Botswana: The Premier Wildlife Safari, July 2009

July 1-10, 2009

Safari Leader: Dana Allen

Please see our Safaris and Workshops section for more workshop and safari dates.

Elephant herd from above, Okvango Delta, Botswana

About The Photographic Safari

In June 2009, Dana Allen will be leading a small and very private group to Botswana, Africa. The goal of this safari is to photograph the breathtaking wildlife and landscapes of Botswana in a remote setting. We will stay in 3 different camps, Little Vumbura Camp, Chitabe Camp and Savuti Camp. There is an optional extension to Mombo Camp if you wish to extend your safari.

Safari Highlights

* We will have private vehicles during the entire safari, with only 1 person per row of seating.

* A virtually unlimited amount of weight per person. Bring as much gear as you can, but please keep it within reason! Standard weight allowance is typically only 44 pounds by comparison on a standard, non-photographic trip.

* This safari offers superb game viewing and photographic opportunities in some of the best areas in Southern Africa.

* We will have the option of photographing aerial shots from a helicopter (additional cost).

* This itinerary focuses on a real wildlife experience from the surroundings of your premier accommodations.

* The reserves you will visit offer an insight to the fantastic wildlife in Botswana.

* Game viewing is done in open 4x4 vehicles and you will be led by some of the leading guides in Botswana.

Giraffe herd from above, Okvango Delta, Botswana

The Schedule

July 1-4 LITTLE VUMBURA CAMP - Okavango Delta, Botswana

Little Vumbura is situated about 25 km's north of Chief's Island in the neighboring northern private reserve of nearly 130,000 acres, within Botswana's Okavango Delta. Vumbura offers perhaps the best combination of water and land activities anywhere in the Delta. The area also boasts a wonderful variety of habitats and a great diversity of wildlife, including large numbers of Sable Antelope (rarely seen elsewhere in Botswana) and offers excellent fishing.

Little Vumbura accommodates ten guests on a wonderful private island, typically reachable only by boat. Little Vumbura has five tents under an enormous canopy of ancient Okavango forest. Each tent is large and roomy and has en suite facilities, as well as an outside shower for those who want to be even closer to nature. The dining room and pub are under canvas and have been built in and around the existing trees. There is a pool for relaxing by in the quiet of the day. One of the camp's attractions is the outdoor dining area. Wooden decks have been built on the floodplains and dinners under the stars are a wonderful experience.

The main activity at both camps is game viewing in wonderful and varied countryside. Open 4x4 Land Rovers allow close proximity to animals in the savannah and forested areas. Lion, Leopard, Wild Dog, Elephant, Cheetah and Buffalo along with all the plains animals make Vumbura an excellent all-round wildlife experience in a remote and private part of the Okavango. Birding too is great with large varieties and quantities. Walks, mekoro’s and boating give Vumbura's guests the opportunity to enjoy Africa from a different perspective.

July 4-7 SAVUTI CAMP - Linyanti Reserve, Botswana

Savuti Camp is situated within the private Linyanti Wildlife Reserve along the Savuti Channel, a legendary wildlife region that is best known for its large numbers of predators - especially Lions and Hyenas.

The camp is small and intimate, with seven large comfortable walk in tents with en-suite facilities. Each tent is raised off the ground on platforms and has its own bathroom with a shower, hand basin and flush toilet. There is a separate dining room and pub under reed and thatch, also on raised platforms, as well as a plunge pool.In front of camp is a small water hole which utilizes a solar powered pump to replenish the water. The pan is especially popular with elephants. Savuti has constructed a "woodpile hide" directly adjacent to the water hole which a fabulous for viewing and photographing the animals that come to visit. The hide is made with huge and incredibly heavy leadwood trees that are even too heavy for elephants to budge, so it is quite safe inside the hide. Hides at other waterhole's are also a special feature.

Game concentrations here are high. All of the plains game are prevalent, as well as good concentrations of Roan, Sable and Giraffe. All the predators also occur in the area - Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, Wild Dog and Hyena. We have already identified 40 different Lion along the Savuti channel around the camp. The Chobe/Linyanti area is renowned for its dense Elephant population.

July 7-10 CHITABE CAMP - Okavango Delta, Botswana

Chitabe Camp is located in a 28,000-hectare photographic reserve built on one of the most beautiful islands in the Okavango Delta. The area is made up of a superb variety of habitats, which include waterways and marshlands, dry acacia and mopane woodland, riverine areas, open grasslands and seasonally flooded plains.

Chitabe offers guests game drives in open 4x4 vehicles during the day and at night accompanied by an experienced guide, as well as nature walks. Chitabe is strictly a game viewing camp - no water activities are offered here.

Game viewing is excellent here, and includes Buffalo, Elephant, Lion, Leopard, Reedbuck, Lechwe, Impala, Zebra and Hippo. Wild Dogs are among the major attractions of this area and a long-standing program to study the Wild Dogs is based nearby (read more on the Wild Dogs below). Night drives can be very rewarding with good sightings of the rarer nocturnal animals such as Pangolin, Civet, Serval, Genet, Porcupine and Aardwolf. Guests will also likely see Zebra, Reedbuck, Red Lechwe, Impala and all the plains game.

Chitabe has aided in the support of the Botswana Wild Dog Research Project, which was established by Dr Tico McNutt in 1989. The Wild Dog Project has a study area of about 3000 square kilometres. About 160 wild dogs in ten to twelve packs inhabit this region, and Chitabe lies within this study area. Dr. "Tico" McNutt and the wild dogs featured in the May 1999 edition of National Geographic Magazine.

July 10-13 MOMBO CAMP (optional extension) - Okavango Delta, Botswana

We are making reservations at the premier camp of Mombo for those who wish to extend their safari for a few more nights. This extension is optional, and will have a premium cost associated. Cost will vary depending on the number of participants.

Hidden from the world within Botswana's Okavango Delta and situated just off the north-western tip of Chiefs Island is the secret paradise of Mombo. The "new" Mombo Camp (opened in 2000) is situated deep within the Moremi Game Reserve on a scenic island about 800 metres from the "old" Mombo camp. Large concentrations of wildlife occur right in front of the new camp and can be viewed all day from the main deck or from the privacy of your luxury room. It is quite possible to see up to twelve different mammal species from the comfort of your veranda! Giant umbrella thorns and Ilala palms dot the expansive plains to create a magnificent savannah landscape alongside the marshes and floodplains of the Okavango Delta.

As a year-round, exclusive wildlife destination (especially for predators), Mombo has a record unequalled in Africa. This area provides one of the highest quality wildlife viewing opportunities on earth. Elephant, Buffalo, Lion, Leopard, Cheetah and all the major predators are common in the region. Mombo has become renowned for its high concentration of predators including the Wild Dog. The excellent game at Mombo has made this area Botswana's top wildlife documentary location. National Geographic, the BBC and many others have filmed here. Birdlife is prolific, with waterfowl and waders being particularly common.

Lion in the Grass

The Cost

The cost of this all-inclusive trip is U.S. $13,990 per person (but not inclusive of airfare to Maun, Botswana.). The same rate applies for each participant regardless of whether they are doing photography and participating in the workshop, or not. This fee includes all in-country ground and air transportation as well as hotel accommodation (double occupancy) and all meals. The non refundable deposit for this trip 30% of the trip total, which will depend on whether you opt for the Mombo extension. Due to the limited number of spaces available, if a solo guest is willing to share and we can match with another guest of the same gender, we will do so. If a solo guest is unwilling to share, then a single supplement will be charged (up to, but not exceeding the full sharing cost). As long as a guest is willing to share, no single supplement will be charged, even if no match is available.

If you would like to have an all inclusive safari, which includes airfare and lodging from Johannesburg, the price will be $14,975. This will include an evening on June 30 at the Metcourt Laurel, and round trip airfare on Air Botswana departing on the morning of July 1 to Maun, Botswana. The return flight will be on July 10, unless you stay for the additional Mombo extension, which will then be on July 13.

Please note: We will attempt to adhere to this itinerary as much as possible. However, certain conditions (political, climatic, environmental, cultural, or wildlife migrations) may necessitate changes in the itinerary. We reserves the right to alter any itinerary at any time, if necessary. We will attempt to notify participants of changes as far in advance as possible. Costs incurred by such changes will be the responsibility of the participant.

What's Included?

 

- Accommodation on a shared basis

- 1x Private guide

- 3x Private vehicles at Wilderness Safaris camps

- 1x Additional luggage seat of Sefofane flights / air transfers

- All safari activities and transfers

- Services of the lodge guides & staff

- Relevant park fees

- All meals and drinks while in Botswana (excluding premium brands)

- Daily laundry (except in Johannesburg)

- Air charters between safari camps in Botswana

- The current Tourism Levies and all relevant Value Added Tax or Government Sales Tax

What is Not Included?

- International airfare and/or other transportation between your home and Johannesburg

- Visas

- Travel Insurance

- Optional helicopter fees

- Personal purchases (including curios, spirit liquors, telephone calls etc.)

- Gratuities

- Optional extra activities (helicopter flights, etc.)

- Pre- and post- safari tours and meals or accommodation before or after the safari

What Do I Do Next?

Our groups are small, so space is limited. If this exciting trip has your name on it; if you're excited by the thought of becoming a member of this trip, then now is the time to register. Remember, there will be limited space available for this workshop. When they're spoken for, that's it. If you have any questions before registering, send us an e-mail with any inquiries to info@andybiggs.com.