The Chobe Riverfront is one like no other in Africa. At first glance, the large expanse of water that is the Chobe River meanders and flows languidly and peacefully through islands on towards its confluence with the Zambezi. It is a calm and peaceful scene if there every was one. Yet on the islands and along the banks thrive some of the most prolific animal and bird life in Africa. The Chobe attracts wildlife and birds from very far afield and no more so than in the dry season, when this photo safari takes place.
Photographing on the Chobe River is a wonderful experience. Our special boat, using two motors- one in the front and the main one at the back, keeps rock steady when idling allowing you to focus on photographing your subject perfectly. Bird life is prolific, elephants and hippos are very common in the water and buffalo herds in large numbers front the riverbanks.
C4 has booked a specialised boat for your use to be able to get the most from your photography. In the Okavango portion, we will be based on the rivers edge at Xaro Lodge, where all your accommodation needs will be perfectly catered for you. You literally walk 50m from your room right onto the boat and are photographing 2 minutes later!
This tour focuses on getting the best waterbird photographs possible. Timed to coincide with the breeding season of the Carmine bee-eater as well as the African skimmer you will have full access to these and many other beautiful and brilliant coloured birds over the duration of this tour. It is exceptionally rich in diversity, colour and activity for you to point your lens at.
October is a special month in that both the African skimmers and the Carmine bee-eaters are breeding. Currently there are three carmine colonies to visit. Skimmers nest on the sand banks and so are found along the rivers edge wherever suitable banks are available. The two bird species are the highlight, but there are many other avian specials here. Some are: African fish eagle in flight and coming in to catch fish, rufous bellied heron, slaty egret, pygmy goose, African jacana, squacco heron, white fronted bee eater, pied, giant, malachite kingfishers, little bee eater, cormorants, other egrets, herons, plovers and pratincoles.
Basically it is bird photography paradise. The birds are relaxed around human presence allowing easy approaches to many of the species. Of note is trying to find a “barbel run”. This is a type of catfish that migrates up the river in the month of October. It attracts many different bird species, which gorge themselves on the fish. If you luck onto one of these runs, it makes for fascinating photography as the birds dive into and stalk the barbel. Even the fish eagles get in on the action.
Each day we will set out in aluminium boats booked for our use. The boats can accommodate 4 photographers each. The waters in the main channel as well as the smaller channels are extremely calm. There is never a swell or strong currents that may tip the boat or cause you to become uneasy. It is extremely stable and seasickness is a non-issue.
Arrival at Maun International Airport, Botswana in time for your flight transfer to Shakawe Airport. A Xaro Lodge representative will meet you at the airport to transfer you to Xaro Lodge for 4 nights.
Xaro Lodge is a must-visit if you are a birding enthusiast. Species that are spotted regularly include the Pel’s Fishing Owl, skimmers, carmines, egrets, herons, kingfisher, boubous, etc. Besides the prolific number of bird species in the Shakawe region of Botswana.
Road transfer to Shakawe Airport for your charter flight to Kasane Airport. You will be met by a C4 representative for your road transfer to Pangolin Voyager Houseboat for 4 nights.
The Pangolin Voyager Houseboat journeys along the Chobe and Zambezi Rivers throughout the year hosting guests in absolute luxury and comfort as you drift gently through one of the most game rich environments in Africa. There are two custom built photo boats with fully rotating chairs and fitted with state of the art camera mounts.
On the last mornings you will be transferred back to Kasane Airport. This is the end of your safari.
The Voyager is spread over three levels affording plenty of space for up to 10 guests at any one time. On the lower level the houseboat has five well appointed en-suite cabins with double or twin beds available depending on the required configuration. The beds are fitted with the finest linen and specialist mattresses.
The cabins have built-in cupboards, a cooling fan and the windows are fitted with mosquito net to allow the gentle breeze from the river and the nigh time sounds of the Chobe National Park to permeate the rooms. The middle level is occupied by the lounge and dining area along with a deck at the rear which accommodates the Braai (barbeque). The comfortable lounge area is stocked with reference books and binoculars, which are yours to use as we drift between our private mooring points. Meals are served on the large dining table and the menu varies depending on what ingredients can be locally sourced throughout the seasons. There is a comprehensive selection of alcoholic and soft drinks for you to enjoy throughout the day from the bar. The upper level hosts a viewing deck equipped with table, chairs and sun loungers perfect for topping up those tans in-between activities and for witnessing the majestic African sunsets the grace us every evening.
Luxurious and tranquil, Xaro Lodge is situated on the banks of the Okavango River, where Africa is still wild. Here you awake to the call of fish eagles, share your meals with robin chats and babblers, and watch skimmers shear the smooth surface of the river while you enjoy some of the most magnificent sunsets Africa has on offer.
While its remote location makes for total peace and quiet, every element of guest comfort is seen to in meru-styled luxury tents with en-suite bathrooms. Lounge in bed while absorbing the view through the glass sliding door, enjoy your early morning coffee on your own private patio, or stroll along the riverbank to the open air dining area, where all meals are served. Grab a book from the library and relax in the lounge overlooking the river, while local fishermen drift by silently in a mokoro, hoping for their daily catch.
30% Deposit confirms your place.
Minimum of 6 photographers (1 guide) and maximum 8 photographers (2 guides).
You will be met at Maun International Airport, Botswana and transferred to your flight transfer to Shakawe Airstrip. A Xaro Lodge representative will meet you at the airstrip to transfer you to Xaro Lodge for 4 nights.
Road transfer to Shakawe Airstrip for your charter flight to Kasane Airport. You will be met by a C4 representative for your road transfer to Pangolin Voyager Houseboat for 4 nights.
Last day you will be transferred back to Kasane Airport. This is the end of your safari.
"During October 2017 myself and two others spent nearly 8 nights with Isak Pretorius on the Chobe and Okovango Rivers. The photographic opportunities are endless and I would strongly recommend this trip to anyone who wants to get up close and personal with all manner of animals. The bird life especially on the Okovango River is incredible the four images, are my favourites from the trip, were taken on this river. Herds of elephants are to be seen on a regular basis swimming, drinking and playing in the Chobe River. Hippos are a regular encounter. Time spent with Isak is time well spent as his photographic knowledge is first class and he has a way of getting ideas across that always seem to work."David Battensby