Project Description

Kalahari desert Photo Safari

Chobe, Delta and Kalahari Photo Safari

  • From $12,650

  • 10 Days

  • Botswana, Namibia

  • March to November


We have added the amazing Central Kalahari to our other iconic photographic destinations – The Chobe and Okavango Delta – for a 10-day hosted wildlife photography safari. Led by one of our Pangolin Photo Hosts you will spend time in each destination photographing in a group of no more than eight guests. Starting on The Pangolin Voyager Houseboat, on The Chobe River, you will then fly into the Okavango Delta for some more land-based photography in this incredible photo safari destination and World Heritage Site.

The final destination is the Central Kalahari (watch a video here) and three more nights at Dinaka where you will find the rarer less photographed species as well as enjoy some photo hide sessions and night drives.

Elephant and calf in Chobe
photo boat in the chobe
Pangolin Voyager Video Thumbnail
Open Billed Stork
lion in the delta
charl's red lechwe herd running through the delta
Jackal at Dinaka
Wild dog in the delta
charl's chobe leopard at sunset
into the kalahari
The bunker hide at Dinaka
baby leopard in the delta
a lioness drinking from the waterhole at the dinaka hide
cheetah in the delta
bushman skills experience at dinaka
Shinde Footsteps Tent

Wherever you are arriving from on the first day (whether it’s across the border from Victoria Falls or off the flight from Johannesburg) you will be met at The Pangolin Chobe Hotel by your photographic host who will accompanying throughout this epic photographic safari.

The Pangolin Voyager is actually moored on the Namibian side of the river so you will exit Botswana again and enter Namibia which is a very straightforward, simple but definitely unforgettable border experience.

The Pangolin Voyager has five cabins which mirrors the five tents at the camp in the Okavango Delta so the group will have both exclusively for the first week of the safari. We have three different mooring spots along The Chobe River and we will visit them all while onboard. Alongside the houseboat is one of our eight-seater photo boats which we will use for our morning and afternoon activities out on the river looking for subjects to photograph.

As this safari operates throughout the year The Chobe River offers up different subject matter from month to month. 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.

The reason we chose to start Pangolin in the Chobe is there is always something to photograph in The Chobe. No matter when you decide to join this safari, throughout the year, you are sure to start with a bang and plenty of “keepers”.

Each Pangolin Photo Host has been allocated a number of groups throughout the year at different times of the year. They will be on hand during every morning and afternoon cruise on the photo boat to help you with your photography. If you don’t have a camera of your own we 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 perhaps coming to 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. 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.

Other than that you will be well fed and watered on the houseboat with all the meals and drinks (soft and alcoholic) included in the package – and that goes for the whole itinerary.

The cabins onboard are all en-suite and air-conditioned and can be configured as double or twin beds.

On day four we will make our way back into Botswana to meet our charter flight into The Okavango Delta. The flights usually depart at around 11am.

The flight from The Chobe takes just over an hour and is in itself a beautiful scenic flight from both sides of the aircraft. We land at our private airstrip and will be driven to our private camp in our two customised game viewers (maximum four photographers per vehicle).

Our camp of choice forgoes unnecessary and frivolous luxuries in exchange for a good old fashioned tented camp focussing on what is most important – great photo opportunities, a comfy camp and plenty of exclusive space to explore and photograph. The camp has all the necessary amenities such as large tents, comfy beds, great electricity supply and superb staff to take good care if us…not to mention the delicious food!

The camp sits on a private concession of around 10,000ha in size and we have the freedom to explore and spend as much time as each sighting as we require. We are able to off-road at special sightings and also conduct night drives. The Chobe Delta and Kalahari dates have been scheduled to coincide with the new moon increasing the chances of having perfect conditions for astrophotography sessions.

The concession is bisected by the Moanachira River which is a significant water source. The open plains across the area lend themselves to large herds of herbivores and their pursuant predators – lions, wild dogs, leopards and cheetah. Being the Okavango Delta the birdlife is prolific.

There are healthy populations of big cats on this concession most of whom are very habituated and make for excellent subjects. Wild dogs are frequently seen in the area too along with other large predators like hyenas. All the other larger fauna are present in good numbers such as giraffe, wildebeest, topi, hartebeest, buffalo as well as several herds of elephants.

As with the houseboat, you will have the camp to yourselves and your photo host will divide his or her time between the vehicles to assist you with your photography.

The camp comprises five walk-in Meru-style tents with en-suite showers and toilets. The tents have a good electricity supply and twin steel beds with nice mattresses and quality linen. The communal areas of the camp feature a lounge and dining tent, an editing tent for afternoon image review sessions as well as a fire to enjoy before and after dinner.

The meals and drinks at the camp are all included and the camp can cater for most dietary restrictions and allergies. You will be well fed at the camp with three delicious meals a day prepared by the expert chefs in the camp kitchen.

On the final morning, we make our way to the airstrip slowly, photographing along the way, to meet the next charter flight to The Central Kalahari.

After one week of early starts and over-excitement, The Kalahari by its very nature tends to be a slightly more relaxed environment and the perfect third destination for this safari. As a desert, the animals tend to congregate more around the waterholes which makes it the perfect location for some hide photography. Dinaka, the camp that we have chosen to partner with, has an excellent waterhole hide with more in the planning phase.

Dinaka sits on a private reserve, bordering the massive Central Kalahari Game Reserve. Here you will find an environment very different from what you have experienced in The Chobe and Delta before. The bush is slightly thicker and thornier and the animals seem to be a little different too as you would expect based on the ecosystem. Oryx, springbok, brown hyena, black-maned lions, jackals as well as cheetah and wild dogs do well here. Check out this video that the team made in the Kalahari during lockdown.

The camp is owned and managed by safari legends Ker and Downey Botswana and is certainly the most luxurious of the three, but by now you will have earned a little pampering. The communal areas of the camp are fantastic and the rooms are spacious with private verandas looking towards a busy waterhole. The vehicles all have beanbag camera mounts and again is maximum of four per vehicle for the game drives with the photo host alternating between the two game viewers.

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.

As a camp, Dinaka is very flexible with their timings and earlier starts or later finishes to game activities are all accommodated 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 storytelling as the sun sets.

The night sky of the Kalahari is breathtaking 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!

On the last day, you will depart to Maun airport and bid farewell to your fellow photographers and the host but that need not be the end of your safari. There are daily flights between Maun and Cape Town should you decide to add some time in the Mother City at the end of this adventure!


$12,650per person
  • $4,500 Single Supplement


$12,950per person
  • $4,950 Single Supplement
  • Airport meet and greet

  • Photographic tuition, advice and editing assistance throughout by Pangolin Photo Host

  • Use of a Canon DSLR camera and telephoto lens (if required) incl memory cards

  • 3 nights onboard the Pangolin Voyager Houseboat (Full board)

  • Twice daily activities on the Chobe river on a Pangolin Photo Boat

  • Charter flight from Kasane to the Pangolin Photo Camp, Okavango Delta

  • 4 nights at the Pangolin Photo Camp at Ker and Downey’s Footsteps (full board)

  • Twice daily game drives (maximum four per vehicle)

  • Charter flight to Dinaka, Central Kalahari

  • 2 nights at Dinaka (Full board)

  • Twice daily game drives and use of the Dinaka bunker hide

  • Afternoon image review and editing sessions.

  • Charter flight from Dinaka to Maun

  • All park, landing and concession contributions

  • All meals and drinks

  • Gratuities, laundry and items of a personal nature

  • Visa fees for Botswana and Namibia (if required)

As we are a group of eight clients plus a photo host we use private charters wherever we can which allows for a little more luggage weight than the normal 20kgs. This means that you are able to slip in a couple of extra lenses should you wish to do so without the worry of being over the limit for the charter flights we will be taking. Please chat to one of our travel planners for more details.

Our Reviews

Beyond awesome!! I just returned home from a fabulous 6 nights at the Pangolin Chobe Hotel in Kasane, Botswana. Everything was as expected. The room was comfortable with reliable internet and air conditioning. Lots of work space to edit photos, multiple international plugs (no need to bring a converter) and a comfortable bed. The food was outstanding at every meal and the staff was excellent. Many of the trips were on the river and the photo opportunities were endless. The boats are equipped with gimbals which helped with managing long lenses. Our guide was always looking to put us in the best positions to get great images. All of the guides there are outstanding and if you are into wildlife photography, booking a trip with Pangolin is a no brainer. I am eagerly looking to return next year and will bring along some of my photographer friends.
Chris B
Chris B
Out of this world. Much much more than one could ever have expected This was the most amazing 5 days photography of my life. I was pretty reasonable before the trip but Janine's tuition / moving wokrshop ! turned something brilliant into something amazing. In addition my wife had previously rarely picked up a camera but having borrowed one of theirs came away with a thouroghly respectable 'portfolio' of wildlife shots, some of which I failed to capture. Am hoping to return one day. Oh and in addition the accommodation and full board etc was just perfect for the style of trip we were seeking. Only downside was that British Airways had my hold luggage for the whole of our 12 day visit to Africa however that did not spoil how good Pangolin are. Oh and we met a great couple from Ohio and are still in touch with them
An incredible experience top to bottom I can't say enough about Pangolin. We stayed for two weeks, complete with gourmet meals (including vegan options for my husband) in portions that were too large, open bar, pool, free laundry services, comfortable beds, amazing staff, and safaris that were exciting yet exhausting. They arranged a day trip to Victoria Falls for us. And we were only rained out of one boat safari in the entire two weeks (in rainy season!) We learned from the photo hosts and guides. You get your money's worth and more here.
Jamie C
Jamie C
Pangolin Photo safaris - a fantastic place to stay and to enjoy the Chobe We had a fantastic time at the wonderful Pangolin, everything was terrific. The staff were wonderful, both in the hotel and the Bush and all clearly well trained and very welcoming and helpful led by Dan. Charl was just what was needed on tour and with the photographing, we feel we all learned a lot as well as having fun. The food was delicious and the Chef great fun as well with his theatrical intros! I enjoyed the pool’s pond like qualities, which felt just right for the bush! Highly recommend this for photographic enthusiasts as well as everyone who enjoys the excitement of the Chobe wild life.
No place is perfect, until you go here When I had an issue with a safari in the Okavango Delta, the company I had booked through pivoted and made arrangements for me to stay here for two nights. I have but one complaint, it was ONLY two nights. There cannot be anything said about this place that is not incredible. First, the staff is friendly from the pick up, to the in house staff to the team that works to make sure that your time here is as if you are family that you have known a lifetime. Because I was not originally planning on being here, I went in blind. Well, I can tell you that if you are thinking for a second of going here you have already thought too long. Just book it! I have already spent time looking at my next trip and it will be 100% with Pangolin. The boats are amazing, the team made you look better, spent time teaching me editing tips, and just cannot say enough about this company, the people and oh, the food!! The food each night was amazing.
Fantastic all the way around 10/10 Wow these folks do it right! We just returned from leading our clients through Pangolin for our photography tour on the Chobe. I can't say enough about them. Everything from the staff and our guide (Richard) to Dan at the front desk and Guts with operations as well as the entire team are fantastic. We are for sure going to be working with them again in the future and look forward to it!
Sheree R
Sheree R
How wrong was I, Totally! As it turned out. This was a holiday that my husband wanted to do. I was very sceptical about doing it. After all how much were you going to see from a boat anyway. I was afraid of using my camera, so thought this may help. It was awesome, we had 3 days on the Houseboat and 3 days in their Lodge. Whilst in the boat we got to see 2 Lions bring down an Impala, only meters away from our boat. Jarco & Ray, our guides, were awesome. The people we met were lovely and we got some great photos. This is a holiday that we have and will continue to recommend. It was totally worth it.
Photography instruction to go from zero to hero in a few short days! With plenty of tips for the more experienced of us I'll make this short, there are no superlatives good enough to describe our time with Pangolin. We booked the Best of Chobe safari as my wife's first foray from North America. I had been watching all of the phenomenal YouTube content put out by Pangolin and knew they were the company to go with. They met and exceeded every expectation I had, and I had a lot. Our guides, Ray and Charlies, were excellent, knowing the game well and how best to position our boat or game drive vehicle for the best photos. Walter served as our photo host. Not only is he an excellent photographer, but he's an outstanding teacher. I do a lot of wildlife photography, and my wife is/was a complete novice at digital photography. By the end of the trip she was turning out outstanding images, and I learned more than a few tips. Well worth it for both of us. Typically, you'll do two game drives per day, either by custom-designed photography boats or game vehicles. We had four meals daily, and the evening meals were some of the best I have ever had. Also, while on the game drives, there are snacks, water, coffee, or sodas. You won't go hungry! While we both had gear (Nikon for my wife. I carry Canon R3 and Canon R5 ) they do have a loan department from which they will provide (free of charge) Canon 80Ds and 150-600mm lenses. The photo hosts are well-versed in the major camera manufacturers and models. Again, I can't begin to praise Pangolin, Toby, and Guts for the incredible customer service and photo safari.

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