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
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can't begin to tell you how much Keith and I enjoyed being with you in Botswana. Your trip was as productive for me, the birdwatcher spouse, as it was for Keith, who is thrilled with his images. I saw more birds in Botswana than I ever imagined I'd see (152 species!), and I got such good looks at them, from the big Goliath Heron, Wattled Crane, and Saddle-billed Storks to the little Pearl-spotted Owlet, White-fronted Bee-eaters, and Malachite Kingfisher. Our Letaka guides, Shadreck and Nkosi, were knowledgeable and helpful - and just plain nice guys, and Shuur took us on four amazing boat rides on the Chobe River. Every aspect of the trip went smoothly. It's obvious how much behind-the-scenes work you and Justyna put into the planning. I would recommend you to anyone, and for the safari of a lifetime, I'd recommend the Best of Botswana with Stu Porter.
Sharon Kennedy, USA
I am a Molecular Biologist by profession and a serious amateur nature photographer and have been on a number of organized trips over the last 10 years with the dual aims of enjoying nature and getting the best images possible. The organization of a two week trip with Wild 4 Photographic Safaris through Kruger National Park I shared with two other photographers and it was as good as I have ever experienced. The Porter family was friendly, knowledgeable and intuitively supportive. Stu really knows his subjects and spared no effort in getting the photographers into the best situation. He has a very pleasant, calm personality and is an accomplished nature photographer and naturalist which means he knows where the light or action is best and often what is about to happen. His vehicle is also well set-up for discriminating photographers. Justyna was just brilliant in getting things organized in the background. Having our own scout vehicle to report activity in the area while we pursued other subjects, worked well, and on a number of occasions provided photo opportunities we would have missed otherwise. In summary; rating out of 10…….no doubt a 10.
Graeme Guy, NEW ZEALAND