Luxury Photo Safari 2020
Photograph Africa in style and comfort on this true luxury photographic safari. All you need to bring is your camera and sense of adventure. Everything required has already been included, from tips to a scenic helicopter flight, all meals, drinks, and an enormous amount of activities. (International airfares into Johannesburg and out of Maun are the only items not yet included)
You will have the time of your life photographing Botswana with experienced wildlife photographer Alistair MacDougall and learn photographic techniques while exploring some of Africa’s most pristine wilderness areas, staying in the famous Victoria Falls Hotel, a luxurious houseboat with dedicated photographic tender boat and luxury tented camps.
The safari is limited to a maximum of 8 participants (plus the 2 guides), and is suitable for participants of all levels of photographic experience while also being a safari which a non-photographing spouse or travel partner will thoroughly enjoy.
As with all of PhotoOrganic safaris we will meet in Sydney (for those able to make it) for a casual dinner and Photography/African travel discussion with Alistair (Photographer) and Cuan (African Travel Expert) to put you in the mood for your experience of as lifetime.
2020 Itinerary example.
Below is an itinerary of what to expect on this luxury experience. This schedule is based on our current 2019 (fully booked) itinerary.
Camps and minor details are subject to change due to the nature of availabilities etc.. However below is an accurate guide as to our 2020 Botswana Photo Safari. Final details of 2020 will be available at the time of booking.
Day 1 Johannesburg
InterContinental O R Tambo
The InterContinental O.R. Tambo is less than 70m from the International Arrivals hall at O.R. Tambo International Airport. Accommodation features in each room include writing desk, complimentary WiFi, coffee machine, mini-bar, television with DSTV and DVD player, electronic safe, 24-room service, porter service and wakeup facility. Highlights of the hotel facilities include the Camelot Spa, an indoor heated swimming pool, and a uniquely African dining experience at Quills Restaurant.
Although usually only used for quick stopovers by most travellers, Joburg is an exciting and vibrant city, with some excellent hotels, fantastic shopping facilities, loads of historic significance, and a flourishing sporting culture. With the launch of the Gautrain in 2010, the Sandton district is now only 10 minutes from the airport, and this puts one in a position to easily access most of the city’s highlights.
Day 2 Johannesburg - Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
After breakfast you will be assisted to Terminal B to check in for your flight departing for Victoria Falls. You will be met at Victoria Falls Airport and transferred to Victoria Falls Hotel to spend 2 nights on a fully inclusive basis. This afternoon you will be taken on a guided tour of the spectacular waterfalls and the evening will be spent with a welcome dinner at this famous hotel.
Victoria Falls Guided Walking Tour of Waterfalls
It’s a truly awe-inspiring experience – the sight, the sound, the smell; the humbling feeling that here indeed is a masterpiece of nature. This tour is conducted in the morning and afternoon. You will be accompanied through the Rainforest by a qualified guide who will give a brief history of the Falls themselves as well as detailing the flora, fauna, bird & wildlife and other points of interest such as the “Big Tree” and the statue of David Livingstone. Guides are also happy to assist you with photographs whilst visiting this most spectacular of waterfalls. Raincoats are provided when needed.
Victoria Falls Hotel
The Edwardian-style 5 star hotel, built in 1904, redecorated and refurbished, now combines the charm of the old with the convenience of the new. The ambiance of the hotel is steeped in history with all suites decorated in the gracious Edwardian style of Zimbabwe’s colonial era. The hotel has seen reigning monarchs, presidents and, more recently, many famous Hollywood stars among its privileged occupants.
Day 3 - Victoria Falls
You will be collected this morning for a 25 minute helicopter ride over the spectacular Victoria Falls. The remainder of the day is available for activities of your choice before being collected this evening for a fun filled African themed dinner complete with drums and dancing at the Boma restaurant.
Helicopter flight (25 Minute Flight of Angels)
After take off the helicopter turns out towards the magnificent Victoria Falls, the pilot will fly left and right hand circuits over the Victoria Falls in both directions giving you the best viewing, photographic and filming opportunities. A trip up the Zambezi River and back over the Zambezi National Park completes your flight. The helicopters have specially designed ‘bubble shaped’ windows perfect for panoramic viewing and great photographic opportunities from all seats.
The Boma – Dinner and Drum Show
This evening includes a four-course dinner featuring local cuisine and performances by traditional singers, dancers and drummers. On arrival you will be dressed in a chitenge (sarong), before tucking into a shared starter platter, followed by soup from the campfire. There is also a good list of beverages available, including wine and beer. The main course buffet offers popular game meat dishes as well as vegetarian options and an extensive salad bar, as well as other local dishes! A wide selection of desserts is offered from the buffet. The finale of interactive drumming gives you the chance to discover your inner African rhythm!
Day 4 - Victoria Falls - Chobe National Park
After breakfast you will be transferred across the Botswana border to Kasane Immigration office on the Chobe River. There you exit Botswana to go aboard the Pangolin Voyager, which is based on the Namibia shore of the river. You will have a short boat transfer to Impalila Island and walk approximately 250m to the Namibian passport control to officially enter Namibia. You will then walk back to the river for a boat ride to board the safari boat, to spend 3 nights on a fully inclusive basis.
The Pangolin Voyager is a houseboat on the Chobe River and accommodates a maximum of 10 guests in 5 en suite cabins on the lower deck. The well-appointed cabins are tastefully decorated and are equipped with mosquito-proof windows, built-in cupboards, a safe, cooling fan and mosquito repellent. The lounge and dining areas on the middle deck can be opened on three sides and the top level is a viewing deck. An eight-seater photo boat with fully rotating chairs and camera mounts is moored alongside and is used for excursions.
Chobe National Park
With an enormous elephant population, as well as magnificent birdlife and a huge array of herbivores and aquatic animals, it is often hard to believe that Chobe National Park is for real. The game viewing starts from the moment you land at Kasane Airport, or drive across the border from Zambia or Zimbabwe, with warthogs foraging in the streets, buffalo being habitual visitors to the town, and hippos lazing around in the river. The Chobe River is the life support of thousands of animals, as well as the surrounding villages, especially during the dry winter months.
Day 05 & 06 - Chobe National Park
During your stay on the houseboat, you will have a dedicated guide and tender boat at your disposal to explore the Chobe River for photo opportunities or to go fishing. You may wish to also simply relax on the boat and view from its comfortable decks the amazing amount of wildlife making its way to, and across, the Chobe River.
Day 07 - Chobe National Park - Khwai
You will be returned by boat Kasane Immigration after exiting Namibia and transferred to Kasane Airport where you will be assisted on to a light aircraft flying on a circuit to the Khwai region of the Okavango Delta.
Camp guides will meet you upon landing at the airstrip and drive you to Pangolin Khwai Camp to spend 3 nights on a fully inclusive basis. This afternoon you will have a game drive which could continue in to the evening.
Pangolin Khwai Camp
Situated in the Khwai Private Reserve, Pangolin Kwhai camp provides seven spacious en suite tented rooms on raised wooden platforms and a deck with views across the grasslands. The communal areas of the camp are large enough to accommodate a full camp and also the needs of photo safari guests. There is a dedicated area with a long table for group editing sessions and presentations, along with conveniently located storage and charging points for camera gear. The vehicles have been modified with camera mounts built into the arm rests and operate with a maximum of four per vehicle.
The Khwai River forms a boundary between the Moremi Reserve and the Khwai Conservancy a community area that consists of the dry-land habitats of the lead-wood and camel-thorn woodlands and savannahs, the riverside and marshy back-waters of the Khwai, and the nearby lagoons and waterways of Xakanaxa. The Khwai region is truly one of Botswana's birding meccas, providing a prime habitat for the uncommon Rosy-throated Longclaw. Lion, leopard, serval and African wildcat are common in the region. Elephants are in abundance and buffalo use this area seasonally. Ungulates include red lechwe, tsesebe, blue wildebeest, giraffe, kudu, sable antelope, roan antelope and impala.
The very word "Okavango" evokes a sense of adventure and exploration, and this is exactly what the Okavango Delta is about. Often called the Okavango Swamps, this intricate maze of waterways and sandy islands is an explorer's dream, and the destination should be on the wishlist of anyone looking for a unique travel experience. The geology of the Delta is fascinating, with its creation being attributed to tectonic plate action from thousands of years ago causing the Kavango River to flow from Angola into the Kalahari Desert as opposed to the Atlantic Ocean.
Day 8 & 09 - Khwai
During your stay you will have both land and water based game viewing activities including a mekoro excursion. As a photo-centric camp there is a dedicated area set aside for the purposes of editing, as well as plug points for charging laptops and batteries, and a large screen on which to do presentations and workshops.
Day 10 Khwai ~ Kwando, Linyanti and Selinda
After a morning activity you will be flown in a light aircraft to the remote Linyanti region of Chobe National Park to spend 3 nights at DumaTau Camp on a fully inclusive basis. After settling in you will have a late afternoon game viewing activity.
DumaTau Camp, a 10 roomed luxury tented camp located in the private 125000 hectare Linyanti Wildlife Reserve, lies under a shady grove of mangosteen trees, raised off the ground to overlook a large hippo-filled lagoon. The tents are spacious, under thatch with canvas walls, en suite bathroom facilities and an outside shower. You can enjoy the night sounds of Africa from the comfort of your rooms, and shower under the stars! There is a dining room, pub, lounge and a special guest bathroom with a fantastic view.
Kwando, Linyanti and Selinda
Just when you thought that lodges could not get any more remote or wild in Botswana! In the far north of the country, bordering Namibia, you will find the Selinda Spillway, the Linyanti River and Marsh, and the Kwando River. The Spillway is the waterway which connects the Okavango Delta with the Kwando and Linyanti Rivers, which then flow on to become the Chobe River. The wilderness areas supported by these waters have been divided into private concessions, on which are scattered very few, very luxurious, lodges. These are wonderful, out of the way locations, with unspoilt scenery, and excellent wildlife.
Day 11 & 12 Kwando, Linyanti and Selinda
You will have two full days to experience the Linyanti and its wildlife on morning and afternoon and night game drives, and in boats (water level permitting). The camp is close to the source of the Savute Channel as well as the Linyanti waterways. Predator sightings of lion, cheetah and wild dog are good. Elephant viewing is amongst the best in Africa. Plains game viewing is good and night drives along the Savute Channel are superb.
Day 13 Day of Departure
A morning game viewing activity will be followed by a flight to Maun, where you will arrive in time to connect with the onward flight in your travel schedule (departure flight from Maun not included in quotation).