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 2018

Posted by Wild4 Photo Safaris on 6th Jun 2018

Our first "Best of Botswana" photo safari for 2018 has just ended and it was very interesting to see how the water level in the delta was much lower than last year at the same time, but the water in the Chobe River was the highest I have ever seen it. This is a very interesting water system and never fails to offer something new.

We flew into the Okavango Delta from Maun and headed off to our campsite near third bridge. Moremi Game Reserve is a very big area and it always surprises us with some unusual sightings. One of the highlights from Moremi was watching the mating behaviour of the Impala. Although a very commonly seen antelope, mating behavior is seldom observed, but we were very lucky to watch this rarely seen behaviour a number of times. We also had great sightings of Tsessebe, Zebra, Wildebeest, Waterbuck and the Red Lechwe. Birds were great as usual, especially watching the African Darter with its Catfish which unfortunately it eventually lost !

We saw the single Lioness and her cub on Dead Tree Island and were treated to a wonderful sighting of a Leopard and her cub. Nkosi, managed to scratch out another male Leopard by listening to the alarm calls of Tree Squirrels and Spurfowl and mixing this with a lot of patience and persistence.

Next up was the Khwai concession and this was perhaps one of the best visits to Khwai I have ever experienced. We saw the Cape Hunting Dogs every day, the large Lion pride feeding on a Zebra, but perhaps the most special of all was getting to watch a young female Leopard go about "Leopard life" and we amazingly got to see her everyday doing something different. This included her stalking some Impala that she did not know were being chased by Cape Hunting Dogs, when she saw the dogs she bolted up the nearest tree. She then stalked right past our car trying to catch a young Impala, but was unsuccessful. She also provided us with the sighting of the trip when she met up with her mother and they both proceeded to climb up a tree and fish out a total of 8 Barn Owl Chicks from their nest in a tree cavity. Master spotter Lucas also found her one morning lying out on a fallen log which produced one of the best photos of the trip - thanks Lucas !!

There was also a great interaction between a big Bull Elephant and the pack of Cape Hunting dogs. The Elephant tried to pass by but the dogs chased him, in return the big Bull Elephant was having none of it and chased and trumpeted at the Dogs.

Our journey to Savute through the Mababe depression yielded a small group of rarely seen Roan Antelope and the largest Bull Roan I have seen.

Savute provided some great birds, Lions with small cubs, lots of Hyaena cubs at the den and on our final morning we had an amazing sighting of a Leopard in a large Rain tree with the remains of an Impala kill. This sighting ramped up a notch when two Lionesses noticed the Leopard and climbed up the tree to try and steal the Leopards kill. The Leopard must have sensed that the Lions would climb up after it and took its kill right to the top of the tree and remained safely out of reach of the Lions who found it quite difficult to climb down the tree. We were all quite amazed that both Lions managed to climb such a difficult tree - so to answer the age old question of "can Lions climb trees?" - yes they can and not just the easy ones !!

As mentioned, the Chobe River was the fullest I have ever seen it, it was spectacular to see from the air on our approach into Kasane.

Having more water means you can get closer to the river bank in more locations when on the boat rides. This certainly led to a lot of great mammal and bird sightings. The usual spectacluar opportunities with Kingfishers, Hippos, Elephants swimming, African Fish Eagles, Spur Winged Geese, Crocodiles and antelope drinking were enjoyed on all the boat rides. The highlight came on our final morning boat ride when we spotted a young Leopard displaying some unusual behaviour when she stalked up to a big Bull African Buffalo, and climbed up into the tree under which it was feeding. The Leopard looked down on the Buffalo for a while but managed to get out of the tree before the Buffalo even knew it was there. The Leopard then drank from the edge of the river. Next she honed in on a group of Impala that had just finished drinking and followed them away from the river, forcing us to return for breakfast with some very special memories, sightings and photographs from a fantastic trip.

The two day Victoria Falls extension followed and due to the very high water level of the river, the volume of water going over the falls was tremendous and caused large volumes of spray making it tricky to photograph the falls from most of the view points. We still enjoyed the sunrise shoot and the beautiful rainbows that are synonymous with the Victoria Falls.

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 SMS and Parker for making sure every aspect of our camp life was taken care of so that we could enjoy our experience to the fullest.

Of course another huge thanks goes to our expert guides, Nkosi and Lucas, thanks so much for all your patience with positioning and your expert spotting & tracking skills. Guides like you are a what make a photo safari in Botswana a success !!

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 Elephants and the beautiful female Leopard.

A final huge thank you goes to a fantastic group of clients, Rita, Murray, Diane, Bob and Jeanie - it was fantastic to see you all again and many thanks for joining us on this Best of Botswana adventure.

Enjoy some photos from the trip !

Best wishes,

Stu

Zebra and Saddle Billed Storks, Moremi Game Reserve
Zebra and Saddle Billed Storks, Moremi Game Reserve
Red Lechwe, Moremi Game Reserve
Red Lechwe, Moremi Game Reserve
Male Ostrich, Moremi Game Reserve
Male Ostrich, Moremi Game Reserve
Blue Wildebeest, Moremi Game Reserve, wildlife panorama
Blue Wildebeest, Moremi Game Reserve, wildlife panorama
Tsessebe, Moremi Game Reserve
Tsessebe, Moremi Game Reserve
Lilac Breasted Roller, Moremi Game Reserve
Lilac Breasted Roller, Moremi Game Reserve
Dickinson's Kestrel, Moremi Game Reserve
Dickinson's Kestrel, Moremi Game Reserve
Male Impala chasing a female, Moremi Game Reserve
Male Impala chasing a female, Moremi Game Reserve
Male Impala grunting, Moremi Game Reserve
Male Impala grunting, Moremi Game Reserve
Common Waterbuck, Moremi Game Reserve, wildlife panorama
Common Waterbuck, Moremi Game Reserve, wildlife panorama
The single Lioness and her cub, Moremi Game Reserve
The single Lioness and her cub, Moremi Game Reserve
A rare sight of Impala mating, Moremi Game Reserve
A rare sight of Impala mating, Moremi Game Reserve
Leopard, Moremi Game Reserve
Leopard, Moremi Game Reserve
African Darter with Catfish, Moremi Game Reserve
African Darter with Catfish, Moremi Game Reserve
African Darter drying its wings, Moremi Game Reserve
African Darter drying its wings, Moremi Game Reserve
Yellow Billed Stork, Moremi Game Reserve
Yellow Billed Stork, Moremi Game Reserve
Giraffe with baby, Moremi Game Reserve
Giraffe with baby, Moremi Game Reserve
Female Leopard descending a tree, Moremi Game Reserve
Female Leopard descending a tree, Moremi Game Reserve
Verreaux's Eagle Owl, Khwai Concession
Verreaux's Eagle Owl, Khwai Concession
Young female Leopard on a fallen Camel Thorn Tree, Khwai Concession, wildlife panorama
Young female Leopard on a fallen Camel Thorn Tree, Khwai Concession, wildlife panorama
Young female Leopard, Khwai Concession
Young female Leopard, Khwai Concession
Cape Hunting Dog, Khwai Concession
Cape Hunting Dog, Khwai Concession
Young Leopard climbing tree, Khwai Concession
Young Leopard climbing tree, Khwai Concession
Leopard looking into the tree cavity, Khwai Concession
Leopard looking into the tree cavity, Khwai Concession
The Leopard emerging with one of the Barn Owl chicks, Khwai Concession
The Leopard emerging with one of the Barn Owl chicks, Khwai Concession
Herd of Impala at salt lick, Khwai Concession, wildlife panorama
Herd of Impala at salt lick, Khwai Concession, wildlife panorama
Tent at Sable Alley campsite, Khwai Concession
Tent at Sable Alley campsite, Khwai Concession
Enjoying the warmth of the evening fire, Sable Alley Campsite, Khwai Concession
Enjoying the warmth of the evening fire, Sable Alley Campsite, Khwai Concession
Milkyway, Khwai Concession
Milkyway, Khwai Concession
Cape Hunting Dog, Khwai Concession
Cape Hunting Dog, Khwai Concession
Cape Hunting dogs after finishing their Impala meal, Khwai Concession
Cape Hunting dogs after finishing their Impala meal, Khwai Concession
Cape Hunting Dog, Khwai Concession
Cape Hunting Dog, Khwai Concession
Cape Hunting Dogs playing, Khwai Concession
Cape Hunting Dogs playing, Khwai Concession
The Bull Elephant chasing the Hunting Dogs, Khwai Concession
The Bull Elephant chasing the Hunting Dogs, Khwai Concession
Cape Hunting Dog, Khwai Concession
Cape Hunting Dog, Khwai Concession
Chacma Baboon with baby, Khwai Concession
Chacma Baboon with baby, Khwai Concession
Cape Hunting Dog, Khwai Concession
Cape Hunting Dog, Khwai Concession
Lioness, Khwai Concession
Lioness, Khwai Concession
Lions fighting over the Zebra kill, Khwai Concession
Lions fighting over the Zebra kill, Khwai Concession
Male Lion showing aggression, Khwai Concession
Male Lion showing aggression, Khwai Concession
Male Lion chasing the Lioness, Khwai Concession
Male Lion chasing the Lioness, Khwai Concession
Cape Hunting Dog, Khwai Concession
Cape Hunting Dog, Khwai Concession
Cape Hunting Dog lowering her head in a greeting, Khwai Concession
Cape Hunting Dog lowering her head in a greeting, Khwai Concession
Young female Leopard that we saw every day in Khwai, wildlife panorama
Young female Leopard that we saw every day in Khwai, wildlife panorama
Male Impala watching the young female Leopard, Khwai Concession
Male Impala watching the young female Leopard, Khwai Concession
Young female Leopard climbing a dead tree, Khwai Concession
Young female Leopard climbing a dead tree, Khwai Concession
Rarely seen Roan Antelope in the Mababe Depression on the way to Savute, wildlife panorama
Rarely seen Roan Antelope in the Mababe Depression on the way to Savute, wildlife panorama
Large bull Roan Antelope, Mababe Depression on the way to Savute
Large bull Roan Antelope, Mababe Depression on the way to Savute
Zebra in the Savute Marsh, Savute
Zebra in the Savute Marsh, Savute
Pearl Spotted Owlet, Savute
Pearl Spotted Owlet, Savute
Grey Hornbill, Savute
Grey Hornbill, Savute
Tawny Eagle, Savute
Tawny Eagle, Savute
Spotted Hyaena cubs at the den site in Savute
Spotted Hyaena cubs at the den site in Savute
Spotted Hyaena cubs, Savute
Spotted Hyaena cubs, Savute
Lioness, Savute
Lioness, Savute
Zebra herd in Savute, wildlife panorama
Zebra herd in Savute, wildlife panorama
The two Lionesses snarling at a young male approaching them and their small cubs, Savute
The two Lionesses snarling at a young male approaching them and their small cubs, Savute
Lioness with small cubs, wildlife panorama and composite image, Savute
Lioness with small cubs, wildlife panorama and composite image, Savute
Male Impala greeting each other and testing dominance, Savute
Male Impala greeting each other and testing dominance, Savute
Male Impala sparring, Savute, wildlife panorama
Male Impala sparring, Savute, wildlife panorama
Lilac Breasted Roller with a frog, Savute
Lilac Breasted Roller with a frog, Savute
The male Leopard with the remains of his Impala kill, staring in the direction of the approaching Lionesses, Savute
The male Leopard with the remains of his Impala kill, staring in the direction of the approaching Lionesses, Savute
The first Lioness climbs the Rain tree, Savute, composite image
The first Lioness climbs the Rain tree, Savute, composite image
The second Lioness climbs up the tree, Savute
The second Lioness climbs up the tree, Savute
Both Lionesses in the tree, Savute, wildlife panorama
Both Lionesses in the tree, Savute, wildlife panorama
A difficult but successful climb back down the tree - who said Lions can't climb trees ??  composite image
A difficult but successful climb back down the tree - who said Lions can't climb trees ?? composite image
Lilac Breasted Roller, Savute
Lilac Breasted Roller, Savute
Red Billed Hornbill, Savute
Red Billed Hornbill, Savute
A Hippo rises up out of the water, Chobe River
A Hippo rises up out of the water, Chobe River
Pied Kingfisher with a fish, Chobe River
Pied Kingfisher with a fish, Chobe River
Bull Elephant in the water, Chobe River
Bull Elephant in the water, Chobe River
Bull Elephant feeding, Chobe River
Bull Elephant feeding, Chobe River
Two Bull Elephants play fighting in the water behind our boat, Chobe River
Two Bull Elephants play fighting in the water behind our boat, Chobe River
African Fish Eagle, Chobe River
African Fish Eagle, Chobe River
Nile Crocodile, Chobe River
Nile Crocodile, Chobe River
Egyptian Goose, Chobe River
Egyptian Goose, Chobe River
Sunset on the Chobe River, panorama
Sunset on the Chobe River, panorama
Bull Elephant in the last soft light, Chobe River
Bull Elephant in the last soft light, Chobe River
Spur Winged Goose in flight, Chobe River
Spur Winged Goose in flight, Chobe River
Impala at the edge of the river, Chobe River
Impala at the edge of the river, Chobe River
Egyptian Geese, Chobe River
Egyptian Geese, Chobe River
Blacksmith Lapwing, Chobe River
Blacksmith Lapwing, Chobe River
Elephant taking a mud bath, Chobe River
Elephant taking a mud bath, Chobe River
Yellow Billed Stork with nesting material, Chobe River
Yellow Billed Stork with nesting material, Chobe River
The young Hippo with unusual skin markings, Chobe River
The young Hippo with unusual skin markings, Chobe River
African Fish Eagle
African Fish Eagle
The young Leopard in the tree above the African Buffalo, Chobe River
The young Leopard in the tree above the African Buffalo, Chobe River
Young Leopard taking a drink from the river on our final morning boat ride
Young Leopard taking a drink from the river on our final morning boat ride
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Main Falls view point, Zimbabwe
Main Falls view point, Zimbabwe
Victoria Falls from the Helicopter, Zimbabwe
Victoria Falls from the Helicopter, Zimbabwe

Back to Trip Reports

1 Comment

  • Nice photos Stu.  I hope you didn’t use up all the good photo ops on the first trip.

    Larry Jackson - June 07th, 2018 at 6:53pm

Leave a Comment

Testimonials Stu, Thank you for another wonderful safari. We were blown away by the sightings that we had. From the Lion kill to the tiny Lion Cubs, it was one great experience after another. The bird opportunities were also outstanding. I'm still sorting though the 1000's of images that we brought home. Also, thank you Justyna for setting up our 2 week private Kruger safari with Stefan. We spent over a month in Africa shooting every day except for a couple of travel days. It was our trip of a lifetime. The accommodations, food, and itinerary were as good as it gets. We can't wait to do another one!. Dick and Mary Wild Side Photographic Art

Dick Collins, USA

Testimonials It has always been a dream of mine to travel to Africa and take a photo safari. Although I am not a professional photographer, it has been a hobby of mine and I had been wanting to make the trip for many years. Last year, I went on a safari through a different agency, and was disappointed. It was too generic and commercialized. It left me unsatisfied and wanting more. After a year, I still had an urge to go back to Africa and get the experience that I felt I had missed out on. After doing some research I came upon Wild 4 African Photographic Safaris. I was excited that this time I would really get  the experience I was hoping for, and it did not fail. Upon arrival at the park, I met Stu. He was extremely helpful, even months before the trip. Justyna  helped me prepare and made sure I was well equipped for the safari. Before arriving, I could already tell that this would be an adventure of a lifetime. During the safari, Stu’s knowledge continued to surprise me. Not only does he know about photography, but his familiarity of the animals and their environment is unbelievable. He could spot  a rhino from miles away that we would only see once he drove 5 minutes towards it. He understands the environment and how to get great shots. He never let us miss an opportunity.  Stu was patient and didn’t rush us. His tips were useful and will help with all of my future photography endeavours. The  Wild 4 Safari at went above and beyond all of my expectations. It really was a dream come true.

Ulhas Mayekar, USA