Botswana Photo Safari – February 2013

14 – 22 February 2013 (8 nights)

In February 2013 I will lead a private group of photographers into Botswana’s prime wildlife areas, including the renowned Duba Plains Camp, which has gained acclaim for its lion and buffalo interactions. This safari and workshop combines some of the finest wildlife photography anywhere, Botswana’s best safari camps, and photographic and digital workflow instruction. We have selected two specific camps in Botswana’s Okavango Delta to create a private safari geared specifically toward serious photography and game viewing.

Safari Highlights

  • We have private vehicles throughout the entire 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 lower down to the ground.)
  • Safari is limited to 10 participants.
  • Exclusive use of both safari camps, giving us the maximum flexibility to set our own schedule and spend as much time as possible out with the wildlife.
  • A virtually unlimited amount of weight per person of up to 150 pounds. Bring as much gear as you can! Standard weight allowance is typically only 44 pounds by comparison, but we have secured extra seats on the inter-camp charters.
  • Knowledgeable and passionate safari guides in Botswana will drive us in open Land Rovers to help us get the images we are after.
  • 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 premier accommodations.
  • The reserves you will visit offer an insight to the fantastic wildlife in Botswana.

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 travel companions will love these safaris. We have specialist guides leading all safari activities and optional activities (walking, balloon safaris, etc.) are also available subject to camp restrictions.

Itinerary

14 February 2013

Safari Starts in Maun, Botswana

The safari begins today midday at Maun airport. However, most participants will want to stay in Johannesburg the night of 13-February and we will gladly arrange a stay for you at at one of the many airport hotels in Joburg. The costs for any nights prior to the start of the safari in Maun are NOT included in the price below, but we will be happy to book any additional nights you need.

In addition – the cost of round-trip airfare to and from Maun is NOT included in the pricing.

Our suggested hotel in Johannesburg is the D’oreale Grande at Emperor’s Palace.

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 private charter flight to Singita airstrip. From the airstrip it is a short drive through the reserve to our camp for the next 7 days.

 

14-18 February 2013; (4 Nights)

Tubu Tree Camp- Okavango Delta, Botswana

On arrival at Tubu Tree’s airstrip after a 35-minute flight from Maun, we will be met and transferred to camp (a short game drive in open Land Rovers).

Our group will have the flexibility to set our own schedule whilst at Tubu and every opportunity will be maximized in terms of photography and time spent on game drives.

Tubu Tree Camp is a traditional style tented safari camp built on raised wooden platforms to take best advantage of the beautiful view over the floodplains. The camp sleeps a maximum of 10 guests in 5 large and comfortable tents. The tents have a small and private deck in front, overlooking the plains. Each tent has en suite bathroom facilities, with hot and cold running water, consisting of flush toilet, hand basin, and private outdoor shower. The tents include wooden door entrances and roll-down canvas on the windows with large windows in the front for viewing. The tents are beautifully decorated, using locally found materials and attention to detail is evident in all the locally crafted furnishings.

The main dining and lounge areas are also large tents on raised platforms, with an outdoor pub area built under the canopy of a large marula tree. Complimentary laundry services are provided.

Wildlife seen here includes elephant, lion, spotted hyaena, Burchell’s zebra, red lechwe, southern giraffe, tsessebe, and blue wildebeest on the floodplains. Kudu, impala, leopard and bushbuck are also seen in the forested areas. The variety of bird life is impressive with dry-land species seen on the large islands and all the wetland birds seen on the floodplains and waterways.

Tubu is a tremendously diverse piece of the Delta, and the variety of species that occur here is impressive.

Lying as it does in the very heart of the Delta, the Jao Concession embodies all the magic and mystique of the Okavango. The game drive areas around Tubu take in a wide variety of different habitats, from riverine forest, to floodplain, mopane woodland and wooded islands. In some areas, baobab trees dominate the scenery. Narrow water channels fringe the game viewing areas, and lead away into beds of papyrus and reeds.

In the central region of the concession, vast open floodplains provide some of the most stunning scenery of the region, with beautiful islands fringed with riverine vegetation. Further west the area gets progressively dryer and Hunda Island, which is the tip of a large ‘sand tongue,’ is the largest area of dry land in the vicinity during the flood season. Hunda Island has sandveld vegetation supporting many species of nutritious acacia and grewia shrubs which provide excellent browsing. Tubu Tree Camp is built on the western side of Hunda Island.

 

18-22 February 2013; (4 Nights)

Duba Plains Camp – Okavango Delta, Botswana

Our flight from Tubu Tree to Duba is a 20-minute plane ride, taking us north-west to the upper reaches of the Okavango Delta. On arrival at Duba airstrip, we will be met and transferred on a 5-minute drive to the camp.

Duba Plains is one of the Okavango Delta’s most remote camps and is located in the furthermost reaches in a very private reserve of 30,000 hectares, north of the Moremi Wildlife Reserve. The camp is built on an island shaded by large ebony, fig and mangosteen trees and surrounded by expansive plains which are seasonally flooded – usually from about May to early October each year, depending on the rains. Since Duba has access to large islands, floodplains and marshes, the camp offers a diversity of experiences. Duba’s real treat is its exclusivity and it is particularly suited to those who want to be in a truly remote reserve. The camp’s dining room and pub are raised on decking under large riverine trees.

Accommodation is made up of six roomy tents with an en-suite bathroom, an outside shower, and a veranda overlooking the floodplain. The thatch-roofed lounge, dining room and bar areas are raised on platforms along with a swimming pool, all providing a beautiful view. Guests here receive a highly personalized experience. Complimentary laundry services are provided. Duba is probably one of the better places in Africa for lion viewing. There is a healthy population of lions at Duba, and they are the dominant predators in this ecosystem.

Duba is well-known as a good location for watching the fascinating interaction that takes place between predator and prey. Quite often the lions are active during the day, whether hunting or moving from one place to another, providing great opportunities for photography We highly recommend this camp for anyone interested in viewing lions and their behaviour. Duba Plains was where the award-winning wildlife documentary Eternal Enemies was filmed, by Derek and Beverley Joubert.

As the vast open grasslands are often isolated from the mainland by deep waterways, the diversity of animals is not as high as in some other areas within the Okavango. Large herds of buffalo take advantage of Duba’s rich grasslands and their numbers in turn support the lions that prey upon them. Elephant, red lechwe, tsessebe, kudu, waterbuck and warthog all occur in good numbers at Duba. Hippo may be seen in the deeper channels. Smaller carnivores such as side-striped jackal, and bat-eared fox may also be seen at Duba. The birdlife at Duba is phenomenal, and many rare or endangered species like the wattled crane and slaty egret may be found here with relative ease. Many other striking and colourful birds can be seen, and they add variety and interest to the area. The combination of open grassland, wooded islands and and open vistas make Duba a fantastic location for the wildlife photographer.

 

22 February 2013

Safari Ends

This morning after an abbreviated game drive, we will board our Sefofane air charter to Maun. As noted above, the cost of flights onward from Maun (i.e., scheduled Air Botswana flight back to Johannesburg with a scheduled arrival time is 4:40pm) are NOT INCLUDED in the price below, but we will of course book all necessary flights for you depending on your desired routing. International flights may be scheduled to depart from Johannesburg this 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 as desired. Ask me for further information.

Costs

The cost of this all-inclusive safari is $7,700 per person. Note that this safari starts and ends in Maun, Botswana and the pricing does NOT INCLUDE any nights spent in Johannesburg before or after the safari nor round-trip airfare from Johannesburg to Maun, Botswana. This fee includes all other in-country ground and air transportation as well as safari camp accommodation (double occupancy) and all meals.

Due to the limited number of spaces available, if a solo guest is willing to share 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). We cannot guarantee that we will be able to accommodate all requests for single occupancy, but please ask us if you are interested.

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.

  • We will gladly arrange airfare into Vic Falls and out of Maun if you require – please ask when reserving your space on this trip.

Inclusions & Exclusions

What is Included

  • Accommodation on a shared basis
  • Air charters between safari camps in Botswana
  • 1 x Additional luggage seat on Sefofane flights / air charters between the safari camps
  • 3 x Private vehicles (open Land Rovers) at all camps
  • 1 x Photographer / Naturalist leading the trip (Grant 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 (except in Johannesburg)
  • 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
  • Round-trip airfare on Air Botswana between Johannesburg, South Africa and Maun, Botswana
  • Overnights in Johannesburg before the safari (which begins in 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)

Gallery

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