2017 Botswana Photo Safari Wrap

This years's luxury photo Safari to Botswana was enjoyed by our experienced photographers and beginners alike. We all came away with memories for a lifetime of  wonderful places, people and of course wildlife like nothing on Earth. 

Throughout our trip we experienced everything from Luxury Colonial Hotels, savannah game drives, canoe photo safaris, helicopter rides, houseboats and of course photo workshops and sundowners.

From a photography point of view we tailored this trip to capture the best of Botswana we could fit into our 10 day safari. Overall we had four suburb destinations in Botswana.


Victoria Falls

Our trip started in Victoria Falls where we stayed in the amazing Victoria Falls Hotel.

Waking up we enjoyed a breakfast fit for Royalty looking over the plums of steam rising from the falls below the manicured grounds. Elephants grazed outside the garden fence and warthogs ambled across the lawn while we were transported back to Imperial Africa, surrounded by peaceful opulence.

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A helicopter flight over the falls was simply magical and a guided walk through the steaming valley around the falls gave us our first photo opportunities. Having the two viewpoints from within and above gave a wonderful perspective. Our time in Victoria Falls was unanimously hailed a highlight of the trip. The luxury of the Hotel and the grandeur of the falls was anything but the tourist attraction one might imagine before visiting.

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 The Mystical view from the gardens of the Hotel.

The Mystical view from the gardens of the Hotel.

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 The friendly groundsmen at Vic Fall Hotel Keeping everyone safe at night. The also spotted some Elephants for us outside the fence.

The friendly groundsmen at Vic Fall Hotel Keeping everyone safe at night. The also spotted some Elephants for us outside the fence.

 Alistair luxuriating before his helicopter flight over the falls

Alistair luxuriating before his helicopter flight over the falls

 Stepping back a hundred years or so, friendly hotel staff great us complete with pith helmet!

Stepping back a hundred years or so, friendly hotel staff great us complete with pith helmet!

 The Huge Grounds of Vic Falls Hotel

The Huge Grounds of Vic Falls Hotel

 Enjoying an amazing breakfast in rattan chairs in the early morning sun.

Enjoying an amazing breakfast in rattan chairs in the early morning sun.


Chobe River

Next stop Chobe River. We'd constructed this itinerary with Photography in mind and this was to be the best appointed setup you could ever imagine. 

Our accomodation was a house-boat exclusive to our group with wonderful staff to attend to our needs and local guides to ferry us around the river on our customised photography boat complete with gimbals for the larger cameras.

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The Safari boats allowed us to get up close and personal with the wildlife, in particular the elephants that grazed peacefully on the flood grass whilst wading through the shallows.

At times we stopped clicking and sat in complete silence with only the sounds of the elephants munching a few meters in front of us.  Late afternoon sun gave us some amazing photo opportunities of these wonderful creatures. The entire group seemed vey peaceful as we drifted back to our houseboat and enjoyed sundowners on the upper deck. Having our own piece of water snuggled into a tributary surrounded by water, the sunset lingered on for ever and I think everyone appreciated how lucky we were. 

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Savuti

The wildlife on the Chobe river was wonderful but now it was time to change things up a bit and after three peaceful days on our houseboat we now headed to Savuti in Northern Botswana.

This style of safari is what's know as a mobile tented safari. We were immersed in the wild, with the sounds of Lions at night adding authenticity to the experience. This was no camping trip though. We were under canvas yes, but with a camp staff of six cooking delicious dinners for us after our daily game drive and a roaring fire every night we were more than content.

Our choice of local guides in Steve and Scotty ensured us the best opportunity to photograph all sort of game and find and track lions and cheetahs long before anyone else in the part had a clue.

Our Land Cruisers were setup with custom bean bags on which to rest cameras and the combined photographic knowledge ensured everyone took some wonderful shots.

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Okavango Delta

The last leg of our Botswana trip was the famous Okavango Delta.

An area the size of a small country floods with water from rains in further North. The water is around a meter deep in most places. This creates a patchwork of oasis in an otherwise desert landscape. It's a beautiful unique landscape and a wonderful spot to view game.

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We were in wonderful luxury again yet it was also totally wild. Imagine your head nuzzling down into a soft feather pillow in bed after an exciting day of photographing wildlife as a thousand reed frogs tinkering in the rushes outside like little aqua pixies playing on tiny milk bottles.  You awake to a friendly pre dawn 'good morning!' as fresh coffee arrives on your verandah to prime you for your morning game drive.

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Photographically we were blessed with some unique wildlife sightings including wild dogs and a leopard with an impala kill up a tree.  

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We also witnessed a mass feeding event with a hundred or so pelicans and storks rounding up fish one afternoon followed by a wonderful photo opportunity of a Male and Female Lion frolicking in scrub. Once were done with the Lions we stopped on a salt pan to enjoy sun downers as the sky turned pink and orange in a classic African sunset.

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In the following days we were incredibly lucky to see African wild dogs, although it took a long drive into a neighbouring concession and a lot of searching until we discovered their den.

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We photographed everything from reed frogs to Elephants but it was the gracious staff and serene surroundings that stay complimented the whole experience.

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Everyone returned home with wonderful images, and photography skills on a new level. We had travellers at various levels on their photography path and without doubt everyone exceeded their expectations and are eager to use their new found photography skills whilst savouring Botswana in their hearts forever.

Alistair MacDougall