Best of Botswana Photo Safari

 5-15 September 2015 (SOLD OUT)

090204_GrantAtkinsonLinyantiRiver_2711Safari Leaders: Grant Atkinson and Randy Hanna

Randy Hanna and I will be leading a small group of photographers on a photo safari through some of the best of Botswana’s wildlife areas.  On this safari we will spend our time in the Okavango Delta, the Linyanti and on the Chobe River.  All three of these regions are rich in wildlife, and the timing of our trip is set to coincide with the last part of the dry season, which is typically a time when wildlife viewing is at it’s best.  Importantly we have a maximum of only 4 photographers per vehicle, which means every participant has room to spare.

Many animals, especially elephants, will congregate along the permanent water sources in the areas we will be visiting.  Our photo-safari will combine some of the finest wildlife photography anywhere with comfortable accommodation in three different safari camps, along with photographic and image processing instruction.

We have carefully selected camps in completely different areas in order to create a private safari geared specifically toward serious photography and game viewing.

Safari Highlights

  • Private vehicles throughout the entire safari, with only 1 person per row of seating (the vehicles have 3 rows behind the driver, as well as a seat alongside the driver.)
  • An increased luggage allowance so you can bring all your camera gear – up to 75 pounds per person allowance. Standard weight allowance is typically only 44 pounds by comparison.
  • Knowledgeable and skilled safari guides will drive us in open Land Cruisers with canvas shade canopies at Khwai and Linyanti and the specially designed Pangolin photo boat on the Chobe River to help us locate the wildlife that we will be looking for.
  • Included in the cost of this safari is a 30-minute scenic helicopter flight (with doors removed and a window seat for everyone) at one of either Khwai or Linyanti camp. Additional or extended helicopter flights will be available at an extra cost.
  • This safari offers superb game viewing and photographic opportunities in some of the best areas in Southern Africa.
  • This itinerary focuses on a real wildlife experience from the surroundings of your authentic bush camp accommodations.
  • The areas visited offer an insight into the diverse array of wildlife in Botswana and the Chobe River separating Botswana from Namibia to the north.

Is this Safari for You?

Here are some key points to help you decide:

  1. We welcome photographers of ALL levels. This safari will be conducive to learning from one another and include instruction that will suit everyone’s photographic needs. No question is off limits, no inquiry too basic.
  2. We are BIG on photographing in the field. We spend most our time and effort on safari activity and making images. We do meet daily to review images and discuss technique, but this is not a “classroom-intensive” trip. Our “classroom sessions” are optional (although the review sessions are valuable and there is not a more beautiful classroom).
  3. Non-photographer or videographer spouses / travel companions will love these safaris. We have specialist guides leading all safari activities and optional activities (boating, walks, etc.) are also available subject to camp restrictions.

Itinerary

05-06 September 2015 (1 night)

D’Oreale Grande – Emperor’s Palace, Johannesburg, South Africa

Stay close to the airport at the D’oreale Grande at Emperor’s Palace.  Upon arriving at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, and after collecting luggage and clearing customs, you will be met by a representative of Eyes On Africa, who will transfer you by road to the D’oreale Grande. We’ll meet late in the day at the hotel’s restaurant and get to know each other over dinner.

The D’oreale Grande at Emperors Palace is a five-star hotel, luxuriously adorned with hand painted murals and frescos, marble floors, plush carpets, and intricate mosaics. The hotel was recently accepted as a member of Great Hotels of the World – Luxury Collection.

The D’oreale Grande features 196 beautifully designed and impeccably appointed rooms and suites that are fitted with plush, state-of the-art facilities. The hotel’s comfort levels are enhanced by superior levels of service and guest relations.

All rooms incorporate air-conditioning, multi-channel satellite TV, complimentary wireless internet access (Wi-Fi) and the convenience of 24-hour room services. Guests can dine at the elegant conservatory-styled Aurelia’s restaurant, meet or relax in private conclaves of the reception area, absorb the gentle strains of the piano in the Aurelia’s Lounge and Cocktail Bar, or sip on a cocktail while watching the African sunset from a lounge or cocktail bar in the manicured and terraced gardens of the hotel.

The group will transfer back to OR Tambo airport the next morning, where we catch our flight to Maun, Botswana.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Please note that the cost of your overnights(s) in South Africa are NOT included in the trip price.  Some guests may choose to arrive early and stay more than one night and some may choose to arrive the morning of departure for Botswana, so we have excluded this from the trip fare.  Additionally, the cost of the flight from Johannesburg to Maun on Day 1 is NOT included in the trip price, but we will arrange for everyones tickets and you will only be charged when ticketed.

6-9 September 2015 (3 Nights)

Khwai Tented Camp – Okavango Delta, Botswana

On arrival at Khwai airstrip after a short 30-minute flight from Maun, we will be met and transferred to our camp (a short game drive in our private Land Cruisers).

Our group will have the use of private driver-guides and vehicles throughout our 3-day stay at Khwai Tented Camp.  Whilst at this camp, we will tailor our schedule around the best photographic opportunities in the area.

Providing a peaceful co-existence between man and nature, the Khwai Community Concession allows us to experience the best of wildlife in Botswana’s iconic Moremi Game Reserve, combining our safari with a taste of culture in the old village of Khwai.  In addition to twice-daily game drives, there are guided walks and village visits to the Khwai Community that can be arranged.  We’re also able to go off-road here, which makes it possible for us to really make the most of photographic opportunities that may come our way.

The Okavango Delta is an incredibly diverse mosaic of woodland, water, and floodplains, filled with a wide variety of animal life. Our time at Khwai will be spent doing game drives along the edges of seasonal channels and fringing floodplains, as well as in the woodlands that border the area. Aside from the stunning scenic beauty of the Khwai, we can also expect to enjoy some high-quality encounters with its wildlife. Khwai is home to plenty of plains game such as Buffalo, Zebra, Giraffe, Impala and more. It is known as a place where some exceptionally large bull elephants spend time. Here we may also have our best chance of seeing the endangered African Wild Dog. Over the past few seasons, more than one pack of these highly social carnivores has frequented this area. Spending time with an active pack of wild dogs is a photographers delight, as they are high-energy animals, and often exciting to watch. Khwai is also a great place for birds of prey.

09-12 September 2015 (3 Nights)

Linyanti Bush Camp – Linyanti Reserve, northern Botswana

Linyanti Bush Camp in northern Botswana.  Our flight from Khwai to the Linyanti is a 30-minute plane ride, taking us to the northernmost reaches of Botswana and the banks of the Linyanti River.  On arrival at the airstrip, we will be met and transferred via game drive vehicles to our next camp.

Bordering the Chobe National Park lies the forgotten paradise of the Linyanti Reserve and our next camp, Linyanti Bush Camp.

Linyanti Bush Camp is situated right on the banks of the Linyanti River, in a private concession area. Remote and rugged, the woodlands and marshes of the Linyanti support good numbers of elephants, hippo and a wide variety of Botswana’s wildlife species including giraffe, leopard and lion. Primate species that can be seen here include vervet monkey and Chacma baboon. African wild dogs also move through this area. The Linyanti provides year-round water for many of the animals that occur here, and the dry season (while we’ll be there) is the best time to take advantage of this scenario. The variety of habitats include the lily-dotted lagoons and winding channels of the river, along with narrow belts of riverine forest, and grassy plains. In our private concession we will be able to go off-road for better photographic positioning, and we will also be able to return to camp after dark if we so wish. One of the remotest and most inaccessible parts of Africa, Linyanti offers more remote, private safari opportunities than the national parks allow, with walking and night drives possible, as well as off-road driving.

This magnificent area boasts of unparalleled wilderness with highlights of big herds of buffalo in the dry season and large herds of elephants can be viewed at the rivers and waterholes, and many zebra concentrate in the winter before heading south. Other wildlife seen includes lion, leopard, cheetah, wild dog, giraffe, eland, sable, hippo, hyena and various other nocturnal species. Numerous water birds are common year-round in the Linyanti.

Bonus Activity:  We have arranged for everyone to have a 30-minute helicopter excursion with 3 guests per ride, doors off for open photography and everyone has a “window” seat.  This will allow everyone to come home with some wonderful aerial images of the region from above.

12-15 September 2015 (3 Nights)

Waterlily Lodge – Chobe Riverfront – Kasane, Botswana

Our flight from the Linyanti takes us east along the Linyanti River to the border town of Kasane, Botswana.  Here we will be met and transferred on a quick 10-minute drive to our accommodation at Waterlily Lodge.

Accommodation consists of 10 spacious rooms, each with 2 single beds. The rooms have been built around one side of a central circular courtyard on 2 floors and are situated on the back of the lodge, which makes it very quiet and great for a good nights sleep. They also face the gardens as well as overlooking the Chobe River itself.  Our activities for these three days will be focused on boating and photography, mostly from the river.  We will also have the option of accessing a ground-level elephant viewing hide, for some low-angle and intimate photography, if conditions are suitable for us to visit, during our stay.  Twice daily we will be picked up from Waterlily’s private pier, making our stay here one of convenience and ease.

Our boating will be hosted by Pangolin Safaris, whom we have sub-contracted for our activities along the Chobe.  The Pangolin boats are ideally suited and custom-designed especially for photography and their guides know the river intimately.

The Chobe River during the dry season is one of the most incredible places in Africa to get up close to wildlife.  During the months of August-October the Chobe River becomes a vital water source for large numbers of elephant, buffalo, waterbuck, kudu, impala and warthog. The Chobe River is also one of the best places to photograph hippos and crocodiles. Waterbirds abound, and add an entirely new chapter to our photographic opportunities, as do some of the raptors that occur in the area. Most bird species are more approachable on the Chobe than anywhere, making for high-quality photographic opportunities.  By basing ourselves right on the river, we are just a few minutes boat ride away from the park entrance.  The Pangolin Photo boat is also fully licenced for photographic work in all parts of the Chobe river, which means that we are free to travel wherever we wish on the river, both on the Botswana side and the Namibian side, in pursuit of good photographs.

16 September 2015

This morning, after an early-morning excursion, we will be transferred from Waterlily Lodge to Kasane airport once again where we will catch our scheduled flight (please note that the cost of this flight is NOT included in the trip price, but we will arrange for everyones tickets and you will only be charged when ticketed) back to Johannesburg. International flights may be scheduled to depart that evening (if feasible) to home destinations or an additional night hotel stay can be arranged for you upon request. See note below regarding travel extensions.

NOTE:

Air travel and Customized extensions to this safari, including Johannesburg, Cape Town, Victoria Falls and other destinations may be arranged through Eyes on Africa as desired.  Ask us for further information.

Costs

The cost of this all-inclusive safari is $9,985 per person (note that this price if for a safari starting in Maun, Botswana and ending in Kasane, Botswana… overnights in Johannesburg and flights out of and into Johannesburg are not included.  We will of course organize any and all flights for you, as well as any overnight(s) in Johannesburg, but these costs are additional to the trip fare shown above.  Please also see NOTES below). The same rate applies for each participant regardless of whether they are doing photography and participating in the workshop, or not.

Due to the limited number of spaces available, if a solo guest is willing to share a room and we can match with another guest of the same gender, we will do so. If a solo guest is unwilling to share, then a single supplement will be charged (up to, but not exceeding the full sharing cost).

Please note: We will attempt to adhere to this itinerary as much as possible. However, certain conditions (political, climatic, environmental, cultural, or wildlife migrations) may necessitate changes in the itinerary. We reserves the right to alter any itinerary at any time, if necessary. We will attempt to notify participants of changes as far in advance as possible. Costs incurred by such changes will be the responsibility of the participant.

NOTES

  • This safari starts in Johannesburg (September 19) and ends in Johannesburg (September 29).
  • Please note that the cost of the commercial flight from Johannesburg to Maun (Sep 19) and the flight from Kasane, Botswana back to Johannesburg (Sep 29) are NOT INCLUDED in the trip price above. We will arrange for these flights for you and you will only be charged when ticketed.
  • Gratuities for guides and camp staff are recommended to be paid in cash.
  • Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted in Johannesburg and the safari camps for any optional expenditures during the trip as needed.

Inclusions and Exclusions

What is included

  • Accommodation on a shared basis
  • Private round-trip air charters from Maun to safari camps and back to Maun
  • Additional luggage allowance on the flights / air charters within Botswana (35kg allowance per person)
  • Private vehicles (open 4×4’s) at both Botswana camps
  • Private Pangolin photo boat for the group in Kasane
  • 2x Professional photographers leading the trip (Grant Atkinson and Randy Hanna)
  • All safari activities
  • One 30-minute helicopter excursion to get aerial photos. Doors will be removed for photography and everyone will have a “window” seat.
  • Services of the lodge guides & staff
  • Relevant park fees
  • All meals and local (non-premium brand) drinks while in the safari camps
  • Daily laundry
  • The current Tourism Levies and all relevant Value Added Tax or Government Sales Taxes

What is not included

  • International airfare and/or other transportation between your home and Johannesburg
  • Airfare between Johannesburg, South Africa and Maun, Botswana (September 19)
  • Airfare between Kasane, Botswana and Johannesburg, South Africa (September 29) – (we will arrange for these flights for you and you will only be charged when ticketed)
  • Premium brand wines and liquors (available at extra cost payable directly)
  • Visas
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal purchases (including curios, spirits, liquors, telephone calls etc.)
  • Gratuities
  • Optional extra activities
  • Pre- and post- safari tours
  • Meals or accommodation before or after the safari (except as noted in the detailed itinerary)

Please read our Safari Code of Ethics and Conduct.

 

How do I signup?

This group will be very small and exclusive (a maximum of 6 participants), so space is VERY limited. If this exciting safari workshop has your name on it and you’re excited by the thought of joining on this trip, then now is the time to register. Remember, there will be limited space available for this workshop and when the spots are spoken for, that’s it. If you have any questions before registering, send an e-mail with any inquiries.

Gallery

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