Chobe Photo Safari – October 2014

13th – 16th October 2014 (4nights/5days) (1 Opening left)

GrantAtkinson-Chobe_64U4320In October 2014 I will be leading a photographic safari to Botswana’s  Chobe National Park, which is in the far north-east of the country, together with Pangolin Photo Safaris.  This safari and workshop combines high-quality wildlife photography, by boat and land, together with extensive photographic and image processing instruction, and does so from comfortable accommodation in a good location.  Most important, this photosafari will be limited to just 6 participants, ensuring that I get to spend more time with each photographer.  With the smaller group, personal and shooting space is also maximized.

With its abundance of elephant, hippo, crocodiles, as well as other game like impala, waterbuck, kudu, red lechwe and puku, the Chobe National park is deservedly recognized as one of the  richest protected areas in southern Africa.  Aside from the wildlife already mentioned, bird numbers and variety are phenomenal, and includes many species not easily photographed in other places like African skimmer, kingfishers, African fish eagle, pratincoles, storks and many, many more.  Much of the best viewing takes place around or on the river, making our use of a boat that is specially designed for photography an ideal way to get up close for quality viewing and photography. The Pangolin Photo Safaris boat is customized for photography. Each separate seat in the boat is offset from the others, and can swivel. Cameras and lens are also supplied as part of the package, although you can choose to make use of your own gear too.  Each seat has a gimbal mount for a camera, making it easy and comfortable to support your lens and camera whilst shooting.

We will also make use of the elephant bunker, which is a ground-level hide located very close to a waterhole that is visited daily by herds of elephants. This will allow us to photograph from a very unusual angle and give our images a completely fresh perspective.

We will also do game drive/s in the park itself, using the Pangolin game drive vehicle, although typically on these photosafaris we spend most of our time on the river or in the bunker.

We will be staying at Water Lily Lodge, on the banks of the Chobe, in the town of Kasane, which is comfortable and spacious.

Safari Highlights

  • High quality wildlife viewing, especially for elephants and hippo and a wide variety of other species.
  • An abundance of birdlife, with a wide variety of species,  including many species that are not so easily seen in the region such as African skimmers, collared pratincoles, African openbilled storks and slaty egret, to just name but a few.
  • Afternoon visits to the elephant bunker where the possibility exists of getting intimate, low-angle images.
  • Opportunity to focus intensively on all aspects of wildlife photography, from shooting twice a day, to the midday workshop sessions that I will lead.
  • All of this takes place from the comfortable base accommodation and from custom built photo vehicles, either the aforementioned photographic boat, the elephant bunker or the Pangolin Unimog game viewing vehicle.
  • This photo workshop is limited to just 6 participants, which means more space for everybody, and more personal attention from the trip leader.

Here are some key points to help you decide:

1. Photographers of ALL levels are welcomed on this safari.  There will be opportunities to learn more about cameras, image processing, wildlife behaviour and photographic techniques.

2. During the middays, I will be available to share my own workflow procedures, using Adobe Photoshop and/or Adobe Lightroom, and to work with the group members on whatever instruction is required.

3. Non-photographer or videographer spouses/travel companions will enjoy these trips too.  There is a large variety of wildlife to be seen, and other activity options available from the lodge.

4. There will be lots of opportunities to take images, of a wide variety of subjects, and in different settings.

5. As the trip leader, it is most important to me, that at the end of the photo safari, you not only take away images that you are happy with, but also that your wildlife knowledge and photography skills grow from the shared experience.


Arrive in Kasane for check-in at Water Lily Lodge.

Arrive in Kasane for check-in at Water Lily Lodge.
For those participants that choose to fly, both SA Airlink and Air Botswana operate daily flights from Johannesburg to Kasane.  SA Airlink have a better record at arriving and departing on time, and would always be my preference.

Folk arriving by air will be met and collected from Kasane airport, which is just 10 minutes drive away from our lodge. It is also possible to self-drive to Kasane in time for the first activity, which is an afternoon photo trip on the 13 October 2014.

We spend all four nights of our photos safari at Water Lily Lodge on the banks of the Chobe River. Our lodge is small, and owner-managed. There are ten lovely spacious en-suite rooms, all with air-conditioning. There is a swimming
pool for cooling off, and, a training room for our afternoon workshops. The lodge is well situated, and is only a few minutes away from the entrance to the Chobe National Park.
Importantly it is well priced thus making this workshop very affordable and great value. Accommodation on the trip is booked on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis, and we will take those two meals in the lodge restaurant.

A typical day would begin with an early coffee and tea in the lodge, followed by our departure on either a boat trip or a game drive, into the park, with our aim to enter the park as soon as it opens. On morning activities, we will take a hamper with tea, coffee and rusks with us.

We return sometime around 09h30, when the light is starting to become a bit too high and direct for effective photography. After a cooked breakfast at the lodge, there is time to review images, discuss and refine processing techniques, and also work on camera skills. I am most comfortable with using Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop CS. Lunch can be taken at the restaurant at the Lodge, for each participants own account.

We depart on our afternoon activity between 15h00 and 15h30, in order to best take advantage of the late afternoon light, only returning sometime after 18h00 when the park closes. Meet for dinner around 19h30, and discuss the next day’s activities.Throughout the itinerary we will take the opportunity to assist with reviewing images and assisting participants with their photographic skills.

Altogether, there will be eight game viewing activities, four early morning, and four afternoon, that make up the game viewing time on the safari. Aside from the boat rides, we will also make use of the ground-level bunker during one or more of our afternoon activities. The bunker hide is located outside of the National Park, which means that we are not restricted to park closing times when we are there. On our last morning, October 17, 2014, after a morning activity, we will book out of the lodge and say goodbye to the group. Transfers will be provided to the airport for those who need.


The cost of this safari is USD $ 1 500 per person sharing.  There is a single supplement of $ 200.  Approximate cost in South African currency is R 15 000 per person sharing, with a single supplement of R2 000.

Note: Any gratuities that are paid to guides, and camp staff may only be paid in cash.


  • Accommodation for 4 nights at Water Lily Lodge (Dinner, bed and breakfast)
  • 8 game activities (Photographic boat/Unimog game drive vehicle/underground hide) Photography workshop with Grant Atkinson
  • Park fees for daily entry into the Chobe
  • Refreshments during activities (Tea, coffee, rusks for the mornings)
  • Transfers to and from Kasane airport
  • Use of Pangolin’s dslr cameras and lenses if required


  • Lunch – light meals are available at the lodge or nearby restaurants
  • Internet services
  • There is cellular phone network and coverage in Kasane, arrange roaming with your network prior to travel for coverage
  • International or local airfare
  • Laundry or extras at Water Lily lodge
  • Visas, travel insurance, personal purchases, telephone calls
  • Gratuities for trip leader
  • Pre- and post safari tours and meals or accommodation before or after the safari



   Enquire Now about this Safari