BEST of BOTSWANA photo safari TRIP REPORT - May 2019
Posted by Wild4 Photo Safaris on 9th Jul 2019
View the VIDEO TRIP REPORT for this photo safari
The 2019 May "Best of Botswana" photo safari proved to be a great success, the weather was perfect and as usual, the light in Botswana at this time of year was just amazing.
After flying into the delta from Maun, we were met by our Letaka Safari guides, Gee and Bate, at the Xakanaxa airstrip. Our camp in Moremi was in a great location and as we arrived at the camp, we were greeted by a herd of Elephants. Some of the many highlights we had in Moremi included Tsessebe Antelope, Zebra, Blue Wildebeest, and large herds of Elephants and Red Lechwe.
Our next destination was the Khwai Concession, and our private campsite right on one of the river channels. Khwai is always a very productive place and this trip was no different. We had amazing photo opportunities with the local birdlife, including a wonderful pair of endangered Wattled Cranes. We saw Leopards and Lions on a number of occasions, one of which was a fascinating scenario where Lions had caught and injured a small baby hippo, just out of the safety of the watercourse. The mother Hippo was trying to keep the Lions away from her baby and charged at the Lions on a number of occasions.
Our final stop on the mobile camping section was the drier Savuti area of the Chobe National Park. The sunrises and sunsets in Botswana are gorgeous, particularly in Savuti, and we enjoyed photographing these on most days. Savuti also provided us with a great sighting of two male Cheetahs which are not commonly seen in Botswana, but we found these two brothers leaving the open area of the Savute Marsh and heading into the Mopani Thickets that border the marsh. Marabou Pan was dominated by Lions and Elephants and as the dry season encroaches, this water hole is certain to become very busy indeed. Other highlights in Savuti were Ostriches, Giraffe, Greater Kudu and small Lion cubs.
Next stop was the Chobe River where we stayed at the newly finished Pangolin Chobe Hotel, which exceeded all our expectations and we had a wonderful stay. Of course, the Hotel is backed up by an amazing experience out on the specially modified Pangolin Photo Boat. We had the private use of a boat and explored different areas of the river right up to Elephant Bay. Photographing birds from the boat is really productive as one can approach to within a few meters of many different species. The mornings tend to be great for birds, and we scored a bonus by photographing a Carmine Bee-eater - one of the last to migrate north. The afternoon boat rides provide a lot of opportunities to photograph the many different species of mammals that come down to the river to quench their thirst. Elephant herds were abundant, but we also photographed Cape Buffalo, Chacma Baboons, Greater Kudu, Impala, Hippos and a serious fight between two fully grown male Giraffe.
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 KK for the amazing food !!, and to Names and July for making sure every aspect of our camp life was taken care of so that we could enjoy our experience to the fullest.
Without the master tracking, spotting and driving skills of both of our guides, Gee and Bate, we would never have been able to get into the best positions to photograph all the animals we encountered, these guys are amazing and it was a great pleasure to work with both of them.
Smart, our boat captain on the Chobe, thank you so much, trying to position a vehicle on land for a good photo angle is tricky, but to do this on the water in a boat is an incredible skill, I don't know how you do it Smart! - thank you!
Many thanks to all the amazing staff at the new Pangolin Chobe Hotel, you made our stay so welcoming and enjoyable, the location is awesome and the food is out of this world!
Last, but not least, a huge thank you to a wonderful group of clients who made this trip possible, Robert, Kate, Al L., Kathy, Al P. and Sharon - what a great trip it was, filled with many memories, both in picture form and in the mind, it was a pleasure to travel with you all.
Enjoy some photos from the trip !
View the VIDEO TRIP REPORT for this photo safari
Leave a Comment
This was simply an outstanding photographic safari all round – by far the best that I have been on! As a keen enthusiast photographer, looking to step up a level with view to entering 2 competitions later in the year, I could not have hoped for more. Excellent ! The family based Wild4 team is personable and friendly and went the extra mile all the way through. They are very well organized and their prompt and helpful responses to queries pre-trip ensured they were easy and a pleasure to deal with. Stu Porter can pitch his photographic tuition at any level and his attention to detail and enthusiasm was spot on throughout this trip. I was surprised by just how much I learn’t because I was quite comfortable with my photo technique on arrival. I have easily adopted his full-on manual approach, every bit of which he was able to justify - a revelation! I am quite picky, but I cannot praise these guys enough and I will be back. Very many thanks to the whole team.
For thirty-five years I had dreamed of going on a photographic safari in South Africa. This year I finally realized that dream and it is fair to say that my hopes and expectations were surpassed in every way. I had done extensive research on African photographic safaris on the Internet before settling on Wild 4 photo safaris. What an inspired choice that turned out to be! This family company run by Stu Porter and his wife, Justyna, and aided by Stu’s parents, John and Ann, provides the perfect safari experience for photographers of every skill level. Stu is one South Africa’s finest wild-life photographers and a first-class teacher into the bargain. His knowledge of the habitat and habits of the animals and birds to be found in Kruger National Park is simply encyclopaedic. I was accompanied on the trip by my 25 year-old daughter, Amy, and we eagerly adapted to the early morning wake-up call to go off into the wilds in one of Stu’s specially fitted jeeps to photograph animals at sunrise. Every day brought its special moments whether the spectacle of lions mating just a few metres from the jeep, or leopards lying lazily in the grass digesting a meal, or elephants and hippos frolicking in a river. The days sped by and we returned home with thousands of photographs of birds and animals to sort through and cherish for the memories they bring back. A safari with Wild 4 is more than a photographic experience with a master photographer: it is an initiation into the wonders of South Africa – its wild-life and spectacular landscapes - and, above all, an experience of friendship as everyone aboard the jeep bond in common purpose. Everything about Wild 4 is first class: organization is superb, accommodations excellent, choices of locale perfect. Our safari with Stu and Wild4 was truly the experience of a life-time.
Andrew Oliver, CANADA