Botswana: The Premier Wildlife Safari, July 2011

July 12-21, 2011

Safari Leader: Andy Biggs

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 July 2011, Andy Biggs 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 specific camps in Botswana's Okavango Delta and Linyanti Wildlife Reserve 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 13 participants (including 3 "companion" slots priced at a 50% discount for a guest who is willing to share a row on game drives with their full-paying traveling companion. This offer is limited to 3 slots only).
• 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, undoubtedly one of the most knowledgeable and passionate safari guides in Botswana, will accompany our group throughout.

 

• 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 (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 in Botswana.

Legadema the Leopard, Okvango Delta, Botswana

The Schedule

12-13 July 2011; (1 night)
Peermont Mondior - Emperor's Palace, Johannesburg, South Africa

 

Stay near the airport at the Peermont Mondior. On your arrival in Johannesburg, you will be met by our local representative, who will assist you across the terminal and to check in at the hotel. Dinner will be at a nearby restaurant with the rest of the group and is also included.

Emperors Palace is a sensational hotel, casino and convention resort that combines timeless classical elegance and sheer excitement, conveniently situated alongside Johannesburg International Airport. This 80-key, three-star select-services Metcourt Laurel hotel offers you cozy, comfortable and affordable accommodation and delightful service. All Metcourt guests enjoy breakfast at the charming Primavera Restaurant and access to all Emperors Palace’s magnificent variety of facilities.

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.


13-17 July 2011; (4 Nights)
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.

Savuti Camp is a small and intimate camp in an isolated area, far from any other people. Accommodation at Savuti is in 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. All of the new tented rooms have indoor showers and loos and the tents all provide views of the now-flowing Savuti channel waters. One of the seven tents is a family room, configured using two tents side-by-side, each with its own separate en-suite facilities. Complimentary laundry services are provided.

In 2008 the Savute Channel once more became a deep, clear waterway harboring hippo and aquatic life with myriad varieties of water birds. Wildlife, from plains game to a plethora of predators, has had to adapt to a new source of water and all the opportunities and menaces it has brought with it. For different species the Channel has become a place of refuge, an obstacle, an unrivalled food source, a navigational aid, a larder, a playground, and a graveyard. It is impossible to say yet whether the waters will persist or begin to recede in earnest as much of this will depend on the next summer rains - but while it lasts, at Savuti there are front-row seats for each drama that is played out.

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.

We have sole use of this camp throughout our stay, including all the safari vehicles, professional guides and camp staff.

 

17-21 July 2011; (4 Nights)
Mombo Camp, Moremi Wildlife Reserve, Botswana

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.

 

21 July 2011

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 $16,980 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.

We also offer a 50% discount to a guest who is willing to share a row on game drives with their full-paying traveling companion. This offer is limited to 3 slots only (only 1 double person row per vehicle).

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.


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 Professional photographer leading the trip (Andy Biggs)
• 1 x additional photographer co-leading the trip (James Weis)
• 1 x Private guide / naturalist (Grant Atkinson)
• 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.