Pangolin Specialist Photographic hosted tour

A brilliant safari for keen photographers, this is a hosted group tour run by Pangolin Safaris who have led the way in photographic group tours in Botswana. Novice or Pro photographers are welcome, and cameras and memory cards can even be provided free of charge. This superb safari features 3 nights cruising the Chobe riverfront in an exclusive houseboat, 3 nights in an authentic bush camp in a prime game viewing areas of the Okavango and finally 3 nights in a luxury camp in the Kalahari. With a maximum of 8 guests and a specialist photographic host for guidance, this an intimate and exclusive safari not to be missed.

Staying in game rich locations in small intimate camps and with a professional host on hand to assist with all your photographic needs, this is one of the best value specialist safaris in Botswana. Hosts will be available on all activities and will be able to help with photography. If you don’t have a camera of your own Pangolin are able to supply you with one free of charge for the duration of the safari included in the price along with as many memory cards as you require.

With the group restricted to only eight people, it’s ideal for novice and pro photographers alike as the photo host is able to attend to each guest in equal measure, especially on the photo boat. If you are a complete novice then we recommend arriving a few nights early and staying at the Pangolin Chobe Hotel for a couple of days before to learn the basics before you join the group. This is also advisable for more experienced photographers who might not have been in the field for a while just to get your “eye back in” and the muscle memory functioning!

In between game activities there will be hosted image review and group editing sessions. For this to be truly effective you will need to have your own laptop with you with the latest version of an editing programme installed and updated. The software of choice is Adobe Lightroom and there will be a free online course you can start before your arrival so that you are familiar with its functions if you haven’t used it before.

Dates:

• 3-12 Mar 2021 – low season
• 2-11 Apr 2021 – high season
• 9-18 Jun 2021 – high season
• 9-18 Aug 2021 – high season
• 1-10 Oct 2021 – high season
• 1-10 Nov 2021 – low season
• 1-10 Dec 2021 – low season

The rate is $6,995 in low season + $1,000 single supplement
The rate is $9,995 in high season + $2,455 single supplement

Please speak to us for extensions to Victoria Falls and beyond.

Day 1 - Pangolin Voyager Houseboat

The itinerary begins in Chobe. The meeting point for the group is The Chobe Pangolin Hotel, a short drive from Kasane Airport (transfers can be arranged). For those interested in visiting Victoria Falls before the safari we will arrange a 1.5 hour road transfer.

Your Photograpic host will meet you at the hotel, where you will also meet your fellow travellers and enjoy some light refreshments before you move to the Pangolin Voyager, your houseboat and home of the next 3 nights.

Because the Pangolin Voyager is moored on the Namibian side of the river you will have to clear immigration again before boarding the boat. This is a simple but memorable experience.

The Pangolin Voyager is specially designed to maximise your game viewing experience without compromising on comfort. The houseboat consists of five cabins, all en-suite, which can be configured as double or twin rooms. The houseboat is split over three levels, with most rooms on the lower deck, a dining area and lounge on the middle deck and an inviting top deck to relax and soak up the views at any time of day. The rooms are air-conditioned adding that extra comfort in summer.

The Pangolin Voyager has three different mooring spots along The Chobe River and will be visited over the course of the next three days. Alongside the houseboat is a specially designed eight seater photo boats which will be used use for our morning and afternoon activities out on the river looking for subjects to photograph.

Having met the team and settled into your rooms you will depart on your first boating safari later that afternoon.

Day 2 and 3 - Pangolin Voyager Houseboat

For the next two days you will cruise along the Chobe River on the houseboat and enjoy boating safaris from the smaller specially designed motor boat in the morning and afternoon- the most productive time for game viewing.

The game viewing along the Chobe River varied greatly with the seasons. In the (African) Summer months between November and April you will have amazing birdlife everywhere as the “migrants” take up their annual residency. There will still be large mammals around such as elephant, buffalo and hippo as well as resident crocs and antelope, so all in all an excellent time to photograph, with lots of bright green backgrounds and baby animals everywhere. The (African) winter months, between May and October, will see larger numbers of elephants as the water becomes more scarce inland and the river becomes more popular with all animals.

There is always something to photograph in Chobe, making it the ideal spot to start your safari. No matter when you decide to join this safari, throughout the year, you are sure to start with a bang and plenty of “keepers”!

In between game activities there will be hosted image review and group editing sessions. For this to be truly effective you will need to have your own laptop with you with the latest version of an editing programme installed and updated. Our software of choice is Adobe Lightroom and we have a free online course you can start before your arrival so that you are familiar with its functions if you haven’t used it before.

Day 4 - Bushman Plains

For the next two days you will cruise along the Chobe River on the houseboat and enjoy boating safaris from the smaller specially designed motor boat in the morning and afternoon- the most productive time for game viewing.

The game viewing along the Chobe River varied greatly with the seasons. In the (African) Summer months between November and April you will have amazing birdlife everywhere as the “migrants” take up their annual residency. There will still be large mammals around such as elephant, buffalo and hippo as well as resident crocs and antelope, so all in all an excellent time to photograph, with lots of bright green backgrounds and baby animals everywhere. The (African) winter months, between May and October, will see larger numbers of elephants as the water becomes more scarce inland and the river becomes more popular with all animals.

This morning you bid farewell to the Pangolin Voyager and the Chobe as you return to Kasane for your flight to the Okavango. The exact time will be schedule the day before, this is usually around 11am and takes about 60 minutes.

This is a fascinating flight. Starting with the Chobe River, your home for the last three days, finally seen from above. You will follow the river for a while before turning south west over the southern reaches of Chobe, to Savute and eventually to the Okavango. The landscapes will dry out from Chobe and then begin to turn green again as you near the oasis of the Delta. On arrival your guide will be waiting to meet you. You Okavango safari begins on landing – so keep your eyes out! A 2 hour game drive takes you to camp.

Bushman Plains is charming traditional bush camp – simple, authentic and full of character. This is rustic but very comfortable. There are four spacious tents each with an en-suite bathroom and veranda and sitting area.

This is a community-owned camp set in a prime game viewing area. Being an owner run camp adds that extra special atmosphere, the camp belongs to the people who call this area home and as such this is one of the most authentic experiences in the Okavango. The guiding is excellent. And this is a stand out feature of the camp, Bushman Plains has trackers and guides- doubling the expert eyes to find those incredible sightings. And the guides are local, people who have lived here for generations and know the area and animals movements well.
Having met the team and settled into your rooms you will enjoy some light refreshments as you discuss the area and wildlife movements with your guide. You will then set out on your first afternoon game drive, stopping as the sun begins to set to soak up the stunning skies and enjoy the traditional sundowner drink.

Returning to camp a roaring fire awaits, followed by dinner and your first night in the Okavango.

The guides AND trackers on each vehicle have called this area home for generations and are some of the most enthusiastic and passionate safari guides we have encountered. They love nothing more than finding great subjects such as lions, leopard, cheetah and especially wild dogs and also encourage our guests to get out of the vehicle (when appropriate) to look at the tracks and signs to fully understand the tracking process. It’s safari as it should be without the unnecessary frivolity that misses the point on so many cookie cutter safaris these days. It’s all about the wildlife here!

Day 5 and 6 - Bushman Plains

The next morning starts early, with an early morning wake-up call and light breakfast. As the sun comes up you are off, tracking the movements of the predators during the night and looking for signs of any action. This is when predators are most active and you have your greatest chance of catching those special sightings. Your drives will last around 4 hours, depending on sightings, and will include a coffee stop with snacks for a chance to stretch your legs. Returning to camp around mid-morning you will enjoy a hearty brunch and then have some time to relax in camp before setting out in the late afternoon, as the day cools, for your afternoon game drive.

The vehicle policy for Bushman Plains is to have not more than 4 people per 4x4, therefore photographers of similar experience and ability will be paired up in the vehicles. The Photo Host will then divide his or her time between the two game viewers. Hopefully after three days shooting on the river everyone in the group will be shooting with confidence and understanding of the settings required for each sighting. All the vehicles have beanbag mounts rather than gimbals. The two vehicles are in radio contact to help with locating sightings…..and here is the main reason why we love Bushman Plains so much!

In between drives there are more editing sessions to be had in the editing tent as well as some down time to enjoy being in this pristine part of the world.

Day 7 - Dinaka

Today you depart the Okavango for the Kalahari. You will bid a fond farewell to the team and perhaps enjoy one last morning drive before you fly south west to the Central Kalahari. A flight of about 60 minutes. On arrival your guide will be waiting to transfer you to camp, a short game drive of about 5 minutes.

Dinaka Camp lies on a private reserve bordering the Central Kalahari Game Reserve and delivers a fantastic desert safari experience, showcasing very different animals to those found in the Okavango. Dinaka is a beautiful camp and the most luxurious on your itinerary – you will certainly be ending your safari in style. The rooms are very spaciously and beautifully designed and the main areas under the high thatch are airy and inviting and look out on the busy waterhole.

Activities include morning, afternoon and night drives, bushman walks, photographic hide, viewing deck, guided walks. The vehicles all have beanbag camera mounts and again is maximum four per vehicle for the game drives with the photo host alternating between the two game viewers.

Having settled in and had lunch you will have some time to rest before you depart on your first activity. This is a very different landscape and the wildlife is different too. Desert adapted species include the Kalahari Black Maned Lion, brown hyena, aardwolf, cheetah, oryx, springbok and more. Rhino are commonly seen here. Birding is superb. A fantastic contrast to the Okavango.

Due to the dry nature of the environment here the animals tend to gather at the waterholes, making for a slightly more relaxed safari and superb photo opportunities. The photo hides in particular are ideal for capturing those special shots.

The sunsets in the Kalahari are particularly dramatic and the raised viewing deck makes the perfect spot for capturing those stunning images.

Day 8 and 9- Dinaka

For the next two days you explore the reserve, with morning and afternoon activities.

As a camp Dinaka is very flexible with their timings and earlier starts or later finishes to game activities are all accommodated for to make the most of our time there. One activity not to be missed is a walk through the bush with the resident bushman guides where you will learn about their traditional subsistence way of life from what at first sight appears to be such a stark environment culminating in a demonstration of traditional fire making techniques and some story telling as the sun sets.

The waterhole hide at Dinaka is a sunken “bunker type” hide and can seat the whole group together with the host. You will be photographing out at water level as the animals arrive, to slake their thirst right in front of you. It’s a very special place to be and photograph from.

The night sky of the Kalahari is breath-taking especially at certain times of the month, when there is a new moon, and if the conditions are right we will take the opportunity to practice some astro and star trails photography.

Again during the day there will be editing sessions but also the opportunity to have some downtime by the pool or on a snooze with a good book on the deck…..with your camera close at hand in case something appears at the camp’s waterhole of course!

Day 10- End of Safari

This morning you depart to Maun airport, a flight of about 30 minutes, where you bid farewell to your fellow photographers and host and continue with your onward arrangements.

Map View

The Pangolin Voyager

The Pangolin Voyager

Bushman Plains

Bushman Plains

Dinaka Camp

Dinaka Camp

Dinaka Camp

Water Level

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