Botswana - Chitabe / Mombo Photo Safari - April 2014
About The Photographic Safari
In April 2014, Grant Atkinson, a very experienced guide and photographer / instructor, 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 work flow instruction. We have selected specific camps in Botswana's Okavango Delta to create a private safari geared specifically toward serious photography and game viewing.
* 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.
* 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 most remote and best areas for photography in Africa.
* This itinerary focuses on a real wildlife experience from the surroundings of your premier accommodations.
* Game viewing is done in open 4x4 vehicles and you will be led by the the best guides 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-photographers and travel companions will love these safaris. We have specialist guides leading all safari activities and optional activities (boating, walks, etc).
23-24 April D'Oreale Grand Hotel - Johannesburg, South Africa
Stay close to the airport at the D'oreale Grande 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 our representative, who will transfer you by road to the D'oreale Grande.
The D'oreale Grande at Emperors Palace is a five-star hotel, luxuriously adorned with hand painted murals and frescos, marble floors, plush carpets, and intricate mosaics. The hotel was recently accepted as a member of Great Hotels of the World – Luxury Collection. The hotel's comfort levels are enhanced by superior levels of service and guest relations.
All rooms incorporate air-conditioning, multi-channel satellite TV, complimentary wireless internet access (Wi-Fi) and the convenience of 24-hour room services. Guests can dine at the elegant conservatory-styled Aurelia's restaurant, meet or relax in private conclaves of the reception area, absorb the gentle strains of the piano in the Aurelia's Lounge and Cocktail Bar, or sip on a cocktail while watching the African sunset from a lounge or cocktail bar in the manicured and terraced gardens of the hotel.
The group will transfer back to OR Tambo airport the next morning, where we catch ourflight to Maun, Botswana.
24-29 April 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).
Our group will have the exclusive use of the camp throughout our 4-day stay at Chitabe and we will set our own hours and schedule to allow us to take full advantage of photographic opportunities.
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. 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.
29 April - 02 May MOMBO CAMP - Okavango Delta, Botswana
Our flight from Chitabe to Mombo is a 25-minute plane ride, taking us to the northern tip of Chief's Island in 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 hyena, 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 utilize 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 60 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.
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 $14,800 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 a room 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).
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.
• 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)
• Private vehicles (open 4x4's) at both camps
• Professional photographer leading the trip (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 is 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 group will be small for this safari (limited to 7 travelers), 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.