12-day Photo Safari Botswana Wildlife Explorer

Photo safari to the most legendary wildlife sanctuaries in southern Africa!


6 to 17 Oktober 2019 (filling fast)

12 days/11 nights from Maun / to Kasane

Minimum of 4, maximum of 8 people

Maun – Moremi Game Reserve – Khwai River – Savuti – Chobe National Park – Kasane

Exclusive photo safari Botswana Wildlife Explorer at the height of the dry season


This photo safari offers the very best for hobby photographers with a love of the natural world. Three of the most legendary wildlife sanctuaries in southern Africa at the height of the dry season, specially equipped vehicles and boats for photographers and spacious tented camps. Deluxe glamping in Botswana for nature fans!
This trip offers a number of extraordinary photographical highlights!
  • You will be visiting one of the wildest and most spectacular safari areas in Botswana at the height of the dry season, which is the best time of year for viewing wildlife. Action scenes at the water holes are inevitable. Let yourself be swept away by the legendary safari areas in Moremi Game Reserve, Khwai river and Chobe National Park.
  • On this photo tour you will be accompanied by the professional wildlife and nature photographer, James Gifford. James has been living in Botswana for 10 years and knows the parks and the animals like no other. Learn how to take pictures like a pro and benefit from putting James’s tips and tricks into practice!
  • Less is more: by having longer stays at the various locations we can ensure that there is plenty of time for viewing and photographing wild animals.
  • You will spend the night in comfortable tented camps right in the middle of nature on your very own bed. The camps have been set up especially for us and are used exclusively by our group. Enjoy an amazing experience of nature in luxury.
  • A charter flight will bring you to the Moremi Game Reserve. Enjoy a bird’s eye view of the Okavango Delta!
  • Boat trips along the Chobe River with a special photography boat, equipped with built-in stands and 360-degree swivel chairs. The special boat will allow you to come up close to the animals and photograph them from a particularly low camera angle. Eye level with the animals!
  • Exclusive for our group: max. 4 guests per safari vehicle instead of the usual 9 people.
  • Our vehicles and boats are specially equipped for photographers.
  • Small groups with a maximum of 8 participants.

Itinerary

Exclusive photo tour at the height of the dry season
DAY 1
Fly from Maun to Xakanaxa by bush plane
After making your way to Maun you will be greeted at the international airport shortly after arrival. Soon after we will hop on a bush plane and head towards Xakanaxa in the direction of the Moremi Game Reserve. This is the area where you will be spending the first 3 nights of your photo expedition. There will be guided game drives each day in the early morning and again in the late afternoon.

If you are already in Maun on this day, we can organise a transfer from your accommodation to the airport if needed.

Buffalos, Moremi Game Reserve
Bird Botswana Wildlife Explorer
DAYS 2 – 3
Time to explore Xakanaxa in the Moremi Game Reserve
You will spend two whole days in the Moremi Game Reserve - setting off early each morning and in the late afternoon to go on game drives so that you get the best light. The Moremi Game Reserve is located on the eastern nodes of the Okavango Delta. The region features wide flood plains, swamps, lagoons, papyrus-fringed channels, forests and savannas. It is rich in contrasts and plays host to an impressive array of wild animals and birdlife. The Moremi Game Reserve is one of Africa’s best reserves. Here is where you will have a very good chance of laying eyes on the endangered African wild dog. Large herds of buffaloes also venture here, and so do lions. In Moremi, the herds of elephants move between their feeding ground in the Mopane forests and the fresh water of the Okavango.

Your photography guide, James, will always be on hand to offer tips and tricks. Between game drives, you can decide to relax in the camp where James also offers short tutorials on various topics concerning photography. Of course, he will also discuss pictures you have already taken and help you to shoot even better pictures on your next game drive.
DAY 4
From the Moremi Game Reserve to the Khwai Region
After a light breakfast, we slowly drive north-east on our game drive, passing through the Moremi Game Reserve towards the Khwai community area. The Manuchira channel is known as the Khwai river at its eastern most extremities. The journey to the Khwai courses along the river bank, surrounded by wetlands, fields and the Mopane woodlands that make Khwai one of the most scenic areas of the Okavango. We pass the magnificent Dombo Hippo Pools in the morning, stopping to enjoy the scenery and the antics of the resident hippos. Leopards, cheetahs and lions can be seen on this route regularly. Both Xakanaxa and Khwai are also the habitats of various packs of wild dogs. You will also come across elephants, giraffes, plains zebra, impala, lechwe antelopes, and even roan antelopes and sable antelopes, which count among some of the rarer inhabitants.
Leopard
Giraffe Botswana Wildlife Explorer
DAYS 5 - 6
Time to explore the Khwai region
The Khwai river forms a boundary between the Moremi Game Reserve and the Khwai community area. You will spend the next two nights in an exclusive campsite in the community area where you can explore Khwai’s wetlands on game drives during the day and night. Exploring after dark with spotlights offers you the opportunity to see some of the nocturnal animals that are not frequently active during the day. It is important to note that night trips are not permitted in the national parks and reserves. Such activities are only allowed to be carried out beyond the boundaries of the Moremi Game Reserve within the Khwai community area.You will spend your time on game drives between the dry areas of the Leadwood and Camelthorn forests, savannahs, river banks and swampy waters of the Khwai river.
Lions Botswana Wildlife Exploer
Leopard
DAY 7
From the Khwai region to Savuti
You will travel farther north to the Chobe National Park where you will spend the next three nights in an exclusive camping site in the wilderness of the Savuti region. The journey to Savuti will feature views of the ancient Makgadikgadi Lake, which dried up tens of thousands of years ago. This tour’s greatest challenge will be traversing the Magwikwe sand ridge which once formed the shoreline of this massive inland sea. The winding route through this deep sand will make for an interesting journey. The old lake bed is now the Mababe lowland whose dense clay soil is very rich in protein and thus forms a good food source for the wildlife that is abundant in this area after the rainy season. Once in Savuti, we will explore the surrounding area on a daytime game drive.
DAYS 8 - 9
Time to explore the Savuti region
Unlike much of the country, Savuti is not a completely flat landscape. Large hills of volcanic rock rise from the Kalahari sand high above the unending savannah. These hills provide a habitat for a range of small animals, birds and plants. The Savuti marshland is in fact the backdrop for many of the dramatic wildlife documentaries in Africa. Dramatic scenes and excellent viewing opportunities are guaranteed – thanks to the wide, open landscape, large ungulate populations, particularly large prides of lions and clans of hyenas. The mostly dry Savuti channel winds through this region and connects the dry sandy fields, water holes, hills and grasslands, which so characterise the Savuti marshland.

The interplay between lions and elephants is without a doubt one of the most interesting aspects of Savuti. The area is inhabited by a large pride of lions whose numbers vary between 20 and 30 members. These extraordinary lions have learnt over the years how to hunt the massive pachyderm down. They start their attack by cover of night and with their large numbers they can manage to kill juveniles and younger, adult elephants. The marshland is the main territory of the cheetah and in the rainy season it is not unheard of to see wild dogs.
Yellow Billed Kite Botswana Wildlife Explorer
Savuti Botswana Wildlife Explorer
DAY 10
Onward journey to the Chobe river
Today you leave Savuti early in the morning to go to Kasane. The journey will take you through the sparse Mopane undergrowth of the Goha clay basin, over the sand ridge, past the beautiful Zambezi teak forests of the Chobe Forest Reserve up to the Chobe river itself. The Chobe floodplain is ten kilometres wide and the water reaches as far as the eye can see in years of exceptional rainfall. We will stop for a picnic before arriving in Kasane. In the afternoon, we go on a boat safari on the Chobe river using a boat specially developed for photographers, equipped with fixed stands and swivel chairs.

You will have excellent opportunities to view the wildlife during the dry season along the Chobe river. There will only be a few sources of water left and particularly large herds of elephants and buffaloes gather to drink at the bank.

Crocodile Botswana Wildlife Explorer
Elephants Chobe
DAY 11
Exploring the Chobe river on a special photo boat
The day will be devoted to the Chobe river. You will explore the animal life in and around the river with the photography boat both during the morning and the afternoon. Photographing from a boat offers excellent angles from which to take pictures and animals such as buffalo, elephant, antelope and many more can be viewed at ‘eye-level’, or even from a lower angle. Particularly beautiful pictures can be taken at sunset when your subjects will be backlit and you will be able to get stunning shots of animals in dust clouds.
Photo Boat
Kingfisher Chobe
DAY 12
End of the photography expedition and journey home
Now it is time to bid farewell. The photo expedition finishes today. Enjoy having a little lie-in – the morning is yours to do with as you please. Later you will be getting on your international flight home or continuing your holiday under your own steam.

Accommodation

Adventure, glamping and pure enjoyment
Comfortable tented camps in and national parks and wildlife reserves
You will be sleeping in a comfortable tented camp when on safari in the national parks and wildlife reserves. The luxury camp will be set up for you every time you stop for the day. You will be spending the night in the middle of nature in comfortable, spacious tents. Safari-style tents are 3 x 4m tall with a high roof and also feature a 3 x 3m bathroom and a 2 x 3m large shade roof in front of the entrance. All the tents have large windows with mosquito nets as well as private en suite bathrooms. Every tent has two beds with comfortable mattresses, covers and pillows. Each tent also features an oil lamp on the veranda and chargeable LED camping lights on side tables next to the beds and in the bathroom.

The bathroom has a bush shower, bush toilet and a small sink. Hot, cold or warm showers are available at any time. The water is heated over an open fire.

The camp team, which also includes the safari guides, a cook and other employees, will make sure your stay is a pleasant one. The meals will be prepared over an open fire by the camp crew. You will be amazed at what the cook can whip up. During meals, beautifully set tables with comfortable chairs will be available. You don’t need to worry about anything – just sit back, relax and enjoy the nature around the camp, or pour over your latest photos.
Beautiful Lodge with spectacular views across the Chobe floodplains
At the Pangolin Chobe Lodge, there are a total of 14 bedrooms. Each of the rooms has a private balcony with spectacular views across the Chobe floodplains. The rooms are all air-conditioned with plenty of plug points and places to store camera gear and luggage.

The heart of the Pangolin Chobe lodge is the dining room, editing area, bar and pool terrace. The aim of the Pangolins Chobe Lodge is to have an inclusive elegant and relaxed atmosphere where you immediately feel like you are a part of a club. The walls are adorned with amazing wildlife images to inspire you, and there are plenty of places to relax and spend time with your fellow travellers. On the upper floor is the bar, with a table dedicated to editing and workshops.
Lounge, Lodge Kasane
Lodge Kasane

Photo Guide

Take pictures like a pro with James Gifford
James Gifford takes responsibility for leading this scheduled photo tour, or if he is unwell/unavailable, another guide from our team will take over.

James Gifford
Always an avid traveller, it was the continent of Africa and its wildlife that first captivated me from an early age, beckoning repeatedly until it could eventually be called home. Combining much enthusiasm and a smattering of technical knowledge, I eventually managed to ditch the London life and settled into what is a photographer's dream location in Africa.

I now spend much of my time in the bush, either photographing wildlife for editorial features, running specialist photographic safaris or shooting stills and videos for safari lodges for their marketing campaigns.

Like any wildlife photographer worth their salt, I would like to hope that in some small way my work makes a difference in highlighting the diminishing availability of the planet’s wildlife, whilst also illustrating the fact that raw beauty and true wilderness locations do still exist, if you look hard enough. It is not too late.

learn more about James

We talked to James about his passion for photography: read more here
Who is this photo safari Botswana suitable for?
This trip is perfect for both beginners and advanced photographers. Our photography guide, James, will be supported by another Amazing Views photography guide, so that we can provide assistance in both English and German. The small group sizes give the photography guides leeway to attend to the various needs of beginners and advanced photographers. You will be on the trail with like-minded people who love photography and the great outdoors, as well as want to expand their knowledge of the art of taking pictures.

This trip will also be a unique experience of nature for partners who do not share your love of photography as they will get the chance to view animals from the safari vehicle, boat or even a mokoro canoe.

Tour Price

Included in the price
  • Photographic supervision by professional photographers
  • Guided tour in English & German
  • 9 overnight stays in a cosy and spacious tented camp with comfortable beds and en suite bathrooms - exclusively at private campsites within the national parks and wildlife reserves.
  • All meals and drinks (mineral water, soft drinks, beer, wine and G&T) in the tented camps
  • 2 overnight stays in the Pangolin Lodge, Kasane (or similar), including all meals
  • Professional safari guides as well as a safari cook and camp employees with a dedicated supplies vehicle
  • 2 game drives/activities per day
  • Game drives in a safari vehicle specially equipped for our photo expedition
  • Exclusive use of the photography boat on the Chobe river
  • All entry and camp fees within the parks and reserves
  • All transfers from Maun/to Kasane
  • All-in-one info package - extensive information on the trip, checklists, tips and much more
Not included in the price
  • Travel there and back (Maun/Kasane)
  • Drinks in the Pangolin Lodge, Kasane
  • Personal expenses
  • Optional transfers and excursions
  • Tips/gratuities
  • Premium and imported drinks
  • Any visa application fees
  • Travel insurance/cancellation cover
  • Any airport fees
*) strictly limited, availability must be checked
We reserve the right to change prices (especially due to exchange rate fluctuations)

Terms & Conditions
The Terms and Conditions of Amazing Views & Adventure Tours apply, as well as all other conditions which are listed in the descriptions for the respective trips.

Good to know
  • Every guest is guaranteed a ‘window seat’ in the safari vehicles. Our safari trips are different in that there is a maximum of 4 people on board each vehicle instead of the usual 9.
  • There are beanbags and tripod fixtures in the safari vehicles.
  • As there is only pure wilderness between Maun and Kasane, there is no electricity in the camps. However, the specially equipped safari vehicles feature adapters with which to charge camera batteries and other devices.
  • The luggage weight limit for our photo tours is 27 kg per person, including hand baggage and camera equipment, which is high for the sorts of small planes used for our flights (The normal limit is 20 kg). Baggage may only be in the form of soft sports bags or duffel bags.
  • The month of October is the best time of the dry season and is ideal for viewing wildlife.
  • Temperatures can reach 40 degrees Celsius.
  • The trip is not particularly physically demanding.
  • As you may be aware, your accommodation is often in national parks, which are quite far away from civilisation.
  • We recommend taking malaria tablets and getting the usual vaccinations when travelling to Botswana. Please consult with a doctor specialising in tropical medicine, or your GP.
  • We strongly advise you to purchase insurance for cancellation and return journey costs, which will be needed in the event of a secluded region being evacuated, a local hospital stay or return travel costs to your home country in an emergency.

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