Botswana: The Premier Wildlife Safari, December 2012
About The Photographic Safari
In December 2012, Andy Biggs will lead a private group of photographers into Botswana's Okavango Delta, one of Africa's best wildlife areas. This safari and workshop combines some of the finest wildlife photography anywhere, two of Botswana's best safari camps, and photographic and digital workflow instruction. We have selected 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.)
• An increased luggage allowance so you can bring all your camera gear - up to 80 pounds per person allowance. Standard weight allowance is typically only 44 pounds by comparison.
• Exclusive and private use of both safari camps, ensuring freedom to make our own schedule and maximize time spent in the field.
• Knowledgeable and passionate safari guides in Botswana will drive us in open Land Rovers to help us get the images we are after.
• This safari offers superb game viewing and photographic opportunities in some of the best areas in Southern Africa.
• This itinerary focuses on a real wildlife experience from the surroundings of your premier accommodations.
• The areas visited offer an insight into the fantastic wildlife in Botswana.
Is This Safari For You?
Here are some key points to help you decide:
1. We welcome photographers of ALL levels. This safari will be conducive to learning from one another and include instruction that will suit everyone’s photographic needs. No question is off limits, no inquiry too basic.
2. We are BIG on photographing in the field. We spend most our time and effort on safari activity and making images. We do meet daily to review images and discuss technique, but this is not a “classroom-intensive” trip. Our "classroom sessions" are optional (although the review sessions are valuable and there is not a more beautiful classroom).
3. Non-photographer or videographer spouses / travel companions will love these safaris. We have specialist guides leading all safari activities and optional activities (boating, walks, etc.) are also available at any time.
2-3 December 2012; (1 night)
Peermont Mondior - Emperor's Palace, Johannesburg, South Africa
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.
03-07 December September 2012; (4 Nights)
Nxabega Tented Camp - Southwestern Okavango Delta, Botswana
On arrival at our airstrip after a short 20-minute flight form Maun, we will be met and transferred to Nxabega Camp.
Our group will again have the felxibility to set our own schedule while at Nxabega and every opportunity will be maximized in terms of photography and time spent on game drives.
Tucked under a canopy of massive ebony trees, Nxabega Okavango Tented Camp reveals the splendour and variety of the Okavango in all its glory. Sheltered by dense forest thickets, yet opening up onto wide, expansive views over lagoons and channels, the Camp showcases the best of what the Delta has to offer. Nine exclusive tented suites are strung out on either side of the camp's handsome thatched guest areas.
Raised on wooden platforms, the spacious tented suites let in the sights and sounds of the African bush. Escape the heat of the day with a dip in the pool or take in the sun on the broad viewing deck looking out over reeds and floodplains. Cowhide rugs on the floors and chocolate tones warm and gratify, while large spinning fans keep the heat at bay. A large ensuite shower with burnished teak floorboards refreshes and renews, while private wooden decks invite you to contemplate the water’s edge.
The nine East African-style safari tents are on raised wooden platforms with private decks overlooking a floodplain. All tents have an ensuite shower and w.c, and are elegantly furnished with wardrobes, luggage racks, chairs, dressing tables and bedside tables.
The Okavango Delta is home to a large number of species, including semi-aquatic species, such as the elegant red lechwe and shy sitatunga. Families of hippo hide in the deeper channels and lagoons, while the unique Delta environment supports many minute but beautiful species, including multicoloured frogs and incandescent dragonflies. The area supports the continent’s largest surviving concentration of elephant and buffalo, while roan and sable antelope roam the open woodlands. Nxabega means place of the giraffe and these elegant animals are abundant in the surrounding areas.
One of the most common antelope in the Okavango, the red lechwe is especially adapted for the swampy conditions it lives in. Its splayed, elongated hooves give it a sure footing, allowing it to inhabit the outskirts of the permanent swamps. The Okavango is also a stronghold for the endangered African wild dog, although sightings of this rare animal are relatively uncommon. Exhibiting a fascinating social structure, wild dog live in packs led by a dominant pair, with a strict social hierarchy. Although particularly nocturnal and difficult to spot, leopard live in the dense riverine thickets of the Delta.
With an incredible wealth of species, the Okavango is a haven for birding enthusiasts. One of its most sought after species is the huge but elusive Pel’s fishing owl, which roosts in the densest evergreen thickets. A quintessential African sound, the haunting call of the fish eagle can be heard echoing over the channels of the Okavango. The Delta also boasts the largest population of the endangered wattled crane, a large and beautiful species. The African jacana, with its extraordinarily long toes, skims along the top of floating vegetation, giving the impression that it is walking on water.
07-11 December 2012; (4 Nights)
Sandibe Safari Lodge - Southeastern Okavango Delta, Botswana
Our flight from Nxabega to Sandibeis a 20-minute plane ride, taking us over the beautiful southern side of the Okavango Delta and its border with the Moremi Game Reserve. On arrival at Sandibe airstrip, we will be met and transferred on a short drive to the camp.
Our group will have the exclusive use of the camp throughout our 4-day stay at Sandibe and we will set our own hours and schedule to allow us to take full advantage of photographic opportunities.
The eight intimate African-inspired cottages each have an ensuite bathroom, twin hand basin, separate w.c and outdoor shower and dressing area. The cottages are airy with all windows covered in gauze to maximise views of the forest. Each cottage has an elevated viewing deck which is perfect for intimate candlelit dinners.
The greens of the river bank peer into spacious guest cottages through large, airy screens. Earthy ochre tones bring the forest floor indoors, while tactile textures, from leather and silk to rough hewn wood, celebrate the natural beauty of the setting. Gaze out onto the banks of the Santantadibe River from under the canopy of your king size bed or spend a restful hour watching the quiet play of light on water from your private raised deck. At one with the forest, enjoy the warm luxury of the sun skipping across your skin in the large outdoor shower.
Sandibe is set in a private concession of 8,000 hectares (19,800 acres) on the southeastern border of the Moremi Wildlife Reserve. 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.
Sandibe offers guests game drives in open 4x4 vehicles during the day and at night accompanied by an experienced guide, as well as nature walks. Sandibe also offers mokoro (dugout canoe) excusions, allowing for photography of small creatures like painted reed frogs, water lilies and other aquatic life.
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. 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. Sandibe offers some of the most consistently superb game viewing in all of Botswana.
andBeyond (the safari company which owns Sandibe and Nxabega) is renowned for having some of the most highly trained, professional, passionate and knowledgeable guides and trackers on the continent. They have a passion for people and wildlife, ensuring unbeatable interpretive safari experiences. The guides at Sandibe impart an incomparable wealth of knowledge, personally researched and experienced, about local habitats, ecology, birds, trees, plants, small animals and insects. Many of their guides and trackers belong to the surrounding communities and can share cultural information with guests.
11 December 2012
Private 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 of this all-inclusive safari is $9,975 per person (inclusive of round-trip airfare from Johannesburg 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.
What's Included?• Accommodation on a shared basis
• Round-trip airfare on Air Botswana between Johannesburg, South Africa and Maun, Botswana
• Private round-trip air charters from Maun to safari camps and back to Maun
• Additional luggage allowance on the flights / air charters within Botswana (35kg allowance per person)
• Exclusive use of the entire camp at both camps
• 4 x Private vehicles (open 4x4's) at both camps
• 1 x Professional photographer leading the trip (Andy Biggs)
• 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
• Travel Insurance
• Personal purchases (including curios, spirit liquors, telephone calls etc.)
• 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 (maximum of 14 participants), 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 email@example.com.