PHOTO TRIP REPORT | Best of Botswana | June 2019
Posted by Wild4 Photo Safaris on 5th Jan 2020
View the VIDEO TRIP REPORT for this photo safari
The June 2019 "Best of Botswana" photo safari has just ended. The weather was just as clear as the May trip but a bit cooler in the evenings and early mornings.
We flew from Maun into the Okavango Delta and landed at Xakanaxa airstrip. Here we met our guides for the safari, Shadreck (aka Shado) and Lucas. Our private mobile camp was all set up for our late afternoon arrival and dinner was enjoyed whilst listening to the sounds of the African bush.
Some of the photo highlights in Moremi Game Reserve were a Leopard with a small cub, Cape Hunting Dogs at a den site, male Lions on a Giraffe kill, a Leopard hunting Impala, a pair of Side Striped Jackals, the endangered Wattled Cranes and other great birdlife.
Our next destination was a campsite along the river in the Khwai Concession. Here we were fortunate to see more Cape Hunting Dogs, Leopard, Lion, Sable Antelope, Giraffe, Zebra and a very special night sighting of the very rarely seen Pel's Fishing Owl (well spotted by "Eagle eyes" Amy - thanks Amy :). We also got to see two Cape Honey Badgers foraging in the daylight.
Our third location on our mobile camping part of the photo safari was in Savuti area of the Chobe National Park. Once again, Marabou Pan provided a lot of activity and here we saw lots of Elephants, Blue Wildebeest and Lions from the "Marsh Pride". We also saw more Roan Antelope, Yellow Mongoose, and all 4 species of Hornbill.
The final section began with a 40-minute flight on MacAir from Savute to Kasane. Here we spent 3 nights at the Pangolin Chobe Hotel and had exclusive use of one of their amazing photo boats. The Pangolin Photo Boat is a perfect way to explore parts of the Chobe River and this mobile "hide" allows you to get very close to both birds and mammals. Some highlights from the Chobe River were Chacma Baboons, Malachite Kingfishers, the rare Half Collared Kingfisher and a juvenile White Backed Night Heron (my first sighting of one.) Sunsets on the water were wonderful and we also had a spectacular full moon setting over the river early one morning. The top highlight was waiting for and eventually photographing a herd of around 50 elephants swimming across a wide channel to the Namibian side of the Chobe River, what a wonderful way to end a fantastic photo safari to Botswana!
MASSIVE thanks go to the Letaka Camp Staff team who ALWAYS look after us so well. Thank you to chef KK for the amazing food !!, and to Names, July and Wilfred for looking after us so well in camp.
It goes without saying that without excellent guides, we would not have been in the right places at the right time to get some excellent photos. This is all thanks to Shado and Lucas, you guys were awesome! thank you for looking after us so well and for being so patient with us.
Our Chobe River boat captain was Smart - thanks again Smart for an excellent 3 days, it's always a pleasure working with you.
Thank you to all the staff at the new Pangolin Chobe Hotel, we had another brilliant stay with you.
Thank you also to our fantastic clients, especially Don, who put in a lot of hard work to get a great group of friends together to come and enjoy the magic of Botswana, thank you Don, Bruce, Sheldon, Linda, Amy and Meg.. it was great to share some of Africa's special treats with you all.
Enjoy some photos from the trip!
View the VIDEO TRIP REPORT for this photo safari
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My wife Joanie and I joined Wild4 for the Best of Kruger and Big Cats in August of 2014. It was our very first trip on an African safari. I’m a serious amateur photographer and my wife’s a non-photographer but both of us enjoyed the trip thoroughly ! To this day, we still regularly recall the highlights of sightings and events fondly. True to Wild4’s brand promise, Stu Porter delivers maximum photographic times spent chasing photo opportunities out in the field - out 6am as soon as the camp gate opens and back only 6pm when the gate closes. Having no more than three photographers on each of two jeeps allows every photographer immediate access to both sides of the vehicle. Stu always knows where to position the vehicle for the best vantage points. Every day has its highs – big cat chases and kills, grazers sparring, herds of elephants and buffaloes appearing from nowhere at water holes... Thanks to Stu and the enthusiasm and knowledge of experienced senior guide Mike Lentz. Camps in Kruger are basic (by first world standards) but hey this is a safari ! There’s the important benefit of being only a short drive away from dams, good spots to catch the first light when the sun rises. This is important as the gates do not open till 6am so there’s little margin for being late. I had the opportunity to experience first-hand, the Wild4 team’s dedication and commitment to a successful photo trip for guests, beyond the call of duty. The Wild4 team helped solved a major photographic equipment problem. Early afternoon on Day 5, the lens AF motor on my 400mm telephoto lens failed. This was really a disaster on a trip like this, as (like everyone else) I had a spare camera body but not a spare super telephoto lens ! The other lens I had was a medium telephoto zoom, hardly a lens to use with tele-converters. Murphy’s Law indeed ! This happened with seven more days to go ! I enquired with Stu about hiring a lens from the nearby towns. Stu sprang into action immediately whilst still on the afternoon game drive - got his back-office team to make enquiries back in Nelspruit town. This was something new to the Wild4 team as they never had to hire a lens but they found a lens on the same day, a 200-400mm that’s also ideal for safari. The lens had to be dispatched from almost 200 km away and Mr John Porter helped to drive south to collect the lens sooner. I had the use of this lens by the morning of Day 7, with one-and-half day “downtime” in a remote location. Service excellence lived by as a core value indeed. After eight nights I left Kruger National Park with the feeling that I was just warming up and was leaving too soon. I would have gladly extended a few more days if that was possible. But we were bound for the next destination. I notice Wild4 has not been static. More new trips were added. I see the enterprise is growing fast ! Joanie and I are now looking forward to a trip to Kenya, again with Stu and the Wild4 team.
Steve Seow, Singapore
The Wild 4 team made my trip to South Africa a truly memorable experience. Photographing some of the orphaned captive animals at the private game reserve on the extension was a great way to start the holiday, and Stu's tuition on techniques, composition and familiarity with your gear was the foundation for the rest of the trip. In Kruger we had some wonderful sightings - including the 'Big 5' all in one day on two consecutive days! The highlights were spending 20 minutes with a leopard cub in a tree no more than 30 metres away, and on the last day watching a pride of 14 lions stalking a herd of zebra for more than an hour - just wonderful experiences! I'm sure the quality of the shots I took was infinitely better than if I'd gone on a regular safari, as the whole focus of the experience is expertly designed to maximise photographic opportunities - including only 3 photographers in the specially designed vehicle. Stu's knowledge, enthusiasm and patience were boundless, and Ann's spotting and catering skills were also priceless! I hope to visit Africa again soon, and without doubt Wild 4 will be my first option.
Greg Morgan, UK