Okavango Delta Botswana November 2017

31 October-9 November 2017  ( 7 positions available )

Grant-Atkinson-Selinda_W1A0160_0191In November 2017, Helena Atkinson and I will be leading a private photographic safari to the Okavango Delta and the Selinda, in northern Botswana.

The safari and workshop combines some of the best wildlife photography anywhere with two great safari camps, and photographic and digital workflow instruction.  With a small group, and two leaders, the quality of the whole experience is maximized. We have chosen specific camps in the Selinda and Okavango, to help create a private safari geared towards serious photography and game viewing.  Both camps are in private concessions, and that brings with it extra freedom.  This safari is carefully timed to take advantage of the photographic bonuses that the early summer can provide, in the form of dramatic and interesting skies, rich green grass backgrounds, baby antelope and migrant birds.  With a maximum group size of 7 photographers, we will make use of two safari vehicles.

 

Safari Highlights

  • We have private vehicles throughout the safari, with only 1 person per row of seating (the vehicles have 3 rows behind the driver, plus a seat next to the driver if you want to be nearer the ground.)
  • Two photo leaders means there will always be a photo leader with every participant, for every activity.
  • The small size of the group means maximum quality time with two photographic leaders both in the field, and in camp, with regard to furthering camera, editing and processing skills.
  • An increased luggage allowance so you can bring all your camera gear – up to 80 pounds (36 kg) per person allowance on the charter flights. Standard weight allowance is typically only 44 pounds (20 kg) by comparison.
  • Exclusive and private use of our vehicles in both safari camps, ensuring freedom to make our own schedule and maximize time spent in the field.
  • Both camps located in private concession areas, with low vehicle densities.
  • Knowledgeable and passionate safari guides in Botswana will drive us in open Land Cruisers to help us get the images we are after.
  • Helicopter transfer flight over some of the most scenic areas in northern Botswana.
  • 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 comfortable accommodations.
  • The reserves you will visit offer an insight to the fantastic wildlife in Botswana.

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 at any time.

4. Grant Atkinson and Helena Atkinson, the photographic leaders of the trip, will spend an equal amount of time with each of the two vehicles throughout the photosafari.

Itinerary

31 October-01 November 2017; (1 night)

D’OREALE GRANDE

dOreale JhbEmperor’s Palace, Johannesburg, South Africa

Stay close to the airport at the D’oreale Grande at Emperor’s Palace.  On your arrival at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport, and after clearing customs and collecting your luggage, you will be met by an Eyes on Africa representative, 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 scheduled flight to Maun, Botswana.  The cost of this flight is NOT included.

After arrival in Maun, we collect our bags and check-in for our light aircraft flight (approximately 50 minutes) to Selinda camp, in the Selinda concession.  On arrival at Selinda airfield, you will be met and transferred on a game drive to the camp – our base for the next 4 days.

01-05 November 2017; (4 Nights)

SELINDA CAMP

selinda096Selinda Camp, Selinda Concession, Botswana

From Maun, we will take a light aircraft transfer flight (with extra luggage allowance for camera gear inclusive) to Selinda (approx 50 minutes).  On arrival at Selinda airstrip, we will be met and transferred on a short drive (30 minutes) to the camp.

Selinda Camp is a small, wonderful, luxury tented safari camp that is situated on the banks of the eastern Selinda Spillway – a waterway that links Botswana’s Okavango Delta to the Linyanti and Kwando marshes, rivers and floodplains. The shaded camp is raised a meter or so off the ground and offers extraordinary views over the floodplains, waterways and wide open savannas which are only broken by distinctive and attractive palm islands. It is these views that are one of Selinda’s most compelling features. Guests sit on their verandas while enjoying their meals and gaze over the floodplains of Africa enjoying the passing wildlife as it has done for millennia. There is hardly a moment which goes by without animals in front of camp.

Selinda Camp is located in the 320,000 acre Selinda Reserve, one of Botswana’s prime wildlife viewing locations and most beautiful settings.The Selinda Reserve follows the course of the Selinda Spillway as it connects the Okavango to the Linyanti / Kwando river systems. The Selinda Spillway is like no other. It is a river that can flow in two directions, depending on where the water levels are the highest. In most years it flows in both directions with water pushing ‘up’ from the Linyanti waterways and also ‘down’ from the west, fed by the waters of the Okavango Delta.

The Selinda Reserve is one of Botswana’s famous wildlife ‘concessions’ or private reserves that offers all the privacy that Botswana is famous for.  The Selinda Reserve has a network of small tracks that traverse the area, and if there is something special on the go, we can go ‘off-road’ sensitively when there is something exceptionable.

Selinda has nine guest tents under thatch, accommodating a maximum of 18 guests. Each tent has comfortable three-quarter sized beds, and fine linen. Luxurious mosquito nets add to the romantic atmosphere of our tents and ceiling fans and roof vents cool your living space when needed. The interiors have writing desks and lounge furniture collected from around the world for those that want to write or relax between drives and walks.

There are spacious, en-suite bathrooms, with full sized stone baths and antique showers. Dual vanity basins complement the sense of luxury and sliding doors allow for privacy or create an open-air bathroom feel as well. Hot and cold water is in ample supply.

We have chosen to stay at Selinda for a variety of reasons. Perhaps the foremost of these is the wide variety of wildlife for which this region is known. Lions roam this area and have done so for a long time. We might expect to come across them in any of the different habitats that make up this diverse concession. Leopards also occur here and favor the ribbons of riverine forest that line the waterways, but they can be found almost anywhere. Aside from these two charismatic cats, Selinda also provides ideal habitat for African wild dogs and over the last five years or so, the wild dogs have denned with success here. Spotted hyena are also present and add still more to the variety on offer.

GrantAtkinson-Selinda_94A4462The Selinda Channel is a semi-permanent water source that connects the waters of the Okavango River to the northern waterways of the Selinda, Savuti and Linyanti. Our camp is located right on the banks of this important waterway. The Selinda also provides a constant source of replenishment for the herds of elephant and buffalo that frequent its floodplains, woodlands and islands. Other game animals that we might encounter include hippo, giraffe, and a mix of interesting antelope species, like impala, kudu, waterbuck, red lechwe and very rarely, sable antelope. The mix of different habitats also makes for good birding.

In addition to the wide variety of animals that we may encounter, staying at Selinda camp also means that we will be able to venture off-road in order to improve our vehicle positioning for photography

The next day, after our morning activity, we will take a helicopter ride that allows us great viewing of the fascinating landscape of this area, and ends at Duba Plains camp, our base for the next 4 days.

05-09 November 2017 (4 nights)

Duba Expedition camp – Northern Okavango Delta, Botswana

Duba-019After our helicopter flight, we will arrive at the Duba airfield, and then be transferred on a short game drive to the camp.  Throughout our 4-day stay at Duba we will set our own hours and schedule to allow us to take full advantage of photographic opportunities.

Duba Expedition camp is newly opened, and limited to just 6 tents.  The camp is in one of the more remote locations in the Okavango Delta, within a 77 000 acre private concession area, which is leased from the local communities.

Duba Expedition camp is set in a private concession of 35,000 hectares (77 000 acres) on the northern border of the Moremi Game Reserve. The area is made up of a superb variety of habitats, which include seasonal floodplains, riverine areas, open grasslands and sandy islands.

Duba offers guests game drives in open 4×4 vehicles during the day and at night accompanied by an experienced guide.

Game viewing is excellent here, and includes buffalo, elephant, lion,spotted hyaena, side-striped jackal, reedbuck, lechwe, tsessebe, impala, zebra and hippo.  Duba is a great place for photography with its extensive, floodplain system, and shallow channels weaving through and around palm islands.

Duba is one of the places made famous by the natural history film makers Derek and Beverley Joubert.  Two of their documentaries feature much footage from Duba, Relentless Enemies, as well as The Last Lions.  Lion numbers are good at Duba, and they typically provide high-quality viewing during a stay there.  Duba is one of the places where the possibility exists of seeing the big cats crossing water, due to the mosaic of channels, islands and plains that make up this area.

Although lions do still hunt buffalo at Duba, it does not happen on a daily basis and it is not necessarily an expectation to see a kill there, as it used to be ten years back.

Duba is also a great place to see some of the more striking of the Okavango’s antelope, with good numbers of red lechwe.  With its richly-coloured coat, and ringed horns, the red lechwe is especially adapted for the swampy conditions it lives in. Its splayed, elongated hooves give it a sure footing, allowing it to inhabit the outskirts of the permanent swamps.  Tsessebe and greater kudu also thrive at Duba.

With an incredible wealth of species, the Okavango is a haven for birding enthusiasts. Wattled cranes, spurwinged geese, ibis, spoonbills, herons, egrets, saddlebilled storks, as well as bee-eaters, kingfishers are just some of the wide variety of birds that may be seen and photographed at Duba. A quintessential African sound, the haunting call of the African fish eagle can be heard echoing over the channels of the Okavango. The Delta also boasts the largest population of the endangered wattled crane, a large and beautiful species. The African jacana, with its extraordinarily long toes, skims along the top of floating vegetation, giving the impression that it is walking on water.

We will take a private air charter back to Maun after the morning safari activity.  We will reach Maun airport in time to connect on the scheduled flights back to Johannesburg.  SAA and Air Botswana fly this route daily, and have scheduled arrival times in Johannesburg of 4:40 pm.  Scheduled arrival time in Johannesburg is around 4:40pm. 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 (recommended). See note below regarding travel extensions.

NOTE: 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  USD 12895 per person, (includes charter flights from Maun to the two camps and back).  The same rate applies for each participant regardless of whether they are doing photography and participating in the workshop, or not. This fee includes all in-country ground and air transportation as well as hotel accommodation (double occupancy) and all meals but does not include the costs of flights to and from Maun, from outside the country.

Due to the limited number of spaces available, if a solo guest is willing to share accommodation and we can match with another guest of the same gender, we will do so. If a solo guest is unwilling to share, then we do have limited capacity (one room available) for one single traveler.

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 reserve 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.

Included

  • Accommodation on a shared basis
  • Private air charters from Maun to safari camps and back to Maun
  • Additional luggage allowance on the flights / air charters within Botswana (80 pounds/ 36 kg allowance per person)
  • 2 x Exclusive use vehicles (open 4×4’s) at both camps
  • 2 x Professional photographers leading the trip (Grant Atkinson and Helena Atkinson)
  • All safari activities
  • Services of the lodge guides & staff
  • Relevant park fees
  • All meals and drinks while in Botswana (excluding premium brands)
  • Daily laundry
  • The current Tourism Levies and all relevant Value Added Tax or Government Sales Taxes

Excluded

  • International airfare and/or other transportation between your home and Maun, Botswana
  • Visas
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal purchases (including curios, spirit liquors, telephone calls etc.)
  • Gratuities
  • Optional extra activities (helicopter flights, etc.)
  • Pre- and post- safari tours
  • Meals or accommodation before or after the safari (except as noted in the detailed itinerary)

What Do I Do Next?

Our groups are small (maximum of 7 participants), so space is limited.  If this exciting trip has your name on it, then now is the time to register.

Remember, there will be limited space available for this workshop. When they’re spoken for, that’s it. If you have any questions before registering, please send me an e-mail with any inquiries.

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Enquire Now about this Safari