Secluded Botswana Photo Safari
13 days with Natural Habitat Adventures Rating:
Day 1: Livingstone, Zambia—Zambezi River Cruise
Our Botswana photo safari begins just over the border in Livingstone, Zambia, where you're met on arrival and transferred to Toka Leya to spend the night. This luxury camp sits in a prime location overlooking the mighty Zambezi River upriver from Victoria Falls, surrounded by Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park’s name means “The Smoke that Thunders,” and it’s an apt moniker, as we see mist clouds rising off the falls from miles away. Great photo opportunities are on offer right away during a classic sunset cruise, as we look for hippos and crocodiles on the riverbanks. Afterward, join our Expedition Leader for a welcome dinner.
Day 2: Victoria Falls / Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park—Rhino Viewing / Village Visit
Start the day with a guided walking tour of Victoria Falls, the world’s most astounding cataract. The profuse spray has created a rain forest on the gorge rim, and a network of walkways offers varying vantage points over the falls, which span more than a mile across. Then, it’s off for Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park for a wildlife drive offering a sampler of the species we're likely to see on safari, plus our best chance to photograph a white rhinoceros. Accompanied by a local guide and park rangers tasked with guarding the park's rhinos around the clock, we'll get out of the vehicle frequently for more intimate encounters, learning how to read signs of the rhinos' presence and follow their movements. With no predators in the park, we can also walk safely in search of zebra, giraffe, warthog, various antelope species, and other smaller mammals and birds. Elephants regularly cross the river, too, and we frequently get great photos of them wandering throughout the park. Later this afternoon we’ll visit a nearby village to learn about traditions and daily life of the local people.
Days 3–5: Chobe National Park, Botswana / Linyanti Private Reserve
Traveling by road and ferry, we cross the Chobe River into Botswana’s Chobe National Park, famed for its vast elephant herds—a population that exceeds 70,000. On a private boat cruise down the river and its myriad channels, we sometimes see several hundred elephants in a single day, with excellent chances for close-up photos. Waterbirds abound, including herons and storks, and hippos and crocodiles are on display along the muddy banks. Keep an eye out for egrets perched on the backs of elephants cooling off in the water—they make entertaining subjects.
This afternoon, fly to the private Linyanti Wildlife Reserve, some of Africa's most dramatic big-game country. Its tree-dotted plains are home to lion, leopard, spotted hyena and African wild dog, as well as enormous elephant herds. We'll expect to encounter wildlife in amazing proximity along the Linyanti River and surrounding environs. Spend time capturing thrilling close-ups in a newly built hide that faces the Linyanti Channel, elevating us in exciting proximity to elephants, hippos and numerous birds. In the evenings, relax at our secluded camp, where well-appointed walk-in tents evoke an earlier romantic era of safari travel. Through the thorny acacia branches we see more stars than we ever dreamed of, scattered across an impossibly black sky.
Days 6–8: Linyanti / Okavango Delta—Exploring the Flooded Marsh
After a final wildlife drive in the Linyanti wilderness, transfer by light aircraft to the Okavango Delta, Earth’s largest inland water system. The delta’s headwaters lie in the western highlands of Angola and join with other rivers in Namibia and Botswana to meet the Kalahari Desert, where a green oasis sprawls amid the sands and dry savanna. With its vast network of waterways and wetlands, the Okavango is home to a profuse collection of wildlife and lush vegetation.
Jacana Camp is a dream base for wildlife photographers. Located in the delta’s watery heart, it's surrounded by a maze of canals and lagoons that sustain a profusion of wildlife. We explore the constantly shifting marsh by mokoro, the traditional poled dugout canoe of the delta, offering a chance to photograph wildlife at eye level in complete quiet. These wetlands and islands are home to many rare birds, and we may see wattled crane, Pel’s fishing owl, jacana, rails, crakes and moorhen. Following the reed-fringed channels, we may also capture shots of water-adapted antelope such as red lechwe browsing in the grasses. Depending on water levels and wildlife movements, we'll hope to do a guided walk during our time at Jacana, offering an intimate perspective on the small wonders that also surround us. (Please note that water levels and activities may vary based on actual amounts of anticipated annual rainfall).
Days 9–11: Southeast Okavango—Santawani Private Concession
This morning we fly by light aircraft to Gomoti Tented Camp in the heart of the Santawani Concession, a private reserve encompassing nearly 15,000 acres in the southeast corner of the Okavango Delta. Our aerial transfer offers exhilarating views of the landscape below. While some areas of the delta are permanently flooded, other habitats create a mosaic of varied landscapes, including drier regions like the area that surrounds our camp. A mix of dense riverine woodland, open savanna and acacia scrub provide ample food for a large array of browsers and grazing species, as well as predators including cheetah, leopard, lion and rare wild dog.
The Gomoti River is a year-round lifeline for animals, while inland waterholes also sustain them during the dry season. The diverse range of habitats makes the Gomoti region ideal for all-day photography excursions, including traditional 4x4 wildlife drives, picnic lunches and night drives in search of nocturnal species. During our stay in Santawani, we're joined by a local researcher to learn about studies on the wide range of predators in the area, including research projects on wild dog, cheetah and leopard. A special highlight is a doors-off helicopter flight over the Gomoti River and Okavango Delta, with a chance to get aerial photos of the richest wildlife enclaves in all of Africa.
Day 12: Maun / Depart
Our Botswana photo safari comes to a close when we depart by air for Maun, where we connect with homeward flights or continue with onward extensions.
All This Included
In the wilds of Botswana, you'll find the wonders that drew adventurers to the African continent over a century ago. Vast elephant herds still roam the acacia-studded savanna. Hippos and crocodiles crowd the Chobe River's marshy channels. Antelope, giraffe, buffalo and zebra thrive in the Okavango Delta wetlands and at watering holes that sustain life on the dry plains. Lions laze beneath mopane trees while leopards sprawl in branches above, icons of genuine wilderness that is vanishing all too quickly. Intimate tented safari camps are reminiscent of a nostalgic era in the African bush, yet replete with modern-day luxuries that ensure your comfort even in some of the planet's most remote wild places. If you're searching for the classic romance of Africa, it's still here in secluded Botswana—and it's ripe to exceed every wildlife photographer's wildest dreams!
Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park: Toka Leya
Linyanti Private Reserve: Linyanti Tented Camp
Okavango Delta: Jacana Camp
Santawani Concession: Gomoti Tented Camp
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Terms and Conditions
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* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.