Days 1 & 2: Livingstone, Zambia—Victoria Falls
Our Botswana photo safari begins on arrival in Livingstone, where a Natural Habitat Adventures representative greets you and accompanies you to The River Club, overlooking the Zambezi River 12 miles upstream from Victoria Falls. The tranquil lodge, replete with Edwardian ambience, is set among lush vegetation, and hippos often entertain us on the banks. We’ll enjoy a classic sunset cruise providing our first photo opportunities before joining our Expedition Leader for a welcome dinner.
The following day we explore Victoria Falls, the world’s most astounding cataract, on a guided tour. The profuse spray has created a rain forest on the rim of the gorge, with a network of walkways that offer varying viewpoints over the falls that span more than a mile. Then, a wildlife drive in Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park offers our first taste of the diversity of species that we may have the opportunity to capture during our safari, including the only chance to see a white rhinoceros. The name of the park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, means “The Smoke That Thunders” in the local language, a reference to the nearby falls.
Days 3–5: Chobe National Park, Botswana / Linyanti Private Reserve
By road and ferry
we travel to Botswana’s Chobe National Park, known for its vast elephant herds—a population that exceeds 70,000! On our boat cruise down the Chobe River
we sometimes see as many as 500 elephants in a single day, with excellent opportunities for stunning close-ups. Water birds abound, including herons and storks, as well as hippos and crocodiles.
This afternoon we fly to the private reserve of Linyanti, dramatic big-game country. Its tree-dotted plains are home to lion, leopard, spotted hyena and rare wild dog as well as tremendous elephant herds. We encounter wildlife in amazing proximity on game drives and guided walks (safety permitting) along the Linyanti River, at a pace that allows us to take full advantage of the numerous photo opportunities that arise. In the evenings
we relax at our private camp, with well-appointed tents evocative of an earlier era of safari travel. Through the thorny acacia branches
we see more stars than we ever dreamed of, scattered across an impossibly black tableau. Time-release shots of the night sky are amazing!
Days 6–8: Okavango Delta—Santawani Private Concession
This morning we fly by light aircraft to Gomoti Tented Camp in the Okavango Delta, the earth’s largest inland water system. The delta’s headwaters lie in Angola’s western highlands, joining 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 wetlands, the Okavango is home to a profuse collection of wildlife and vegetation.
While some areas of the delta are permanently flooded, other habitats create a mosaic of varied landscapes, including drier regions like the area that surrounds our camp. A mix of dense riverine woodland, open savanna and acacia scrub provide ample food for a large array of browsers and grazing species, as well as predators including cheetah, leopard, lion and wild dog. The Gomoti River is a year-round lifeline for animals,
while inland water holes also sustain them during the dry season. The diverse range of habitats makes the Gomoti region ideal for all-day photography excursions including traditional 4x4 game drives with picnics en route and night drives in search of nocturnal species. A special highlight is a helicopter flightseeing excursion over the Gomoti River and Okavango Delta, with a chance to get aerial photos as we survey one of the richest wildlife enclaves in all of Africa.
Days 9 & 10: Okavango Delta
Leaving dry land behind, we transfer by light aircraft to a very different section of the delta. Pelo Camp is located in the Okavango’s watery heart, a maze of canals and lagoons that sustains a profusion of wildlife. We’ll explore the constantly shifting marsh by mokoro, a traditional dugout canoe, offering a chance to observe wildlife at eye level in complete quiet. This is pure paradise for bird photographers: the islands and wetlands among the channels are home to many rare species, and we might see wattled cranes, Pel’s fishing owl, jacanas, rails, crakes and moorhens. We may also spy water-adapted antelope such as red lechwe browsing in the grasses.
Days 11 & 12: Moremi Game Reserve—Hunda Island
Depending on water levels, we travel by boat or 4x4 safari vehicle to Little Tubu and Tubu Tree Camp on the edge of Botswana’s famed Moremi Game Reserve. Theses adjoining sister camps are located on Hunda Island, the largest area of permanently dry land in this region of the Okavango Delta, and are surrounded by grasslands that attract many species of plains animals. We use Little Tubu as our base, taking meals together there,
though our group may be accommodated in rooms at both camps.
We’ll have a chance to capture photos within a range of diverse habitats, from dry Kalahari sandveld
to mopane and riverine forest on the edge of the permanent waterways – all offering spectacular wildlife viewing. Our activities focus on drives in open 4x4 vehicles in search of elephant, lion, Burchell's zebra, red lechwe, southern giraffe, tsessebe and blue wildebeest on the sprawling floodplains. In forested areas
we are on the lookout for kudu, impala and bushbuck. And of course
we’ll hope to photograph the predators that track them, including lion and leopard. Night drives reveal nocturnal species such as civet cat and caracal, and large predators that hunt at night.
Day 13: Maun / Depart
Our Botswana photography safari comes to a close when we depart by air for Maun, where we connect with homeward flights.
Physical Rating: Easy