Botswana in Focus
Combining The Best of The Chobe safari with the Okavango Delta really is the chance to see the Best of Botswana.
The North Western sector of The Chobe, where the mobile camp is situated, offers fantastic viewing of predators and plains game with the middle three days spent on the river for an overload of elephants, hippos, water birds and Fish eagles. The safari ends off with three nights in the pristine Okavango Delta hosted at our partner property Bushman Plains on a private concession.
You will be accompanied throughout by a Pangolin Photo Host who will be on hand to help you get the best photographs possible with our equipment or your own.
The mobile camp is hosted by one of our Pangolin Photo Hosts who will supply you with a camera and telephoto lens and show you how to make the most of every photo opportunity on the morning and afternoon game drives. The same photo host will be with you throughout this safari and the intention is that you will be a far better photographer at the end with an “armoury” of new photographic skills at your disposal.
This safari starts with a game drive through the national park in our custom 8-seater (everyone has a window seat) Landcruiser to the Pangolin Mobile Camp which is based in the North Westerly sector of the park. We make use of private campsites deep in the bush reserved exclusively for our camp. There are five large walk-in tents sleeping a maximum of eight guests (room for a couple of singles) with a dining tent that doubles as an editing area.
Each of the tents has twin (proper) beds with quality linen and a private ensuite bathroom behind. This comprises a toilet, basin and a bucket shower that can be filled to the brim with warm water straight from the campfire when needed. This is “glamping”!
Our chefs are masters at producing delicious meals from the nearby bush kitchen and the support vehicle has enough cold storage to make sure the drinks are always chilled. After dinner, there is time to sit around the campfire and enjoy this true wilderness experience.
The animals of The Chobe are generally very relaxed, which is one of the main reason why photography is so good, and you will often have herds of herbivores like elephants, zebra and buffalo wandering past the camp during the day.
On the fourth day, we will pack up the vehicles and head East towards the Pangolin Chobe Hotel.
The Pangolin Chobe Hotel sits on the plateau overlooking the Chobe River and the Caprivi Floodplains below. Completed in 2018 the hotel has 14 guide rooms and is designed around a wildlife photography gallery featuring inspiring images from Africa and beyond.
With its proximity to the Chobe river, the majority of the game activities are done on the Pangolin Photo Boats with the same photo host who accompanied you on the first part of the trip.
By this time you will have improved your photography and will be feeling confident shooting on the manual camera settings. This will allow you more creative control over your images and we spend more time on the boats perfecting various techniques.
The boats seat 8 people all in a row down the middle with room for everyone to rotate 360 degrees. Each seat is has a custom camera gimbal on which we mount your camera and lens. We tend to use bigger telephoto lenses (150-600mm) on the river than on the game drives (100-400mm) as you don’t need to hand hold the cameras on the boat.
We do twice daily game activities on the river and also one or two game drives on a very productive part of the Chobe that we could not get to from the mobile camp.
In between the activities you can relax at the eco-pool or make use of our air-conditioned editing room at the end of the gallery. Your photo host will be on hand during the day to help you with post-production. Access to computers is limited in the Chobe so we suggest that you perhaps bring a laptop with you for image review sessions. Otherwise, we will give you plenty of memory cards to fill throughout the safari to take your images home with you.
Meals are taken as often as possible out on the deck or the interleading dining room with our fabulous chefs dishing out wholesome meals with locally sourced ingredients wherever possible. The evening meals vary from Braai (Barbeque) Nights to gourmet pizzas cooked in our woodfired oven. Most dietary needs can be catered for.
The Pangolin bar on the upper floor has spectacular views and the best cocktails in Kasane and is a great place to relax after dinner with your fellow travellers. Alternatively, the sunken fire pit is always a hit!
On the final day we will either transfer you to the airport if you are heading home or we can arrange extensions at any of our partner properties in Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa. Please chat to your safari planner about options.
On the seventh day it’s time to make our way the short distance to Kasane airport to board our charter flight to The Okavango Delta and the next destination Bushman Plains.
The flight time is normally just over an hour and flies along the border due West from the Chobe along the Selinda. You will be accompanied by your photo host who will be with you for the remainder of the safari.
Bushman Plains, like Pangolin, is owner managed and charming traditional bush camp in one of the most game filled and photographically productive parts of Botswana. The Bushmen who own and manage the camp are, as you would expect, amazing guides and trackers and know their homeland better than anyone else.
The camp comprises five tents and a communal dining lounge area. There are plans to extend the camp to also have a dedicated photo editing area at the beginning of 2020. The spacious tents each have a covered area at the front to relax and an ensuite bathroom at the rear. There is electricity in the rooms and hot water at all times. Don’t expect to find all the fancy add ons like private plunge pools and outdoor showers here. This camp is all about the wildlife experience and not the “extras”.
The camp has two vehicles (with four clients each) and is driven by a guide who is accompanied by a tracker perched on the seat at the front. This combination is a real advantage as the team works tirelessly to decipher the tracks and sign to seek out amazing sightings and photo opportunities. The Pangolin Photo Host at this stage will rotate between the vehicles on each activity spending equal time on each. The vehicles are in radio contact and tend to explore the same area of the concession on each drive. There are only three other camps on this vast concession, so we very rarely come across other vehicles.
We have been working with the guides to understand the needs of wildlife photographers as far as light and positioning is concerned but the real value is their experience and understanding of animal behaviour which means more often than not, we are in exactly the right spot with the right light at the sighting.
One extra activity that’s on offer at Bushman Plains is a walk with one of the guides, dressed in traditional garments, through the bushveld. The guide explains more about Bushman culture and the uses for the plants and trees that are found in the area. This is not to be missed – it’s fascinating and a real insight to a simpler more natural life.
In between game drives there is more time for image review with the Pangolin Photo Host but equally it’s time to enjoy the camp looking out over the plains and seeing what comes by.
The food at Bushman Plains is great with simple delicious fare. Sometimes meals are taken around the fire instead of the dining table with optional cutlery! This is the essence of Bushman Plains. It’s a wonderfully relaxing place to be with no airs and graces and an exceptional wildlife experience.
On the final day we head back over to the Kadizora airstrip for onward charter flights either home or onwards to other destinations detailed in the add-ons section of this page.
At the end of this safari we can guarantee that you will leave a much better photographer than when you arrived with a fistful of memory cards filled with beautiful images that you will treasure forever!
|7 – 16 June 2020 | 23 June – 1 July 2020 | 6 – 15 July 2020 | 22 – 31 July 2020
10 – 19 August 2020 | 16 – 25 August 2020
If you are interested in any of the below add-ons, chat to your travel planner or mention it in the enquiry form below.
A marvellous way to start or end a Southern Africa photo safari itinerary. A visit to Mosi Oa Tunya – The Smoke that Thunders. We have a selection of hand-picked hotels that we use.
South Africa’s best kept safari secret. Madikwe is home to good populations of Rhino, big cats and wild dogs. There we have a fantastic partner property – Jacis. Option on the way to Cape Town.
The Mother City and Africa’s most cosmopolitan destination, Cape Town is a wonderful destination at the start or end of a safari. Beautiful scenery, delicious food, Mediterranean climate & photo opportunities galore!
If you are bringing your own photo gear with you on this safari we suggest that you consider your lens choices carefully. You will be doing a combination of vehicle and boat based photography so obviously, a decent telephoto or prime lens is a must and make sure that they are fitted with a lens collar to attach to the photo chairs on the boat. A wide angle lens for landscapes, people and night photography is a must and then maybe consider a smaller telephoto (like a 70-200) for some different images during the drives – maybe even on a second body if you have one.
If you are borrowing our cameras we have you covered. We have the perfect cameras and lenses for you at each stop along the way.