9 Days Cruise amd Photography Botswana Safari

  • Selinda Concession - Selinda Game Reserve - Chobe River area

Overview

Photography Safari in Botswana

Join a group of photographers to explore two of Botswana’s premier wildlife areas Selinda and Chobe River. This safari includes five days in the Selinda Concession and three days exploring the Chobe River on a luxury houseboat. The small group size makes for a relaxed experience and translates into lots of quality time with the leaders. It also means there will be an added opportunity to benefit from Grant and Helena Atkinson's wealth of experience in this region.

Highlights

  • Safari cruise on Chobe River
  • Game drive along the Selinda Spillway
  • 4-day guided safari at Selinda Game Reserve
  • Professional photographers and guides
  • Daily meals and local drinks
  • 8 nights' accommodation
  • Private air charters

Group sizes

The maximum participants in the group is 6.

  • 9 activity days
  • English
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Selinda Camp

Selinda Camp is a small, wonderful, luxury tented safari camp that is situated on the banks of the eastern Selinda Spillway. The shaded camp is raised a meter or so off the ground and offers extraordinary views over the floodplains, waterways, and wide open savannas which are only broken by distinctive and attractive palm islands. It is these views that are one of Selinda’s most compelling features. Guests sit on their verandas while enjoying their meals and gaze over the floodplains of Africa enjoying the passing wildlife as it has done for millennia. There is hardly a moment which goes by without animals in front of the camp.

Selinda Camp is located in the 320,000 acre Selinda Game Reserve, one of Botswana’s prime wildlife viewing locations and most beautiful settings. The camp has nine guest tents under thatch, accommodating a maximum of 18 guests. Each tent has comfortable three-quarter sized beds and fine linen. Luxurious mosquito nets add to the romantic atmosphere of the tents and ceiling fans and roof vents cool your living space when needed.

The interiors have writing desks and lounge furniture collected from around the world for those that want to write or relax between drives and walks. There are spacious, en-suite bathrooms with full sized stone baths and antique showers. Dual vanity basins complement the sense of luxury and sliding doors allow for privacy or create an open-air bathroom feel as well. Hot and cold water is in ample supply.

Selinda Explorers Camp

Selinda Explorers Camp is located on a remote stretch of the Selinda Spillway, close to the heart of the pristine 320,000-acre private Selinda Reserve. The camp accommodates a maximum of 8 guests sharing in 4 tents plus an additional guide’s tent as required. Under a canopy of towering jackalberry and mangosteen trees, the four custom-designed tents embody the philosophy of exploration, sitting squarely on the earth, connecting guests directly with the pulse of the wild.

They’re spacious and stay true to the classic age of safari when the journey was more important than the destination. Hot water for the bucket shower is brought to your tent on request and should the hopeless romantic in you prove too hard to resist, brass hip baths could be portered to a nearby sandbank on the edge of the Selinda Spillway for a bath like no other. It doesn’t get more spectacular than that!

Pangolin Voyager luxury houseboat

The lower deck of Pangolin Voyager features five en-suite cabins that can be configured as either double or twin berths. The well-appointed cabins are tastefully decorated with solid African rosewood furnishings. Handmade Egyptian cotton linen is used on the custom-made mattress for your comfort.

All the cabins have built-in cupboards, a safe, a cooling fan, and mosquito repellent, and all the windows are mosquito-proofed. The en-suite bathrooms feature showers, with complimentary biodegradable shower gel, shampoo and hand wash from Maria Garcia.

A touch of old-world elegance is evident in the dark rosewood trim and brass fittings and fixtures. The lounge and dining areas are located on the middle deck. This area can be opened on three sides, affording panoramic views for game watching. The large dining table is the center-point for the four daily meals from seasonal menus, provided by Pangolin Voyager's onboard chef. The open-air top deck offers sun loungers, chairs, and tables, ideal for viewing the river surroundings, relaxing, and enjoying sundowners, or for an evening of unforgettable stargazing.

Overview

Selinda and Chobe are some of Botswana’s top destinations when it comes to wildlife safaris and Grant Atkinson Photography and Safaris is running this trip during what is arguably Botswana’s best game-viewing season. The latter half of September and all of October is northern Botswana’s dry season and much of the wildlife, particularly elephants, gather along the permanent waterways. They focus this safari around these two perennial rivers to take maximum advantage of dry-season wildlife concentrations.

Grant Atkinson Photography and Safaris has carefully chosen two quite different locations that together offer a wide variety of wild subject matter. Your time in Selinda will be spent mostly doing game drives in search of some of the charismatic animal species that the area is known for including lions, leopards, elephants, and African wild dogs.

On Chobe River, you will make use of the extreme flexibility and comfort provided by a luxury houseboat for your base. The excursions will be made in special photographic boats. Chobe is well-known for offering some of the best photographic opportunities for elephants, hippos, Nile crocodiles, and a myriad of bird species. The timing of the trip means that a large number of water-dependant species will be close to the permanent water sources, two of which are Selinda Spillway and Chobe River.

Itinerary

Pre-departure

You are to make your own way to Maun, Botswana for the start of this safari. After arriving in Maun and collecting luggage, you will meet Grant and Helena. You will then check in for a light aircraft flight to Selinda for approximately 50 minutes.

Day 1 and 2: Selinda Concession

From Maun, you will take a light aircraft transfer flight (with extra luggage allowance for camera gear inclusive) to Selinda for approximately 50 minutes. On arrival at Selinda airstrip, you will be met and transferred to the camp (30-minute drive).

Day 2 to 5: Selinda Game Reserve

The next day, after your morning activity, you will take a game drive along the Selinda Spillway in order to reach your next camp, Selinda Explorers. The group will have the use of private driver / guides and vehicles throughout your 4-day stay at Selinda Explorers Camp and you will set your own hours and schedule to allow you to take full advantage of photographic opportunities.

Grant Atkinson Photography and Safaris has chosen to stay at Selinda Explorers for a variety of reasons. Perhaps the foremost of these is the wide variety of wildlife for which this region is known. Lions roam this area and have done so for a long time. You might expect to come across them in any of the different habitats that make up this diverse concession.

Leopards also occur here and favor the ribbons of riverine forest that line the waterways but they can be found almost anywhere. Aside from these two charismatic cats, Selinda Game Reserve also provides ideal habitat for African wild dogs and over the last five years or so, the wild dogs have denned with success here. Spotted hyenas are also present and add still more to the variety on offer.

Day 6 to 8: Chobe River cruise

After your last morning game drive at Selinda Game Reserve, you will catch a light aircraft flight (with extra luggage allowance for camera gear inclusive) to Kasane for approximately 45 minutes. Upon your arrival at Kasane Airport (BBK), you will be met and transferred by road (15 minutes) to the jetty for pick up by the Zambezi Voyager luxury houseboat, your base for the next 3 days. You will also exit Botswana and check into Namibia via immigration offices beside the river.

The Chobe River is famous for its wildlife. By choosing the luxurious Pangolin Voyager as your base, you are able to avoid the busiest parts of this popular waterway. The Pangolin Voyager will moor each night right on the northern bank of the river, allowing you to enjoy the views and solitude of the river long after most other day-visitors have had to depart the park.

For your game viewing, you will make use of two specially-designed photographic boats that have swivel seats and configurable camera and lens mounts that are completely state of the art. Aside from providing superbly stable and responsive mounts, the boats’ shallow draught will also enable us to access shallow water easily and to make near-silent, drifting approaches to your subjects.

Moreover, by basing yourself right on the river, you are able to be on the water at sunrise and sunset, maximizing your photographic opportunities. Chobe is well-known as one of ‘the’ places to go when trying to take great photographs of elephants at or in water, as well as up close hippos and crocodiles.

This safari is timed to coincide with the breeding cycles of several species of birds, including the rare African skimmer. Each year, a handful of these striking birds attempt to raise their chicks on some of the river’s exposed sandbanks. Some of the other birds that abound in the area are African fish-eagle, African marsh harrier, giant, pied and malachite kingfisher, yellow-billed storks and white-fronted, and carmine bee-eaters.

Day 9: Departure

On your last morning, after a short outing, you will be transferred back to the Kasane jetty where you will be met and driven to Kasane Airport (BBK0 in time to connect with scheduled flights onward.

Code of conduct

  • The safety and comfort of wildlife are paramount.
  • Use great care in approaching animals in order to minimize any disturbance or disruption to their lives.
  • If any animal displays signs of distress while you are observing it, please move further away until the animal relaxes. If this does not work, please leave it alone altogether and move off.
  • Practice a great deal of patience when waiting for animal behavior to occur and never “push” an animal into doing anything.
  • After dark, refrain from the use of a spotlight on animals or photographing animals with a flash whenever it may affect the animal’s behavior. Using a flash or spotlight may interfere with an animal’s night vision and can cause it stress and / or change its behavior, so minimize the use of flash and spotlight in any situation.
  • Adhere to the safari operator’s policy regarding the maximum number of vehicles permitted at a sighting. This typically means three vehicles (sometimes fewer) at a sighting and may mean you must move out of a sighting temporarily or combine more guests onto a vehicle to give all guests a chance to spend time at the sighting. This policy is meant to reduce the impact the guests' presence may have on the animals.
  • At a sighting with more than one vehicle present, never have more than one vehicle moving at any given time. Take turns in repositioning the vehicles and minimize such movements in any situation.
  • Remember at all times that you are a very fortunate visitor and observer of these wild places and that the conservation of the animals and flora is more important than you taking a photograph or getting close enough to see everything you may wish.

Note

Grant Atkinson Photography and Safaris 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. Grant Atkinson Photography and Safaris reserves the right to alter any itinerary at any time, if necessary. They 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.

  • Grant Atkinson

    Grant Atkinson is a guide, wildlife photographer, and nature enthusiast. Although he is based in Cape Town, South Africa, he spent twelve years guiding in Botswana. During that time, he developed a deep knowledge, love, and appreciation of that country’s wildlife. Today he leads special-interest photographic safaris in Botswana, Brazil, Kenya, Namibia, and Tanzania. Grant believes that learning the behavior of his subjects is most important. Grant’s images have been on the cover of both Africa Geographic and the US National Geographic Kids magazine.

  • Helena Atkinson

    Helena Atkinson leads and co-leads photographic safaris together with her husband Grant. With qualifications in Conservation Ecology (B.Sc and M.Sc) specializing in National Parks and community conservation, Helena combines a deep knowledge of animal behavior and habitat with strong photographic skills. She is also passionate about social ecology and enjoys photographing people and their culture. Her images have been published in Africa Birds and Birding magazine.

Selinda Game Reserve

Selinda Game Reserve is one of Botswana’s famous wildlife ‘concessions’ or private reserves that offers all the privacy that Botswana is famous for. Selinda Game Reserve has a network of small tracks that traverse the area, and if there is something special on the go, you can go ‘off-road’ sensitively when there is something exceptionable.

Selinda Spillway is a semi-permanent water source that connects the waters of the Okavango River to the northern waterways of the Selinda, Savuti, and Linyanti. Selinda also provides a constant source of replenishment for the herds of elephant and buffalo that frequent its floodplains, woodlands, and islands. It is a river that can flow in two directions, depending on where the water levels are the highest. In most years it flows in both directions with water pushing ‘up’ from the Linyanti waterways and also ‘down’ from the west, fed by the waters of the Okavango Delta.

Other game animals that you might encounter include hippos, giraffes, and a mix of interesting antelope species, like impalas, kudus, waterbucks, red lechwes, and very rarely, sable antelopes. The mix of different habitats also makes for good birding.

Chobe River

Chobe River is famous for its wildlife. Chobe River during the dry season is one of the most incredible places in Africa to get up close to wildlife. During the months of August-October, Chobe River becomes a vital water source for large numbers of elephant, buffalo, waterbuck, kudu, impala, and warthog. The river is also one of the best places to photograph hippos and crocodiles.

Waterbirds abound and add an entirely new chapter to our photographic opportunities, as do some of the raptors that occur in the area. Most bird species are more approachable on Chobe River than anywhere else, making for high-quality photographic opportunities. Some of the birds that abound in the area are African skimmers, African fish-eagles, African marsh harriers, giants, pied and malachite kingfishers, yellow-billed storks and white-fronted, and carmine bee-eaters.

On this safari, you will be served with daily meals and local, non-premium brand, drinks.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Drinks

The following dietary requirements are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
(If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation)

You may enjoy customized extensions to this safari including visits to Johannesburg, Cape Town, Victoria Falls, and other destinations.

  • 2 photographers and guides
  • 3-day safari cruise on Chobe River
  • 4-day guided safari at Selinda Game Reserve
  • 8 nights' accommodation
  • Additional luggage allowance on the flights / air charters within Botswana
  • Daily laundry at Selinda camp and Selinda Explorers Camp
  • Daily meals and local drinks
  • Game drive along the Selinda Spillway
  • Ground and air transportation (Botswana and Namibia)
  • Kasane - Selinda - Maun private air charters
  • Relevant park fees
  • Use of private vehicles (open 4 x 4 car) at Selinda Explorers Camp
  • Additional meals
  • Gratuities
  • International airfare
  • Laundry on the houseboat
  • Optional extra activities
  • Personal purchases (including curios, spirits, liquors, telephone calls, etc.)
  • Pre- and post- safari tours
  • Premium brand wines and liquors
  • Travel insurance
  • Visas
  • The deposit is fully refundable if the booking is cancelled up to 2 days before the arrival date.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid on arrival.

Testimonials

  • Review by Marg Wood from Alberta, USA

    "With his knowledge and a keen understanding of animal behavior, Grant was able to enhance our photo opportunities by positioning us at the right angle, at the right time. As a veterinarian, I am always concerned about the effect of our presence in an animal’s world, but Grant was always careful not to interfere or intervene with these creatures. Grant’s love of nature is contagious. His sensitivity and caring for the environment is obvious. I have signed up for another safari with Grant and look forward to more in the future."

    Grant Atkinson Photography and Safaris website, edited

  • Review by Charis Henrie and Dave Ward

    "We first met Grant in the Okavango Delta in 2001 and discovered quickly that he was the guide for us! Grant’s knowledge is extensive, his enthusiasm is infectious, and his sense of humor is greatly appreciated. We have now been on safari with Grant for 5 times and it is hard to imagine visiting southern Africa without him as our guide. Thank you, Grant, for great times in the past and hopefully for more in the future."

    Grant Atkinson Photography and Safaris website, edited

Cape Province, South Africa

Atkinson Photography and Safaris is founded by a husband and wife team, Grant and Helena Atkinson. They lead photo safaris and workshops in Africa.

Speaks English

from --

9 days / 8 nights

Availability

Arrival: Sunday October 1, 2017
Departure: Monday October 9, 2017

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