|Duration||14 days (13 nights) 7th to 20th December 2019|
|Departure/Return Location||Botswana – Maun|
|Arrival Time||To be advised according to flights|
|Departure Time||To be advised according to flights|
Africa has to be perhaps the most iconic destination for any wildlife photographer. The choice of safari however, can be bewildering but we hope our ‘Botswana, African Adventure’ tour provides the perfect combination of ingredients for the discerning, nature loving photographer! With 10 days and 9 nights in beautiful, mobile, tented camps, you are right in the heart of the wilderness, experiencing the true nature of wild Africa. Whilst camping may not be for everyone we believe it provides the best way of immersing everyone in the wilderness and nature of Botswana. Sleeping under canvas, amongst Africa’s large mammals might make for some exhilarating encounters and it is not uncommon for Elephants, Hippopotamus and Hyena to enter the camp. Having said that, luxury has not been completely forgotten and the camp is fully staffed and equipped for your comfort. Every tent is perfectly set up for you with a bed, battery light and fully sealed floor. There are also en-suite (open topped) facilities at the back of each tent and the camp staff are always on hand to provide drinks, and wonderful cooked meals, so your needs are extremely well catered for. During this trip the staff will seamlessly move camps twice, allowing us to visit 3 distinctly different areas of this beautiful country without loosing any time out on safari drives.
Each day will begin with an early start at around 5.30am. After a quick hot drink and breakfast, we will set out on our dawn safari drive to try and capture images of the wildlife in the beautiful first light of morning. By camping as centrally as possible, game is often spotted literally adjacent to the camp, and this makes a huge difference in making the most of this wonderful time of day. After a busy mornings photography we will return back to camp for a well-earned lunch and a chance to rest through the hottest, middle part of the day. At around 4pm we will once again set out for a second, evening safari drive and an opportunity to capture wildlife in the golden light towards the end of the day. After watching the sun set will we get back to camp for a chance to freshen up before sitting down to a delicious 3-course meal, cooked at the camp team. With little light pollution and fantastic skies you may also find time after dinner for some night photography around the camp.
With only 6 guests per custom built, 9 seater, Land Cruiser vehicle, nobody is left sitting in the middle leaving valuable room for camera bags and spare equipment. Obviously each vehicle is driven by a hugely experience local driver who will work tirelessly through the entire trip to get you in the right places for the very best pictures. The trip is also escorted by a highly experience UK based photography guide, who will provide photographic support and advice to everyone during the trip.
Of course the real highlight of this amazing tour is the sheer abundance of wildlife. During the January 2018 trip this truly amazed us with many unforgettable animal encounters, so we sincerely believe this wonderful expedition should not disappoint! Potentially the biggest highlight of the entire trip is the enormous amount of Elephants we should encounter. With single impressive males, small family groups, hilarious youngsters and breath taking larger groups coming together, such abundance provides unprecedented opportunity to try different techniques and creative idea with this iconic species.
Whilst Elephants are the biggest animals we will see in both size and numbers, another huge experience is likely to be our first sighting of Hunting Dogs. Tracking these intelligent, social predators and then finally finding a group in the wild landscape of Botswana is amazing and then being able to spend time photographing them for extended periods should provide a chance for everyone to capture memorable images. Another hidden gem of this trip are the Hyena. These incredible animals are often misunderstood, but intimate encounters with family groups will hopefully convince you that they are simply wonderful subjects for photography.
During the many hours of safari drives in this extended expedition, we should also encounter other species such as Hippopotamus, Leopard, Zebra, Lechwe, Kudu, Waterbuck, Wildebeest, Lion, Cape Buffalo, Crocodile, Impala, Jackal, Vervet Monkey, Baboon, Warthog, Giraffe and, of course, a breath taking selection of birds.
Within the extended 10 days of safari, we will be visiting 3 different locations with varied scenery and diverse animals. Our first stop, Moremi, should be green with plenty of Antelope sightings and many single Elephants. The area is also well known for Hunting Dogs and we encountered two different packs here on our January 2018 visit. We also have had some terrific Leopard encounters including a beautiful lone female who walked with us for some 2.5km.
From Moremi we move on to Khwai. This area is still very green but with more abundance of large watering holes. Larger groups of Elephants are more likely here, with some super opportunities to watch families playing at the waters edge. This area is also home to Hyena and the dens are known to the local guides, which makes the families easier to find, again providing great chances for pictures.
Our final destination will be the hills of Central Chobe. Of all our locations, Chobe should provide the chance to see Elephants in truly breath taking numbers with family groups joining together to create very large herds. Again Hyena and Leopards can be found here along with more approachable Giraffe.
On our last day, we will finish our camping tour with a boat trip down the Chobe river which should provide us with memorable opportunities to photograph Elephants in the water from the unusual angle of being in boats.
After concluding the main safari section of the tour, we head across the border to Zambia for a well deserved bit of luxury and a 2 night stay at the amazing Waterbury Lodge and some sighting seeing around Victoria Falls.Our main aim here is not necessarily wildlife, concentrating instead on a sunrise and sunset safari cruise down the Zambezi, and the chance to experience the natural phenomenon of Victoria Falls. We will have time to visit the falls from both the Zambia side and the Zimbabwe side as both have very different points of interest.
All in all, this wonderful trip should mean everyone goes home with not only, some impressive images, but also with great memories of this beautiful country, its landscapes and wonderful wildlife!
Day 1: Departure
Depart UK to JHB on an overnight flight.
After departing the overnight flight you will connect with your flight to Maun and transfer to Xakanaxa by light aircraft. Upon arrival the group will be met by the local guide and driver, (who will accompany us for the remainder of the expedition). We will then experience our first safari drive on our way to our first campsite in Moremi Game Reserve, our first three nights will be spent in Moremi before transferring to our next location.
Day 3 & 4
With an early start for breakfast at 5.30am we will then set out on our first morning safari drive, over the next 2 days we will look for Giraffe, Elephants, Hippopotamus, Hunting Dog, Lion, Leopard, Zebra and various Antelopes. We will stay out for as long as there are things to look at but we aim to return to the camp by midday for lunch and before it gets too hot.
The next few hours allow the group to relax during the heat of the day, look through their pictures and take in the beautiful surroundings. Late afternoon after refreshments the group will head out for the second safari drive of the day and stay out until 7pm when the parks shut and the sun is going down. We head back to camp to freshen up and have dinner, with time for the group to relax and enjoy drinks around the campfire.
Today we transfer to Khwai National Park for the next 3 nights, we will be up as normal at 5.30am for our morning safari drive and then carry on to Khwai and arrive at the new campsite late afternoon, where we will relax after the journey and settle in before dinner.
Day 6 & 7
With an early start for breakfast at 5.30am we will then set out on the morning safari drive, over the next 2 days we will look for Giraffe, Elephants, Hippo, Lion, Hyena, Zebra and Antelopes. Khwai has many more swampy areas with the opportunity to hopefully see animals especially elephants and Hippos making the most of this. We will stay out for along as there are things to look at but we aim to return to the camp by midday for lunch and before it gets too hot.
The next few hours allow the group to relax during the heat of the day, look through their pictures and take in the beautiful surroundings. Late afternoon after refreshments the group will head out for the second safari drive of the day and stay out until after the sun has gone down and even have the option of night drives in Khwai. We head back to camp to freshen up, and have dinner, with time for the group to relax and enjoy drinks around the campfire.
As per day 5 today is transfer day where we will head to Central Chobe for the next 3 nights, we will be up as normal at 5.30am for our morning safari drive and then carry on to Central Chobe and arrive at the new campsite late afternoon, where we will relax after the journey and settle in before dinner.
Day 9 & 10
With an early start for breakfast at 5.30am we will then set out on the morning safari drive, over the next 2 days we will look for Giraffe, Elephants, Hippo, Lion, Hyena, Leopard, Zebra and Antelopes. We will stay out for along as there are things to look at but we aim to return to the camp by midday for lunch and before it gets too hot.
The next few hours allow the group to relax during the heat of the day, look through their pictures and take in the beautiful surroundings. Late afternoon after refreshments the group will head out for the second safari drive of the day and stay out until 7pm when the parks shut and the sun is going down. We head back to camp for a freshen up and dinner, with time for the group to relax and enjoy drinks around the campfire.
Our final day of in Chobe, so we leave the campsite behind and head to Zambia. Our first stop after lunch will be with Kalahari tours where we will take a boat trip down the Chobe river where we should see Elephants in large numbers using the river, Crocodiles, Monkeys and Birds. From here we will transfer across the border into Zambia and to our hotel for the next 2 nights. After settling in we can enjoy views across the Zambezi over our evening meal and after 10 days of camping this is luxury!
Again it will be an early start at 5am with a cruise down the Zambezi catching the sunset and the animals that come out to start there day here. After breakfast we will head to Victoria falls taking in both sides of the falls, firstly from the impressive Zimbabwe side where the falls are seen at there best, then heading to the Zambia side where the bridge walks over the canyon and the front of the falls. From here we will head back to the lodge for a relaxing dinner.
Day 13: Return
There is time in the morning for optional activities or exploring the lodge, before departing in the afternoon for the airport. We will catch he afternoon flight from Livingston to JHB and an overnight flight to the UK.
Day 14: Return
Arrive in the UK after an overnight flight.
Please note: – The itinerary is provisional and subject to change depending on local conditions. Not all wildlife mentioned can be seen well at all times of the year & some activities mentioned may not always be available.
Meals included are as shown – B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner
We will be using the same camp and guides for the duration of the tour, on move days the camp will be packed up and moved whilst the group is out on the safari drive. The campsite consists of tented accommodation for each guest with an ensuite open air bathroom (shower facilities and toilet) and tented dining area for the group. The vehicle has facilities for charging equipment and our guests just need to take turn using this to avoid overloading the batteries, but this can be used at any time. The vehicle also has a fridge allowing for cool drinks, especially nice when out during the day.
Habitat: Moremi lies on the eastern extremity of the Okavango Delta. Habitats here range from wide-open floodplains, marshes, lagoons, papyrus fringed channels, vast stands of Miscanthus and Phragmites, woodland and savannah. As a result of the extremely variable habitat the diversity of both wildlife and birdlife is excellent.
Wildlife: Moremi is amongst the best game reserves in Africa for viewing the endangered African wild dog. Xakanaxa is home to a resident herd of several hundred buffalo whose range covers the territories of at least 4 prides of lion which may often be seen flanking the ever moving herd. Breeding herds of elephant move between their browsing areas in the mopane forests and the fresh water of the Okavango. Red lechwe are one of the more unusual antelope species and commonly found here.
Habitat: The Manuchira Channel is known as the Khwai River at its eastern most extremity. The day’s journey follows this water course, with the track weaving from the riverside and floodplains into the mopane veld and the 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 hippo.
Wildlife: The western mopane veld is home to mostly breeding herds of elephant whilst the eastern reaches of Khwai is home to some impressive old bulls. The mature bulls revel in the cool waters of the Khwai and are far more approachable while drinking and bathing than the breeding herds. The river has an unusually high density of hippo as well as some huge crocodile. Leopard, cheetah, serval and lion are common predators along this route and both Xakanaxa as well as Khwai are included in the home ranges of 2 different packs of wild dog. General game includes southern giraffe, Burchell’s zebra, tessebe and red lechwe with roan and sable antelope being less common residents.
Habitat: Unlike the vast majority of the country, Central Chobe is not a totally flat landscape. Large outcrops of volcanic rock reach up out of the Kalahari sands, towering over the endless savannah. These hills provide habitat for a completely different array of small wildlife, birds and plants. The Savuti Marsh has been the stage for many of the most dramatic wildlife documentaries in Africa. The wide open country, good ungulate populations and particularly strong prides of lion and hyaena clans make for dramatic wildlife interaction and excellent viewing opportunities. The now dry Savuti Channel runs through this landscape linking the dry sand-veld, the waterholes, the hills and the grassland that was the Savuti Marsh.
Wildlife: Undoubtedly it is the interaction between lion and elephant that is the most interesting aspect of Savuti. The area is inhabited by a huge pride of lions with numbers fluctuating from 20-30 members. These remarkable lions have learned over the years how to hunt these massive pachyderms that are supposedly above predation. Launching their attack under darkness and using their numbers, they manage to kill adolescent and even young adult elephant. The marsh is prime cheetah country and in the wet season it is not unusual to have the wild dog hunting here in Central Chobe.
7th to 20th December 2019
How to Book
To book one of these dates please select it from the calendar on the right hand side ‘Book Now’ tab to add to your cart. The value shown on the basket will be zero as all overseas tours are booked through our partner Wildlife & Wilderness who are ATOL bonded for your peace of mind. When we receive your booking request, we will reserve a place for you and Wildlife & Wilderness will contact you regarding the Deposit.
Wild Arena is delighted to offer an annual membership scheme with many benefits to reward our regular customers and encourage new guests to participate on our wide range of different events. We offer 2 types of annual membership, at different prices, the details of which are listed in the below.
Annual Membership – £19
Provides our regular customers with a discount of 20% on all our one day workshops, £50 off every tour booking, a quarterly newsletter, priority notice on all new events and special offers on late availability! All the memberships prices are listed next to the standard price on all products on the website. Each new member receives a welcome pack vie email, but if you would like a gift pack please select this from the shop and add to your cart.
Annual Membership Benefits:
- 20% discount on all one day events.
- £50 discount on every tour booking.
- Priority notice of discounted late space availability and new events.
- Quarterly Newsletter.
Annual Membership Plus – £99
Not only provides all the benefits of normal membership, but also the opportunity to book a free workshop from the list below:
Members can choose one of the following events as your free workshop (1 session per year):
- Macro Photography Workshop
- Macro Exotic Mini Beast Session.
- Big Cat Photography Workshop.
- Safari Photograph Workshop.
- Summer Evening Safari Photography Workshop.
- Summer Evening Owl Photography Workshop.
- Wild Red Kite Photography Workshop.
- Butterfly Photography Workshop.
- Butterfly Photography Masterclass.
- Landscape Photography Workshops.
- Getting Started with your Camera
Not only does this make ‘Membership PLUS’ outstanding value, it also makes a perfect gift for anyone interested in photography. Each new member receives a welcome pack vie email, but if you would like a gift pack please select this from the shop and add to your basket.
To receive your members discount on website orders, simply use your membership number in the voucher section of the basket and for special offers use the code given on the promotion.
(Please note membership discounts cannot be used in conjunction with Tesco vouchers or other ad-hoc, generic offers as specified).
To purchase membership simply click here to go through to our shop.