux's Eagle Owl - Khwai
Verreaux's Eagle Owl - Khwai
Lesser Striped Swallow - Khwai
Lesser Striped Swallow - Khwai
Black Backed Jackal - Savuti
Black Backed Jackal - Savuti
Bateleur Eagle being mobbed by two Crowned Lapwings - Savuti
Bateleur Eagle being mobbed by two Crowned Lapwings - Savuti
Female African Buffalo - Savuti
Female African Buffalo - Savuti
Kori Bustard - Savuti
Kori Bustard - Savuti
Capped Wheatear - Savuti
Capped Wheatear - Savuti
Crowned lapwing - Savuti
Crowned lapwing - Savuti
Bradfield's Hornbill - Savuti
Bradfield's Hornbill - Savuti
Marico Flycatcher - Savuti
Marico Flycatcher - Savuti
Crimson Breasted Shrike - Savuti
Crimson Breasted Shrike - Savuti
Scaly Feathered Finch - Savuti
Scaly Feathered Finch - Savuti
Male Lion  - Savuti
Male Lion - Savuti
Male Lion protecting his Buffalo carcass - Savuti
Male Lion protecting his Buffalo carcass - Savuti
Lioness feeding on a baby Buffalo - Savuti
Lioness feeding on a baby Buffalo - Savuti
Dickinson's Kestrel - Savuti
Dickinson's Kestrel - Savuti
Zebra running - Savuti - settings were 1/25 sec f22 ISO 100 on a Canon 5DMK4 with a Canon 100-400mm version 2 lens
Zebra running - Savuti - settings were 1/25 sec f22 ISO 100 on a Canon 5DMK4 with a Canon 100-400mm version 2 lens
Little Bee eaters - Savuti - composite Image
Little Bee eaters - Savuti - composite Image
Male Elephant - Savuti
Male Elephant - Savuti
Elephants at waterhole - Savuti
Elephants at waterhole - Savuti
Three Banded Plover - Savuti
Three Banded Plover - Savuti
Young Lioness from the Marsh Pride - Savuti
Young Lioness from the Marsh Pride - Savuti
Adult male with sub-adult male - Lions form the Marsh Pride - Savuti
Adult male with sub-adult male - Lions form the Marsh Pride - Savuti
Lionesses playing - Savuti
Lionesses playing - Savuti
Male and female mating pair - Savuti
Male and female mating pair - Savuti
Male & Female mating pair - Savuti
Male & Female mating pair - Savuti
Lioness drinking - Savuti
Lioness drinking - Savuti
Male & female Lions drinking at Wild dog Vlei - Savuti
Male & female Lions drinking at Wild dog Vlei - Savuti
Brown Snake Eagle take off - Savuti
Brown Snake Eagle take off - Savuti
Blacksmith's Lapwing chick at Harvey's Pan - Savuti
Blacksmith's Lapwing chick at Harvey's Pan - Savuti
Zebra dusting at Harvey's Pan - Savuti
Zebra dusting at Harvey's Pan - Savuti
Plane landing at Savuti International
Plane landing at Savuti International
African Darter - Chobe River
African Darter - Chobe River
Little Bee eater - Chobe River
Little Bee eater - Chobe River
Pied Kingfisher with fish - Chobe River
Pied Kingfisher with fish - Chobe River
Crocodile - Chobe River
Crocodile - Chobe River
African Fish Eagle with fish - Chobe River
African Fish Eagle with fish - Chobe River
Elephant in the river - Chobe River
Elephant in the river - Chobe River
Purple Heron - Chobe River
Purple Heron - Chobe River
Spur Wing Goose - Chobe River
Spur Wing Goose - Chobe River
Female Hippo - Chobe River
Female Hippo - Chobe River
Pied Wagtail and Hippo - Chobe River
Pied Wagtail and Hippo - Chobe River
Elephants drinking - Chobe River
Elephants drinking - Chobe River
African Spoonbill - Chobe River
African Spoonbill - Chobe River
Malachite Kingfisher - Chobe River
Malachite Kingfisher - Chobe River
Rarely seen herd of Sable Antelope - Chobe River
Rarely seen herd of Sable Antelope - Chobe River
White Crowned Lapwing - Chobe River
White Crowned Lapwing - Chobe River
Impala drinking - Chobe River
Impala drinking - Chobe River
White Fronted Bee eater - Chobe River
White Fronted Bee eater - Chobe River
Little Egret - Chobe River
Little Egret - Chobe River
Red - eyed Dove - Chobe River
Red - eyed Dove - Chobe River
Yellow Billed Stork - Chobe River
Yellow Billed Stork - Chobe River
Yellow Billed Stork - Chobe River
Yellow Billed Stork - Chobe River
Young Elephant chasing a Chacma Baboon - Chobe River
Young Elephant chasing a Chacma Baboon - Chobe River
White Breasted Cormorant - Chobe River
White Breasted Cormorant - Chobe River
Sunset over the Chobe - Chobe River
Sunset over the Chobe - Chobe River
Bull Elephant feeding  - Chobe River
Bull Elephant feeding - Chobe River
Female Brown Hooded Kingfisher - Chobe River
Female Brown Hooded Kingfisher - Chobe River

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2 Comments

  • Fabulous pictures again, Stu.  Love all the birds.

    bridget barry - June 05th, 2017 at 1:10pm

  • This was my first trip to Africa after a lot of research.  Although I spent over 30 days in Africa, my Botswana component was among the most productive and is my favorite country visited.  I must say Stu and Justyna’s planning and direction for our entire trip is unparalleled and can’t thank them enough.  Our guides were incredible and the crew that helped us were indispensable.  The food during our trip was the best for all of the places visited including South Africa.  I still don’t know how Pula managed to make his wonderful cuisine with so little resources!  Our camp crew, Philemon and Ghom were delightful and truly made me feel cared for and welcome.  I have learned much from Stu and only wish I could have had more time learning from him in the field.  Stu made our trip fun by pairing us with Mark, a like minded gentleman who was a joy to photograph with and talented.  The entire experience was amazing with many high quality photo opportunities and think I have captured some magical moments and truly feel enriched by the experience.  Thank you so much Stu, Justyna and all involved and I will try to one day do another marvelous adventure with Wild4photogfraphicsafaris.

    Georges McNeil - July 06th, 2017 at 12:38am

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Testimonials We have a particular affinity for bird photography, but also enjoy the African game animals. I'm pleased to say we are all thrilled with the entire trip. Stu met us at the airport on day 1, and what was to have been a quick couple hour drive to camp, took all afternoon until sunset, we found so many things to shoot. Then we wanted to do something slightly off the itinerary on day 2, and Stu again accommodated us. It was like that throughout the entire trip, the Porter family was very accommodating. Even though we were in a big national park using public facilities, the Porter family made us feel like we were in our own private game reserve, and the animals were there just for us. Stu's local knowledge of the birds and game is just great, he's a walking guide book. And because he's in Kruger so often, he knows where the best spots are. Also he knows all the other guides, and they share information. And most importantly if you are considering a photo safari, Stu is an accomplished nature photographer himself. He knows the light and how to position and approach for the best shot. He knows what photographers want and how to get it. The experience might be quite different if just any guide were to drive you around. And having a spotting vehicle out searching for game really helped us see some extra animals we wouldn't have seen. The results were outstanding. We saw and photographed all the of the big five, and several seldom seen animals totaling 33 mammal species and 164 bird species. All in all, the trip was great!!  highly recommended!

Con Foley, USA‚Ä®

Testimonials I've recently returned from a "Wild 4 Photo Safari" and can recommend them without reservation. Their skill, professionalism and expertise is excelled only by the standard of excellence shown in every aspect of the trip. From the logistics to the accommodation, the food to the transportation, their inside knowledge of African wildlife to their passion for what they do, every aspect SUPERB!! If you are looking for the ultimate "Photo Safari", this is it! I will definitely book again!!!

Del Hunter, UK