Capture Outstanding Wildlife Images When the Desert & Delta are Most Verdant
Day 1: Maun, Botswana / Okavango Delta Private Concession
Our Botswana photo tour begins on arrival in the safari capital of Maun, where we meet our Expedition Leader at the airport. From here, we transfer by light aircraft to the center of the Okavango Delta for a 3-night stay on a private concession. Earth’s largest inland water system, the delta became UNESCO's 1,000th World Heritage Site in 2014. The Okavango River’s headwaters lie in the western highlands of Angola, 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 delta is home to a profuse collection of wildlife and vegetation. Here in the delta's
heart, clear waterways cut through papyrus and reed beds among palm-studded islands, riverine forests and sprawling floodplains. Though some of the area
is permanently flooded, during the southern summer the water recedes, and normally wetter areas of the delta open up for game drives and expansive wildlife photography opportunities. Specific wildlife sightings, while always abundant, will depend somewhat on seasonal water levels.
Days 2 & 3: Wildlife Photography in the Central Okavango
Our secluded camp is set within a productive wetland that nurtures prolific wildlife, which we'll photograph in thrilling proximity on 4x4 drives, guided walks, boat rides and poled mokoro exursions
. The mokoro is the traditional dugout canoe of the delta, and Okavango-born polers will reveal the intimate secrets of delta life as we capture images of tiny frogs and colourful waterbirds
. The Okavango is dramatic big-game country, too, home to plentiful buffalo, blue wildebeest, giraffe, zebra, bushbuck, tsessebe, water-adapted antelope like red lechwe and the rare sitatunga, and, of course, elephants. And where game thrives, so do predators—we keep our cameras poised for shots of lion, leopard
and hyena on the prowl. In the channels, capture photos of hippos and crocodiles, plus scores of birds in the marshes. Pel’s fishing owl is a prize sighting, and we may also spot African and lesser jacanas, slaty egret, African skimmer, wattled crane and malachite kingfisher, to name just a few. Each evening, retreat to the comforts of camp
where there's time to review and edit photos from the day's exploits. After a sumptuous dinner, retire under canvas, lulled to sleep by the soothing sounds of the African night.
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 concession in the Okavango Delta. 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. 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 a few. During our time in the Gomoti region, we'll enjoy the thrill of a 30-minute scenic helicopter flight over the greater Okavango Delta and Gomoti River...with doors off for the most spectacular photography opportunities! After each day's adventures, we return to camp for relaxed evenings, where paraffin hurricane lanterns and the glow of a campfire lend a romantic ambience
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 photograph. Other top subjects include the famous Kalahari black-maned lions and one of Africa's most plentiful concentrations of 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 area's ancient Bushmen clans.
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.
Physical Rating: Easy
Click here to view the seasonal variations of weather and wildlife viewing in Botswana.