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 truly a fantastic safari. The camping experience gave us the feel of being closer to nature as opposed to being in a lodge without really roughing it and the camp food was superior to the lodge buffets. The photographic opportunities were great throughout the safari and our time on the Chobe River was exceptional. As a veteran of 13 safaris to other locations in Africa I can say this was fantastic.
Don Getty www.dongettywildlifephotography.com, USA
This was my first photography 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 photo safari 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 Ghoms 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 photo safari 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 Wild4 African Photographic Safaris !.
Georges McNeil, USA