In March 2019 Andy Biggs and PJ Hicks will lead a private group of photographers into Botswana's Okavango Delta and Makgadigadi Pans, some of Africa's best wildlife areas. This photo safari combines some of the finest wildlife photography anywhere, two of Botswana's best safari areas and hands-on photographic instruction. We have selected specific camps in Botswana's Okavango Delta and Makgadigadi Pans to create a private safari geared specifically toward serious photography and game viewing.
The Makgadigadi Pans is transformed during the months of December through March and one of the least-known mammal migrations occurs during this time. Makgadigadi becomes a destination for migration zebras, springbok, wildebeest, oryx and giraffe. Roughly 25,000 zebras migrate into the pans during the green season, which happens at the beginning of December, and concludes during the month of March when they exit the area when the grasses dry up. This location is less visited than the Okavango Delta and provides a very different photographic experience than other destinations in Botswana.
The safari continues on to the Okavango Delta, a Unesco World Heritage site and one of the most popular destinations for wildlife viewing and photography in all of Africa. It is certainly one of our most favorite destinations to guide trips to and one of our guest favorites.
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)
Knowledgeable and passionate safari guides in Botswana will drive and guide us in open vehicles 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 Africa.
This itinerary focuses on a real wildlife experience in very private game drive areas.
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.
March 1-4, 2019; (3 Nights)
Nxai Pan Camp - Northern Botswana
Today you will fly from the city of your choice (typically either Johannesburg or Capetown, with our assistance if you would like) and will be met in the Maun, Botswana airport by our local staff. You will then gather and take a short private plane flight to the Nxai Pan airstrip. After your arrival you will be transferred to camp, with your first game drive en route.
Our group will set our own hours and schedule to allow us to take full advantage of photographic opportunities. We are always up early and we stay out late and we take mid-day rests back at camp when the light is harsh. This allows us to download our photos and to gather in the dining room and work on post processing on our laptop computers.
Nxai Pan National Park lies east of the Okavango Detla and adjoins Makgadikgadi Pans National Park on its northern border. The Nxai Pans were once part of the great lake that covered central Botswana – which included The Okavango Delta, Makgadikgadi and Lake Ngami to name a few. Home to the famous “Baines’ Baobabs” which lies on the southern side of the park – The pan itself is a fossil lakebed about 40 sq km in size. The landscape is largely covered by grassland and dotted with clusters of umbrella acacia trees and mopane woodland in the north. During the rains from December to April – the pans become covered in grass which is a landscape very similar to the Kalahari. Nxai Pan is well known for its huge springbok population and once the rains have started, gemsbok, elephant and zebras migrate to the region. At this time zebra’s come in their thousands to drop their young at Nxai Pan. Extraordinarily large herds of giraffe’s can be seen with up to 30 in a group. Once the rains have started the bird life is also excellent.
These large herds of zebras, springbok, and wildebeest attract many predators – lion, cheetah, jackal and both spotted and the elusive brown hyena, as well as the endangered wild dog and the secretive leopard. There are large numbers of bat-eared fox and raptors that prey on the rodents and reptiles. At times, rhino have also been sighted. Also to be seen are the eland, greater kudu and red hartebeest.
March 4-8, 2019 (4 nights)
Kwara Camp - Okavango Delta, Botswana
Our flight from Nxai Pan to Kwara is a short plane ride, taking us over the beautiful Okavango Delta and its border with the Moremi Game Reserve. On arrival at Kwara airstrip, we will be met and transferred on a short drive to the camp.
Kwara Camp is located in the 175,000-hectare private Kwara Concession in the remote northern part of the Okavango Delta. Kwara shares a common boundary on the northern edge of the Moremi Game Reserve. The area is one of permanent Delta water, and this unspoiled pristine wilderness has a variety of habitats ranging from reed and papyrus-lined waterways to rolling grasslands and ancient forests. Kwara camp is situated in a forested island under tall trees overlooking a lagoon in the open flood plains of the 1.6 million-hectare Okavango Delta. You will discover why the Okavango Delta is considered one of the jewels of Africa and indeed the world. It is mysterious, calming, unpredictable and very wild.
The camp comprises 8 twin-bedded luxury safari style tents, accommodating a maximum of 16 guests. The tents are built on raised teak decks each with en-suite facilities. The intimate dining and lounge area is under thatch, built around a large shade tree overlooking the lagoon. Three meals per day are offered and all wines, alcoholic drinks, beverages and cool drinks are included. Kwara, like the other Kwando Safaris camps, has a small gift shop, lounge, dining room and small plunge pool. Complimentary laundry services are provided.
The Okavango Delta is home to a large number of species, including semi-aquatic animals, 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 multicolored frogs and incandescent dragonflies. The area supports the continent’s largest surviving concentration of elephant and buffalo, which roam the open woodlands.
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, which is a highly sought after photographic opportunity. 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.
March 8, 2019
Private air charter back to Maun after the morning safari activity for our scheduled flight back to either Johannesburg or Capetown. 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 Andy Biggs Photo Safaris as desired. Ask us for further information.
The cost of this all-inclusive safari is $8,990 per person. 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 of $1,900 will be charged (please contact us if you would like to have your own accommodation as we have a very limited number of single slots available).
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.
We are offering a 3-night pre-safari extension to Central Kalahari Game Reserve prior to the beginning of our group trip. Tau Pan Camp is situated inside the world famous Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) right on the edge of the beautiful Tau Pan.
“Kalahari” is derived from the Tswana word Kgala meaning “great thirst” – and it has vast areas covered by red sand without any permanent water. The Kalahari Desert is the largest sand basin in the world stretching 2,500kms from the northern regions of South Africa through to Namibia/Angola and ending in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) The Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) is the largest game reserve in the world (52,800 sq km’s) and for many years was closed to the public, hence it is know for being one of Africa’s last true wild areas.
The term ‘desert,’ is however not quite accurate when referring to the Kalahari, the region receives an annual rainfall of 60mm-175mm, too high to be classified as a true desert. The Kalahari’s vegetation consists mainly of grasses and acacias, as well as stunted thorn and scrub bush. There are over 400 identified plant species present. Annual rain season is between December and March when summer temperatures can get quite high. About 1,100 meters above sea level – the largely unchanging flat terrain is occasionally interrupted with gentle valleys, sand dunes and a large number of pans, which vary in size and complexity. These pans are invaluable to the wildlife as they supply them with nutrients from the salts and the grasses of the pans.
Famous for being where the waters of the Okavango come to rest – the Kalahari has been written about by several explorers, notably David Livingstone and more recently in “Cry of the Kalahari” by Mark and Delia Owens, during their time studying of the Brown Hyena.
The cost of this all-inclusive safari extension to the Central Kalahari is $2,600 per person. If you would like your own room there will be a single supplement fee. Please inquire for specifics.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Safari Leader: Andy Biggs
Dates: March 1-8, 2019
Cost: $8,990. Single supplement of $1,900
Accommodation on a shared basis
Private round-trip air charters from Maun to safari camps and back to Maun
Additional luggage allowance on the flights / air charters within Botswana
2 x Professional photographers leading the trip (Andy Biggs and PJ Hicks)
All safari activities
Services of the lodge guides & staff
Relevant park fees
All meals and drinks while in Botswana (excluding premium brands)
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 Maun, Botswana (we can assist with these)
International airfare from Capetown or Johannesburg to Maun, Botswana
Visas (if applicable)
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)