Botswana: The Premier Wildlife Safari, Nov/Dec 2011

November 27 - December 06, 2011

Safari Leader: Grant Atkinson

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


Lion in the Grass, Okvango Delta, Botswana


About The Photographic Safari

In November 2011, Grant Atkinson will lead a private group of photographers into Botswana's prime wildlife areas, including the renowned Mombo Camp, which has been rated the #1 safari camp in Africa by Condé Nast Traveler. This safari and workshop combines some of the finest wildlife photography anywhere, Botswana's best safari camps, and photographic and digital workflow instruction. We have selected two specific camps in Botswana's Okavango Delta to create a private safari geared specifically toward serious photography and game viewing.


Safari Highlights

• We have private vehicles throughout the entire safari, with only 1 person per row of seating (the vehicles have 3 rows behind the driver, plus a seat next to the driver if you want to be lower down to the ground.)
• Safari is limited to 10 participants.
• A virtually unlimited amount of weight per person of up to 180 pounds. Bring as much gear as you can! Standard weight allowance is typically only 44 pounds by comparison, but we have secured extra seats on the inter-camp charters.
• Grant Atkinson, renowned as one of the most knowledgeable and passionate safari guides in Botswana and a superb photographer, will lead the group throughout.
• This safari offers superb game viewing and photographic opportunities in some of the best areas in all of Africa.
• We will have the option of photographing aerial shots from a helicopter (at extra cost) at Mombo Camp.
• 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/trackers in Botswana.


Legadema the Leopard, Okvango Delta, Botswana

The Schedule

27-28 November 2011; (1 night)
Peermont Mondior - Emperor's Palace, Johannesburg, South Africa

Stay close to the airport at the Peermont Mondior at Emperor's Palace. On your arrival at Johannesburg's OR Tambo International Airport, and after clearing customs and collecting your luggage, you will be met by an Eyes on Africa representative, who will assist you to the complimentary shuttle transfer to the Peermont Mondior.

The Peermont Mondior at Emperors Palace is an elegant and contemporary hotel. Conveniently located alongside the Convention Centre with secure parking and a covered walkway through to the Emporium retail concourse, the Mondior ensures ease of access to the myriad of facilities at Emperors Palace.

The Mondior offers 146 rooms and 4 suites. Each room has tea and coffee making facilities as well as a mini fridge. All rooms have a walk-in shower and separate bath, a 20-inch, flat screen remote-controlled television showing selected D-STV (satellite) channels, as well as wired (cable) high-speed internet connections. Full laundry and valet services are also available.

Oriana, the breakfast restaurant, overlooks the gardens and the Convention Centre. The contemporary cocktail bar, The Silver Moon offers a variety of cocktails as well as traditional bar service. There is a convenient business centre offering a variety of business services and there is high speed wireless internet access in all public areas.

The group will transfer back to O.R. Tambo airport the next morning, where we catch our Air Botswana flight to Maun, Botswana. From Maun, it is a short flight via Cessna Caravan to our first safari camp.

28 November - 02 December 2011; (4 Nights)
Chitabe Camp - Okavango Delta, Botswana

On arrival at Chitabe airstrip after a short 15-minute flight form Maun, we will be met and transferred to camp (a 45-minute game drive in open Land Rovers).

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 offers some of the most consistently superb game viewing in all of Botswana.

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 kilometers. 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.

02-06 December 2011; (4 Nights)
Mombo Camp - Moremi Wildlife Reserve, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Our flight on 02 December from Chitabe to Mombo is a short up and down plane ride, taking us over the beautiful waterways and islands of the Moremi Game Reserve. On arrival at Mombo airstrip, we will be met and transferred on a 10-minute drive to the camp.

Mombo Camp is situated on Mombo Island, an extension of the north-western end of Chief's Island, which effectively divides the Okavango Delta into eastern and western sections. The whole of Chief's Island and Mombo fall within the Moremi Game Reserve, and, in particular a zone set aside for "low intensity" safari use. Thus Mombo Camp and Little Mombo are remarkably exclusive and remote.

The sheer numbers and diversity of mammals found in this area all year round simply defy description, from herds of buffalo to the diminutive steenbok, a pretty dwarf antelope species. Elephant, impala, spotted hyaena, lion, leopard and cheetah are all found here and even small predators like serval and side-striped jackal are occasionally seen.

This abundance and variety owes much to the area's position on the ecotone between the ancient Kalahari sands and vegetation of Chief's Island, and the more modern, water-borne sediments and grasses of the Okavango Delta fan to the west. In addition, the annual inundation and drying of the floodplains to the west of Camp Mombo allow the large numbers of wildlife to utilise both habitats to the maximum. When the inundation of water arrives in the area between March and May each year, large mammals are able to move into the Chief's Island area, which contains rich resources of grass and Acacia dominated woodland. The wetlands are fringed by large hardwood trees, containing shade, cover, nesting areas, and food, for a wide variety of mammals and birds. By September and October the wetlands have started to recede leaving behind vast floodplains of short green grass when the rest of the large islands are at their driest. It is this seasonal food availability and quality that has resulted in the excitement and diversity that is the Mombo area.

Birdlife is prolific, with waterfowl like African Jacana, Pygmy-Geese, massive Goliath Heron and migrant waders in summer being particularly common.

Such geomorphological evolution and variety in vegetation has resulted in a richness and diversity that is legendary amongst the original tribesmen and hunters of the 19th and 20th centuries and the Moremi Game Reserve was amongst the first to be promulgated by tribal request in an effort to protect this legacy.

There are presently over 90 lions that are seen regularly at Mombo and it is also one of the best places to see leopards. One such leopard seen almost daily at Mombo, a female known as "Legadima", is documented in the National Geographic film "Eye of the Leopard" by Dereck and Beverly Joubert.

06 December 2011

Safari Ends

Sefofane air charter back to Maun after the morning safari activity for our scheduled Air Botswana flight back to Johannesburg (scheduled arrival time is 4:40pm). International flights may be scheduled to depart that evening (if feasible) to home destinations or an additional night hotel stay can be arranged for you upon request (recommended). See note below regarding travel extensions.


NOTE:
Customized extensions to this safari, including Johannesburg, Cape Town, Victoria Falls and other destinations may be arranged through Eyes on Africa as desired. Ask us for further information.

The Cost
The cost of this all-inclusive safari is $13,800 per person (inclusive of round-trip 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. 

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). If we are unable to match a solo guest with another guest of the same gender, then the single supplement will be charged.

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.

 


Elephant in the Water, Okvango Delta, Botswana

 

What's Included?

• Accommodation on a shared basis
• Round-trip airfare on Air Botswana between Johannesburg, South Africa and Maun, Botswana
• Air charters between safari camps in Botswana
• 1 x Additional luggage seat on Sefofane flights / air charters between the safari camps
• 3 x Private vehicles at all camps
• 1 x Private guide / naturalist / photographer (Grant Atkinson) plus 2x specialist guides at each camp.
• All safari activities
• Services of the lodge guides & staff
• Relevant park fees
• All meals and drinks while in Botswana (excluding premium brands)
• Daily laundry (except in Johannesburg)
• The current Tourism Levies and all relevant Value Added Tax or Government Sales Taxes

 

What's Not Included?

• International airfare and/or other transportation between your home and Johannesburg
• Visas
• Travel Insurance
• Personal purchases (including curios, spirit liquors, telephone calls etc.)
• Gratuities
• Optional extra activities (helicopter flights, etc.)
• Pre- and post- safari tours
• Meals or accommodation before or after the safari (except as noted in the detailed itinerary)

 

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.