WILD WATERWAYS PHOTO SAFARI

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About This Safari

If you’re looking for wildlife photo opportunities on the waterways of Botswana’s Chobe and Zambezi rivers then this is the trip for you. It’s filled with dramatic locations, incredible sunsets, African wildlife and outstanding hospitality. We will also have exclusive use of specialised photographic safari boats that are fitted with seats that swivel 360˚and also have height adjustable gimbal arms for your big lenses. Shooting from the water’s perspective gives you some extra-ordinary photo opportunities.

Safari Leaders: Dallas & Pepe

Spaces Available: Maximum 8 persons (sharing)

2016 Dates: 2 – 13 October 2016 (11 nights) or 2 – 10 October (8 nights, excludes Victoria Falls)

Prices

Full Tour Price: US$6,300 (pps 11 night tour)
Short Tour Price: US$4,720 (pps 8 night tour)
Single supplement: $800 for off the boat, plus $600 on the boat (depending on the final numbers for the safari).

Location

Habitat along the Chobe River is a mixture of open grass-covered floodplains, riverine forest, dry savannah and acacia woodland. We will have excellent opportunities of viewing elephant, buffalo, zebra, red lechwe, puku and the very rare sable and roan antelopes in beautiful riverine habitat. Hippos and Nile crocodiles are abundant and over 450 bird species have been recorded in the area, many of them spectacular. African Fish Eagles are plentiful as well as colourful bee-eaters and kingfishers, numerous water fowl, herons and cranes. Sought-after species including Pel’s Fishing Owl, White backed Night Heron, Slaty Egret and Wattled Crane may also be seen. The park was established in 1968 and has a land extent of approximately 11,700 square kilometres, which makes it the third largest park in Botswana. Back in the 1800’s this area was inhabited by David Livingstone and many of the big game hunters of the day. These days conservation is the principle activity that ensures the long term survival of the inhabitants of this key region in Africa. Botswana is known for its spectacular sunsets and because we are travelling there in the dry season, when the sun dips into the dusty horizon it turns the sky into a series of fiery pinks and reds. When combined with the reflections on the water and possibility of animals at the river’s edge, the photo opportunities are outstanding.

Towards the end of the dry season, in September and October, huge herds of elephant migrate to the Chobe River to find water as the smaller sources run dry. There are no bigger herds of elephant than those found in the North of Botswana and their numbers are estimated to exceed 120,000. Other attractions of the region are the extremely rare Sable and Roan antelope, as well as the Chobe bushbuck. It’s unlikely that you will encounter these animals anywhere else. The Chobe and Zambezi river systems are the perfect place to experience not only this amazing National Park, but also the natural wonder of Victoria Falls, which is only 100kms from the north-eastern gate of the park.

Primary Photographic Subjects

  • Elephants
  • Crocodiles
  • Hippos
  • Antelope
  • Lions
  • Buffalo
  • Birdlife
  • Rhino
  • River Life

Photographer Skill Level

From novice to expert, all levels of photographers are welcome to join this safari. Even though these safaris are not primarily education oriented what we’ve found on all our previous trips is that the group shares knowledge freely and organically. We’ve had some very talented people join us before, from Adobe Engineers to professional photographers and they have all been keen to help the less experienced photographers get their best shots.

Your tour leaders Dallas & Pepe will also help you out by answering any questions you may have about photography, such as the best settings to use for any particular subject matter found on safari, or how to post process your images using Lightroom. Having been a DSLR user since 2001, Dallas has a lot of experience with cameras and general photography, both in studio and out in the field. He has been a full time professional since 2007 and presently shoots with Olympus mirrorless (previously he used Nikon, Canon & Leica).

Suggested Gear List

You will want to bring gear that won’t leave you feeling too short or too long on this trip. If you can zoom up to 600mm you will be ready for almost everything we can find to throw at you on this safari, so here are our lens suggestions (assuming that you are bringing 2 camera bodies):

  • 24-70mm f/2.8  (general photography around campsites)
  • 70-200mm f/2.8
  • 200-400mm f/4 (or equivalent, eg. Canon’s 100-400mm, Sigma’s 120-300mm, Nikon’s 80-400mm)
  • 2x teleconverter

Any of the fast telephoto prime lenses would also be useful. A 300mm f/2.8 is probably the easiest to travel with, so that together with a 2x teleconverter would be a really good option. Other items you should bring include:

  • rocket blower
  • sensor cleaning kit
  • lots of memory cards
  • laptop with backup drive
  • flash
  • extra batteries
  • a well developed sense of humour (we have a lot of fun on our trips)

Getting There

We will rendezvous at the Tladi Lodge in Sandton on or before the first day of the safari. We then fly from Johannesburg to Livingstone (or Victoria Falls, depending on flight availability) in Botswana and then be transferred by road to our Lodge. If you’re flying into OR Tambo from any international destination it’s best to give yourself a day extra in Johannesburg to avoid any possible flight delays or lost luggage situations and also to help overcome any jetlag if you’re coming in from the East or West. We can arrange an extra night at Tladi Lodge for you, but you’ll need to let us know if you want to do this. Safarians who are joining up with us from the Namibian pre-extension to this safari will have the option of spending a couple of days in either Johannesburg or Cape Town before we head off to Botswana. On your extra days we can also arrange guides to take you to local attractions in either city.

Accommodation Overview

The beginning of our adventure will see us staying at either the Bakwena or Kubu Lodges in Kasane. Using the lodge as a base we will explore the river and land on safari in the Chobe National Park for two nights.

The houseboat we will be spending 5 of our nights on is called the Zambezi Voyager. This luxurious vessel is beautifully appointed and consists of 5 rooms (doubles and twins). We will be sharing rooms on this part of the safari, which is why we are limiting the space to only 8 guests. Unfortunately because of this limited number of rooms we can’t offer a single supplement for this part of the safari, however, for the other 5 nights we will be able to offer safarians their own rooms at a single supplement rate (to be advised).

Pulled behind the houseboat are two “tender” boats that we will use to explore the rivers and tributaries in search of photo opportunities. We can also try a spot of fishing if the fancy hits us.

Zambezi Voyager

Zambezi Voyager

Zambezi Voyager

Tender boats

Zambezi Voyager

2016 Basic Itinerary

Day  Place                     Date            Accommodation
1       Johannesburg      02-Oct-16  Tladi Lodge
2      Kasane                  03-Oct-16  Chobe Bush Lodge
3      Kasane                  04-Oct-16  Chobe Bush Lodge
4      Zambezi River     05-Oct-16  Zambezi Voyager
5      Zambezi River     06-Oct-16  Zambezi Voyager
6      Zambezi River     07-Oct-16  Zambezi Voyager
7      Zambezi River     08-Oct-16  Zambezi Voyager
8      Kalizo                    09-Oct-16  Kalizo Lodge
9      Livingstone           10-Oct-16  David Livingstone Safari Lodge
10    Livingstone           11-Oct-16  David Livingstone Safari Lodge
11     Victoria Falls        12-Oct-16  Victoria Falls Hotel

Included in the price:

  • Luxury accommodation in Johannesburg, Botswana & Zambia
  • All meals and welcome BBQ at Tladi Lodge in JHB
  • Selected alcoholic beverages onboard the Zambezi Voyager
  • Tea & Coffee
  • Return airfare from JHB to Livingstone/Victoria Falls
  • All transfers between airports and lodges

Excluded from the price:

  • International flight to and from Johannesburg to join and depart the safari
  • Telephone calls
  • Internet connectivity
  • Laundry
  • Imported & premium brand alcoholic beverages
  • Spa treatments
  • Staff gratuities*

* Whilst they are not mandatory, gratuities for rangers, guides and accommodation staff are appreciated.

Book Your Place

Send an email to bookings@photographers.travel and advise us that you would like to join up on this safari. Also let us know whether you will be travelling alone, or with a partner. When we receive your email we will send you an official booking form that will need to be completed, together with details on how to pay the deposit, as well as our standard terms and conditions that you will need to print, sign, scan and send back to us. VERY IMPORTANT! If you have emailed us and not heard back within 24-36 hours please check your spam folders for our reply. We are very prompt with our replies and we’d hate for you to miss out on this trip because of some silly technical error. If there is still no email reply you can also contact us on our Facebook page or via private message to Dallas on Fotozones.com. We look forward to adding you to our growing family of Safarians!

Extend Your Stay

Please ask us about extending your stay either with our packaged safaris or we can customise a safari extension for you.