Botswana Photographic Safari with James Gifford

24 March 2022 to 2 April 2022 – Maximum 6 travellers

Join professional wildlife photographer James Gifford on a superb 9 night Botswana photographic safari through the best of the Okavango and Chobe. An itinerary specially designed for keen photographers looking to take their skills to the next level – whether you’re starting out with your first DSLR or an experienced photographer. These camps have been selected for their prime locations, specially equipped vehicles and great safari guides to ensure the best possible photo opportunities. You’ll experience the best of Botswana from every angle – open 4×4 vehicles, motor boat and helicopter – with James on hand to share his knowledge gained over 15 years in the field. What better classroom than the African wilderness to practice your photographic skills?

This Botswana photographic safari begins in Maun, the gateway to the Okavango Delta, and covers three different locations over nine nights allowing time to explore each area fully before moving on. Beginning with three nights in Khwai, in the eastern Okavango followed by 3 nights in Gomoti, the southern Okavango and finally ending with 3 nights on the Chobe Riverfront.

The camps and locations have been chosen specifically with photographers in mind. The Okavango camps are set on game rich concessions, where off-roading is permitted, allowing greater flexibility for tracking animals and positioning the vehicles for the best photo opportunities. All vehicles are equipped with adjustable arms for camera supports and in Chobe where we focus on the water, we use boats which have been specially modified for photographers with rotating chairs and camera mounts

Throughout the safari, James will be on-hand to teach, advise, answer questions and review your images. By having both a professional photographer and a local guide in the vehicle, you will get the best of all worlds. This ensures James can give everyone individual attention, irrespective of whether you are picking up a camera for the first time or if you are an experienced photographer.

James be taking you through the whole range of wildlife photography – from all the technical fundamentals to different lighting techniques, creative shutter speeds, landscapes, stars and much more. Positioning is vital with wildlife photography – James will ensure the vehicle is in the optimum position for you to get the best shots using his local knowledge and experience of wildlife behaviour from photographing in Botswana for the last 15 years.

Learning in the field allows you to practice your skills straight away – our classroom on this Botswana photographic safari is the African wilderness with subjects around every corner and James’s goal is to share all his photographic secrets with you garnered from the time he has spent in the field. In between activities, James will always be available to go over any specific topics, or review your images on a one-to-one basis should you wish.

This Botswana photographic safari tour runs from 24 March 2022 to 2 April 2022  and has a maximum of 6 travellers.

Arrival and departure details: The itinerary starts in Maun Airport and ends in Kasane Airport. The tour has been planned to work with the Airlink flights arriving into Maun from Johannesburg/Cape Town and the Airlink departure from Kasane to Johannesburg.

Extensions to other areas before or after the safari can easily be arranged. Victoria Falls is just 1.5 hours away from Kasane so those interested may wish to consider adding a couple of nights at the end of the safari. Please speak to us for more details.

James Gifford is an award-winning photographer and writer. For 15 years he has been living and working on the edge of the Okavango Delta, photographing and videoing wildlife and running specialist photographic safaris. Passionate about conservation, James believes photography is a powerful conservational tool and the perfect medium to showcase the complex issue of Africa’s diminishing wildlife and he regularly works with local research and community projects. He brings a wealth of experience to his Botswana Photographic Safari tours.

Day 1 - East Okavango

You will be met on arrival at Maun Airport by your photographic guide and host, James Gifford. With the group all assembled you set off on your safari – beginning with a 25 minute charter flight to Khwai in the eastern Okavango. You safari begins on take-off so keep your eyes peeled!

You safari guide will meet you at the airstrip on landing and transfer you to camp, a short game drive of around 15 minutes. Set along the riverine forest below the shade of the sycamore trees in a quiet corner of the Khwai concession lies Machaba Camp. There is a friendly down to earth feel to this camp, offering an authentic safari with plenty of sophisticated touches. Stylish and thoughtfully designed rooms, excellent food and great guides come together to deliver a great all around safari.

Once you have settled in, James will discuss the plan for your photographic adventure, assessing different skill levels, ambitions and subject matter preferences. Activities at Machaba will include morning and afternoon and night game drives as well as an adventure on the local mokoro canoes.

Before heading out on your first game drive you will enjoy a late afternoon tea. Revitalised, you set off on your first drive around 4pm –taking in the untamed wilderness and the myriad of animals that frequent the region. You will stop at a scenic spot for a well-deserved sundowner before returning to camp for dinner by a roaring fire and a star filled sky.

Day 2 and 3 - East Okavango

Early mornings and late afternoons are the best time for productive game drives and photography. The cool early mornings are your best chance to see predators active before they retreat to the shade during the midday heat – this also allows you to take advantage of the soft morning light.

You begin the day with a light breakfast spread and freshly brewed coffee by the fire before your departure. Setting off as the sun comes up for a game drive of about 4 hours, stopping for a coffee break at a scenic spot along the way.

Your daily game drives will cover various environments allowing you to experience a wide diversity of wildlife. Khwai is a rich game area - with good elephant numbers (with both bull elephants and breeding herds) as well as good predator sightings – lion and leopard are frequently seen, and wild dog are found here too. Buffalo are found here in large herds during this time of year, carefully watched by lions. Other wildlife species include giraffe and plains game such as lechwe, impala, zebra, tsessebe, wildebeest, kudu, sable and roan antelope. Hippo are numerous along the river and will often be heard around camp at night.

When water levels allow Mokoro rides are also offered. Guided by experienced polers, you will explore the beautiful reed-lined water channels that have made the Okavango Delta so famous. View animals from a different perspective as they come down to drink, from elephant to the smaller creatures like reed frogs jumping between the reeds as you glide past quietly. The perfect way to gain a deeper understanding of Okavango Delta ecosystem at this slower pace.

In between your activities you can relax by the pool or enjoy an afternoon siesta. This is also a great time to review your pictures and discuss technical questions with James.

Machaba Camp also offers spa treatments such as massages and facials in your room and there is also a little library to catch up on some Africana literature.

Day 4 - South Okavango

After your early morning game drive and brunch you depart Khwai for your next camp in the southern Okavango. This is a short but beautiful 20 minute flight. Named after the river it borders, Gomoti Plains Camp sits below picturesque palm trees and offers eco-luxurious comfort in an area that is bursting with game-viewing opportunities.

Gomoti Plains Camp lies on the Gomoti concession, just south of the famous Chitabe and Sandibe concessions, an area well known for excellent game viewing. The area is particularly well known for fantastic predator sightings such as lion, leopard and wild dog. Rhino were introduced to the area in 2017 and this remains one of the best places to see rhino in the Okavango Delta. The plains game is extensive and varied, with regular sightings of giraffe, zebra, buffalo, impala, red lechwe and warthog. All offering the perfect backdrop for wildlife photography.

Once you have settled into your new rooms and toured the new camp you will head out to the floodplains for your first evening game drive.

Sometimes you will return to camp after dark so that you have the opportunity to search for nocturnal animals using a specially designed spotlight. A roaring fire awaits you at camp, enjoy drinks around the fire before dinner under the stars.

Day 5 and 6 - South Okavango

Halfway into your safari you have now settled into the daily rhythm of your Botswana photographic safari. For the next two days you will wake up with the sun, enjoy a quick breakfast and set off on your morning game drive, which usually last around 4 hours before returning to a scrumptious brunch and some down time in the afternoon before your second activity around 4pm.

The Gomoti Plains region pulses with a diverse range of wildlife including large herds of buffalo, prides of lion and packs of endangered African Wild Dog. Leopard are also seen here and occasionally cheetah too.

The focus at Gomoti Plains is on game drives and walking, with boating and mokoro activities offered when water levels permit. Game drives allow you to cover more ground and approach predators up close. The expert tracking of animals through this vast wilderness showcases your guide’s expert knowledge and experience.

During your stay at Gomoti you will enjoy a 30 minute scenic helicopter flight over the Okavango. A spectacular experience, and utterly thrilling. With the doors off and well strapped in you whiz fast and low – offering fantastic photo opportunities.

Day 7 - Chobe

This morning you bid farewell to the Okavango Delta as your continue your safari to Chobe National Park. After your morning game drive you return to the airstrip for your 60 minute flight to Kasane, followed by a 15 minute drive to your hotel.

Chobe Pangolin Hotel sits on a plateau with wonderful views of the Chobe river and floodplains. A fun and friendly hotel with just 14 rooms, it has a simple but striking design. Importantly this hotel is specially aimed at photographers – with specially designed boats with fully rotating chairs and camera mounts. The hotel itself has dedicated areas for photo editing in post-production sessions and plenty of charging points for camera equipment. The heart of the hotel is a wildlife photography gallery featuring a selection of pictures from their resident photo guides.

After a refreshing lunch and taking time to settle in your rooms you set off on your first afternoon boat trip on the Chobe River.

The Chobe River has gained a reputation for offering some of the best game viewing in Southern Africa. Home to the largest concentration of elephants in Africa, Chobe has become synonymous with Elephants. It has a rich and varied range of wildlife – with good numbers of plains game which include the rarer antelope such as sable and roan, as well as good numbers of predators too. Lion, leopard, hyena and wild dog are all found here. The birding in this area is spectacular, especially at this time of year.

Day 8 and 9 - Chobe Riverfront

The next two days will be focused on the river. Although it is possible to do game drives into the park the best photo opportunities are found when exploring the Chobe river by boat. The Pangolin photographic boats are kitted out with swivel chairs and gimbal mounts to make it easier to photograph on the moving water. In addition to the spectacular birdlife, the boats enable you to get much closer to buffalo, hippo and elephants which regularly cross onto the islands.

Each day at the hotel will include a morning and an afternoon cruise on the Chobe River or possibly a game drive into the Chobe National Park. James, along with the Pangolin team, will help you make the best out of every photo opportunity that presents itself.

In between activities and in the evenings, you will have plenty of time to relax by the swimming pool or on your private balcony overlooking the river. At the front of the hotel there is a large deck where your meals are served and also features a large firepit. Overlooking this deck you have the Pangolin Bar, names for the fabulous stained glass pangolin-shaped window, offering some of the best views of the Chobe River.

Day 10 - End of Tour

Today marks the end of your Botswana Photographic safari. At a time advised the day before you will be transferred to Kasane Airport in good time for your flight home. This tour ends at Kasane Airport.

Extensions to Victoria Falls, Cape Town or other safari destinations can be arranged. Please speak to us for more details.

Map View

Machaba Camp

Machaba Camp

Gomoti Plains Camp

Gomoti Plains Camp

Chobe Pangolin Hotel

Chobe Pangolin Hotel

Chobe Pangolin Hotel

Water Level

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