Botswana is one of the great wildlife countries in Africa offering spectacular photography opportunities in dramatic habitats—the Okavango Delta and Chobe National Park. Bisected by the Tropic of Capricorn and located on the southern African plateau, landlocked Botswana encompasses an area slightly larger than France. This fascinating country enjoys an incredible richness of wildlife and represents the last hope for a great refuge from elephant poaching—and large herds still roam the unspoiled parks!
"Camp Moremi and Savute Lodge were both outstanding, The accommodation there was excellent and the staff in both places were
truly wonderful. One thing that was particularly pleasing was the overall skill level and knowledge of the driver-guides we had.
Botswana is so arid that much of its land is uninhabitable. Yet, paradoxically, Botswana also contains one of the world's great wetlands and the largest inland delta—the Okavango. During the annual “flood,” the mighty Okavango River rises in Angola, flows into the Okavango Delta, and then abruptly disappears into the desert. This seasonal abundance of water limits human settlement. Canals of deep, clear flowing water lined by waving papyrus fronds reveal the underwater “highways” of feeding hippos, lurking Nile crocodiles and the elusive sitatunga—an antelope that seems to walk on water with its broad, splayed hooves.
During our shoot we stay in two small and luxurious bush camps, both located in the heart of the regional photo action. With a full tour we may have these camps almost exclusively for our group. Our first camp—at the Moremi Reserve in the lush Okavango Delta—is on the beautiful Xakanaxa Lagoon under cool towering ebony trees. Lions, cheetahs and leopards are counted among the area’s many highlights. Our camp lies within Chobe National Park on the banks of the famous Savuti Channel, sometimes called the “Stolen River” because it remains dry for exceptionally long periods—a consequence of tectonic activity in the area. It is currently flowing again and in January 2010 reached the Mababe Depression (once the Savuti Marsh) for the first time since 1982. As a result of this variable flow, there are hundreds of dead trees along the channel's bank populated by a host of animals that inhabit this unique biome. The channel and the Mababe Depression support an incredible number of elephants.
We see a number of ungulate species that can’t be photographed in East Africa—red lechwe, tsessebe, and the beautiful roan and sable antelopes. Another outstanding feature of Botswana is its remaining population of wild dogs. We search for their denning areas during our stay. With its great mammal herds still intact, an impressive variety of birdlife and low number of tourists, Botswana affords a “wilderness” wildlife photography experience as it was in East Africa 50 years ago.
We dine al fresco, enjoy the evening campfire and, if we’re not too busy downloading from all the day’s shooting, night game drives are possible here.
Join us on an amazing Photo Safari in this safe and thriving country, to see Africa as it existed during the days of Burton and Livingston!
To learn more about this trip, read John Shaw's 2013 Botswana Trip Report.
Depart from home.
Day 2 (Sep 5)
Arrive in Johannesburg, South Africa. Meet the leader. Dinner and overnight accommodation included at a convenient airport hotel. (D)
Morning flight on commercial jet to Maun, Botswana. We continue on a short flight aboard light aircraft to our small luxury camp in the Moremi Reserve in the Okavango Delta. Our first game drive is this afternoon. Along with the mammals, birds provide exceptional photo opportunities here. Wildlife possibilities include elephants, buffaloes, giraffes, lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, African wild dogs (Cape hunting dogs) jackals, impalas and red lechwes. Moremi contains one of the last great strongholds for wild dogs in Africa. Along with the mammals, almost 500 species of birds have been recorded here and provide exceptional photo opportunities. (BLD)
With an area of just under 5,000 square kilometers (1,900 square miles), Moremi is a surprisingly diverse wildlife reserve, combining mopane woodland and acacia forests, extensive floodplains and lagoons. Only about 30% of the reserve is upland, with the bulk of the reserve being within the floodplain of the Okavango Delta itself. We explore the shallow flood plain waterways by boat and the dense riverine forest by vehicle, photographing during morning and late afternoon light. We return to camp during midday for lunch and rest. (BLD)
To the northeast lies Chobe National Park which borders the Moremi Game Reserve. Chobe hosts one of the largest and most diverse concentrations of wildlife in Africa. Light aircraft takes us to our second small and luxurious lodge in Chobe National Park at Savuti. (BLD)
We have these three full days to photograph nearly all of the big mammals of the Savuti region. In late afternoon, huge bull elephants, and other animals, come to the water hole at our lodge. We dine next to this amazing wildlife concentration where several herds, each comprised of several dozen elephants may converge to drink just a stone’s throw from our dining tables. (BLD)
Day 11 (Sep 14)
We return to Johannesburg and depart for home or take time to visit world-renowned Victoria Falls on our optional extension. (B)
Victoria Falls Extension
Day 1 (Sep 14)
We travel across the border with Zimbabwe to our small elegant camp on a private concession bounded by the Masuwe River and the Zambezi gorges. Every tent has breathtaking views from its own private deck. As sunset approaches we spend the evening photographing Victoria Falls. (BLD)
We have a full day to explore Victoria Falls—Mosi-oa-Tunya
or the “Smoke that Thunders.” We compose sunrise and sunset images from camp, then depart to areas outside the concession—walkways along the gorge with a variety of excellent viewpoints. (BLD)
We have one last sunrise shoot at the falls before departing for Victoria Falls airport and returning to Johannesburg in time for late afternoon flights home. (BL)
Day 4 (Sep 17)
- Photograph the two most diverse and wildlife-rich areas of Botswana—the Okavango Delta wetlands at Moremi and Chobe National Park at Savuti
- Fly in privately chartered aircraft between lodges
- Reside in small luxurious safari lodges situated at the center of wildlife action
- Wild dog photography a good possibility
- Optional extension to Victoria Falls
Sep 04 - Sep 15, 2017
Fee: $11,995 from Johannesburg, South Africa
Victoria Falls Extension Details
Dates: Sep 14–17, 2017