Days 1–3: Maun, Botswana / Linyanti Private Reserve
Our Botswana photo tour begins on arrival in the safari headquarters of Maun. We meet our Expedition Leader at the airport and transfer by light aircraft to the private reserve of Linyanti. Among Africa's most dramatic big-game country, the Linyanti's tree-dotted plains are home to abundant predators like lion, leopard and spotted hyena, as well as plentiful hoofed game and enormous elephant herds.
We'll encounter wildlife in amazing proximity on twice-daily game drives and guided walks, safety permitting, along the Linyanti River. Species we may have a chance to photograph include buffalo, zebra, tsessebe, giraffe, kudu, impala and possibly a pack of wild dogs on the hunt. Interesting water-adapted species frequent the marshes along the river, and we'll hope to get an action shot of red lechwe bounding through the water. Afternoon drives often return after dark in the hopes of spotting shyer nocturnal animals such as genet, civet, serval, porcupine, and on rare occasion, aardwolf. In the evenings, share stories around the crackling campfire at our private camp before retiring to well-appointed tents evocative of a vintage era of safari travel, where we're lulled to sleep by the captivating night sounds of the African bush.
Days 4–6: Okavango Delta—Santawani Private Concession
Fly by light aircraft this morning to Gomoti Tented Camp in the heart of the community-owned Santawani reserve in the Okavango Delta. Earth’s largest inland water system, the delta’s headwaters lie in the western highlands of Angola. The Okavango River joins with other rivers in Namibia and Botswana to meet the Kalahari Desert, where a green oasis sprawls amid the sands and dry savanna. With its vast network of channels and marshes, the Okavango is home to a profuse collection of wildlife and vegetation.
While some parts of the delta are permanently flooded, others are a mosaic of varied landscapes, including drier sections like the area surrounding our camp. A mix of riverine woodlands, acacia scrub and open floodplains providing ample food for a large array of browsers and grazing species as well as predators, and we often see lots of animals wandering right through camp—keep your camera handy! The diverse range of habitats, plus the year-round lifeline of the Gomoti River, make this region ideal for all-day photography excursions, with a mix of classic 4x4 game drives, picnic lunches, guided walks and night drives. Among the many species we may have a chance to photograph are leopard, lion, wild dog, hyena, cheetah, giraffe, elephant, impala, kudu, zebra, wildebeest and buffalo. Birdlife is also outstanding, and we may see ground hornbills, crimson-breasted shrike and yellow morph, to name but a few. In the evenings, paraffin hurricane lanterns and the glow of a campfire lend a romantic ambience in camp.
Days 7–9: Central Kalahari Game Reserve
Thrilling photography prospects are in store as we fly today to the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, continuing with a wildlife drive to Kalahari Plains Camp in Deception Valley. The camp’s location offers a sweeping vista of the valley floor, and we feel quite alone here in this little-visited national park. The reserve is the largest conservation area in Botswana and one of the largest in the world. Our photo safari culminates in these remote environs, where animal movements are dictated by nature and the rains. We track them on extended wildlife drives, studying the desert ecology along the way. The petrified riverbed comes alive after short rains, covered with nutritious grasses that attract herds from all over the vast reserve.
Keep your camera poised for shots of wildebeest, red hartebeest
and springbok, as well honey badger and mongoose, among the multitude of animals we will encounter. Predators follow the herds of hoofed
game with their young, creating natural spectacles we may be privy to get photos of. Other top subjects include the famous Kalahari black-maned lions as well as some of Africa’s most plentiful cheetahs. The Kalahari is also the ancient home of the San bushmen, who have subsisted in these stark environs for millennia. Our time here will include engaging cultural experiences that allow for authentic insight into the ancient Bushmen clans of the area.
Day 10: Maun / Depart
Our Botswana photo safari comes to a close today when we depart by air for Maun to connect with onward flights.