Three Amazing Locations
September 19-29, 2018
Botswana is one of the most sought-after premier wildlife photographic destinations in the world. This safari has been meticulously planned to cover three of the best wildlife locations, giving you the most diverse environments and the best variety of wildlife photographic opportunities in Botswana, including the Okavango Delta, Savuti, and the Chobe River. We have selected each location for its uniqueness; you will have the opportunity for night photography, driving off-roads without restrictions, photographing out of but near the vehicle for incredible perspectives, and at eyelevel with the wildlife on the banks of the Chobe.
The Okavango Delta is one of the most spectacular natural wildlife phenomena on the planet, supporting an ecosystem that sustains one of the highest concentrations of large game animals in Africa. Remarkably, it is a matchless wetland paradise in the arid Kalahari Desert. Our luxury accommodations are waterfront with some of the best opportunities to see a pack of wild dogs, lions, leopards, hyenas, elephants, buffalos, and more. We can drive off-road, enabling us to follow predators and improve our vehicle positioning for photography. Since we are just outside the Moremi National Park with no gate restrictions, we can extend our game drives well into the evening when the big cats are on the move. This is where having only two vehicles, each with an expert to light up big predators, can really pay off.
Savute achieved international fame from documentaries, such as Eternal Enemies by Dereck and Beverly Joubert, with unbelievable lion and hyena interactions, and the numerous documentaries filmed in the area by the BBC. This semi-arid area harbors one of the densest dry-season concentrations of elephants in Africa. Due to drought conditions in the past few years, the canal is dry, but water is pumped into a few select areas, drawing all the animals across this dusty environment. Imagine all the drama that is certain to unfold as all the animals cross the expansive savannahs to gather at the same water hole. The dust and light will make spectacular photographs, images that get to one’s soul.
The Chobe River is one of the most incredible wildlife experiences offered on the continent, where animals congregate along the river to drink and to feed on the lush greenery. We will be staying our own exclusive luxury houseboat, pulling our custom-designed photo boats along with us. Not only will we be able to be on the water at sunrise and sunset and have more time on the river, but we will also freely move up and down along the river, avoiding the busiest parts of the popular waterway in order to have the best photographic opportunities.
The custom photo boats we will use have a shallow draught, enabling us to access shallow water to make near-silent, drifting approaches to our subjects, getting eye-level perspectives that are much more difficult to achieve on land. Don’t be surprised when you are face to face with battling hippos and elephants swimming! Elephants will not only come to drink from the river, but will also swim across it; if we are lucky, they will stop in the middle to play, which is an unbelievable sight. This is also a birder’s paradise with a wide variety of species, including African fish eagles, colorful Malachite Kingfisher, the largest heron in the world – the goliath, skinners, kingfishers, and colorful bee-eaters. With our custom photo boats, these birds are more approachable on the Chobe River than anywhere else in Africa.
This incredible Botswana safari is being offered to only 7 extremely passionate wildlife photographers. As a participant, you will experience one of the greatest wildlife photography experiences on earth with incredibly unique photographic opportunities.
- 3 different locations to maximize every photographic opportunity in one of the world’s premier wildlife destinations; the delta, Savuti, Chobe River
- Small group of only 7 participants giving you more flexibility, freedom, and better group dynamics.
- Luxurious accommodations
- Exclusive use of a luxury house boat on the Chobe river
- We will have private open game-viewing vehicles with only 1 person per row of seating (the vehicles have 3 rows behind the driver, plus a seat next to the driver if you want to be lower down to the ground).
- Specially designed photographic boats have individual swivel seats, with mounts for our cameras attached to each chair. The photo boats enable us to make quiet approaches from interesting angles
- An increased luggage allowance to 30KG on the in-country flights
- This safari focuses on getting quality images. We will push hard to spend most of our time in the field. This trip is all about giving you incredible opportunities to create an amazing, diverse portfolio of exceptional images from just one safari.
September 19, 2018 (1 night)
Arrive at O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. After your long flight, you will be able to simply stroll over to your luxury hotel. The intercontinental hotel features a spa, indoor pool, gym, Wi-Fi, and the Quills African restaurant. You will be able to quickly relax and rest up for your safari.
Accommodations: Intercontinental Hotel, Johannesburg
September 20-22, 2018 (3 nights)
After an early breakfast, we will depart the hotel by 8:30AM and fly from Johannesburg to Maun and then on to Khwai. The Okanvango Delta rarely needs an introduction, as it is one of the most sought after wildlife destinations in the world. It is a unique environment of floodplains and woodlands, filled with diverse exotic wildlife. We will be staying at the 5-Star Khwai River Lodge that overlooks the vast Khwai River floodplains. We will be here during the dry season, when the animals move south from the huge Mopani Woodland area in search of water. Not only will we be able to game drive along these floodplains, where the animals will be migrating, but we have full access to the Moremi Wildlife Reserve, renowned for its large concentrations of mammals, and it is one of the most concentrated predator destinations in Botswana.
Our Lodge, the Kwhwai River Lodge, is one of the oldest and best safari lodges in Botswana and is perfectly designed to blend into the surrounding environment. Although it is defined as a lodge, it is actually comprised of 15 luxury tents that are housed on raised wooden platforms, offering great views, and shaded by a traditional African thatch roof. The large private decks are furnished with easy chairs and a hammock, ideal for viewing wildlife. Its exceptional location makes it a regular host to elephants, buffalos, lions, leopards, cheetahs and wild dogs. As we are staying outside the reserve, we will also be able to drive off roads and do night game drives.
Accommodations: Kwhwai River Lodge –BLD
September 23-24, 2018 (2 nights)
After our early-morning game drive and breakfast, we will fly on to the renowned Savuti Reserve in the dusty red plains with skeletal trees that make for some striking photographic opportunities in the dry season. The area is renowned for its sightings of lion and hyena as well as supporting a large population of bull elephants. Cheetahs can often be seen on the plains around the marshes, and the many rocky outcrops mean that leopards are common. If we are lucky, we should also see the wild dogs.
You will be staying at the five-star Savute Elephant camp with 12 luxurious rooms raised on wooden platforms, each with an outdoor lounge shaded by a traditional thatch roof.
Accommodations: Savute Elephant camp – BLD
September 25-28, 2018 (4 nights!)
After our early-morning game drive and breakfast, we will fly to Kasane, where we will be met by our ground team and transported to our luxury houseboat, which is the best on the Chobe River. Our exclusive houseboat is spread over three levels with multiple decks. The lounge and dining area, located on the middle deck, can be opened on three sides and offers stunning panoramic views. The upper level hosts a viewing deck equipped with table, chairs, and sun loungers, perfect for relaxing as we drift between our private mooring points. The lower deck features five en-suite cabins decorated with solid African rosewood furnishing.
We will spend the next four days cruising along the Chobe River in search of every incredible photographic opportunity. During the mornings and afternoons, we will go out on our own private, custom-built photo boats with fully rotating chairs and fitted with state-of-the-art camera mounts. We will have highly specialized guides with an encyclopedic knowledge of the river and its inhabitants, who will seek out any specific photographic subjects we request. These boats are available at any time during our four days on the boat and are moored alongside should any photographic opportunity present itself as we cruise along the river. We will also have the opportunity to use other tender boats for tiger fishing or to visit a local fishing village and learn a bit about the residents’ lives along this iconic river.
September 29, 2018
We will have one last, final morning shoot on the Chobe River before our flight back to Johannesburg in time for our international flights home. International flights should be booked after 20:00.
Why this safari is for you…..
This premier photographic safari caters for only 7 photographers, which affords you more personalized photographic instruction and more flexibility. This is one of the only itineraries in Botswana offering three amazing locations, which will give you an incredible divers portfolio of images from only one safari. Meticulously designed to give you the best photographic opportunities; we will be using private open vehicles with no obstructions, have opportunities for off-road and night game drives, we will be using private custom built boats for photographers, and full freedom to roam on the Chobe River.
During our safari we will see a variety of exotic wildlife, however some special subjects may require spending time watching their behavior and waiting for those special moments. This is when patience pays off, rewarding you with extraordinary photographs. We will spend a great deal of time and effort in the field and quality time with the wildlife—unless it is quiet and the light is too harsh—and we will return to our camp/lodge for the midday break. This means there may be several mornings and some lunches that will involve box meals that we take with us, rather than eating at camp or the lodge. We will be back at our camp/lodge for a nice dinner and drinks around the fire every night.
Since this itinerary is built to spend most of our time in the field, this is not a formal workshop with any planned lectures, slide shows, or formal instruction, but Piper is there to assist you throughout the entire trip. She is generous with her time and instruction and available for questions on any and all photographic topics including business questions on marketing, branding, and creating a niche. When there is an afternoon break, she will be happy to review your images, portfolios, or give an impromptu slide show or talk. This is largely why the group sizes are kept small: so that she can assist you when needed and spend quality time with you in an amazing location.
The price of this premier wildlife photographic safari is $11,795.00. This price is based on double occupancy.
Single accommodations are extremely limited, come at a premium, and can only be confirmed once the trip is sold out. If available, request will be honored in the order they are requested. If you must have single accommodations please inquire prior to registration.
***This cost of this safari is based on a minimum of 6 participants. If there are less than 6 participants a small supplement fee of $795.00 will apply.
A USD $3,500.00 Non-refundable deposit is due at the time of registration to secure your spot.
- 5 flights total! The three In-country flights have extra weight allowance
- Airport transfers
- 10 nights, first class accommodations
- Guaranteed row and window seat in private 4X4 Land cruisers
- All National Parks fees, Game Reserves entrance fees, and taxes
- Pangolin photo boats
- Exclusive use of a luxury houseboat
- All meals except on arrival and departure days and lunch on Sept 19 and 29
- Water, soda, coffee, tea, domestic beer and wine at lodges and camps
Price does Not Include:
- Travel Insurance
- Personal purchases (such as curious, spirit liquors, telephone calls, internet, laundry…)
- Gratuities for the guides, staff at accommodations, and airport transfers
- Optional extra activities not listed on the itinerary
- International flights to and from South Africa
- Airport tax $15
- USD $3,500.00 non-refundable deposit to confirm your place on this safari
- 2nd payment of USD $3,000.00 is due March 15, 2018
- Final payment/Balance is due August 15, 2018
We highly recommend trip and cancellation insurance
If you are excited to come on the Botswana Premier Safari, now is the time to grab one of only 7 spots. We must receive both your esign registration form and your deposit/s to confirm your spot. Each participant must fill out registration form, but you may change the quantity on the deposit and make multiple deposit with one transaction.
1. Click this link to access the e-registration form. At the end of the form you will be asked to confirm your email address, which will complete the registration. A copy of your registration will be emailed to you and to Piper Mackay Photo Safaris.