A Green Season Safari Review

Date 2024/05/15 13:40:48 by Ellen Mack

A few months ago, I went on my first  green season safari.  My feedback is somewhat delayed but I can blame this only on the myriad of photographic opportunities the trip offered and the photo processing that ensued.

I thought my safari, to put it simply, was GREAT.  I have long wanted to do a green season trip and I am so happy that the opportunity finally presented itself as it proved to be even more rewarding than I expected. For me, a major reason was to have photos that differ from those I have from previous safaris and replacing a brown background with one that is green does just that.  Not only is the green so pleasing and full of life in itself, but it also contrasts more vividly with the animal making the subject stand out just that much more.  I was blown away by the fact that areas I previously visited, that were so brown and barren one wondered how they could support any life, plant or animal, could be transformed into such lush and verdant landscapes.  It almost felt tropical at times with all the rich vegetation.  I developed a new appreciation for natural wild grasses and was so impressed to see that the drivers/guides carry field guides of the natural grasses of Botswana.  Oh, and not to forget, the wild flowers were also beautiful and, again, added another photographic element to consider.


I have been told by acquaintances to not safari in the green season because the animals will be fewer in numbers and difficult to see because of the tall grasses.  There is some truth to this but I can now counter that there are still plenty of animals and I think one can make more interesting photographs if the subject is partly obscured.  It might be that the photography is perhaps a bit more challenging, but the results may not only be different but also more interesting and perhaps even better.

Yes, there was some rain, at times even heavy rain, but this again added an interesting photographic element.  It also meant the air was clear and one did not have to worry about dust getting into your camera gear.  The vehicles all had canopies for protection and were well stocked with ponchos so water exposure was not a problem.  As the green season is in the summer, I expected hot weather but the temperatures were always pleasant and much, much more comfortable than I previously experienced in the same region during the end of the dry season in October.

Some other green season advantages were that there were so few people.  One virtually never saw another vehicle and I sometimes had the camp to myself - but with full service staff of course.  What a luxury that was!  Since I am mostly interested in photographing birds, the green season offered many opportunities.  I lost count of the many new species I saw due to the presence of migrants and the numerous ponds and wetlands which usually contained many aviary treasures. 

The three camps where I stayed were all wonderful and different in character.  Similarly the locales of the three camps were distinct and offered different wildlife and scenery.  I don’t think the choices could have been any better.  I liked Tau Pan for its simpler, more old style of hospitality with family meals and especially enjoyed the call to dinner which was done by song every evening.  This was my first visit to the Central Kalahari Game Reserve and I was impressed with the unexpectedly rich plant life.

Sable Alley, in the Khwai Private Reserve along the northeastern edges of the Okavango Delta,  was a spacious, well-appointed camp that was a pleasure to experience. My three “highlight" wildlife encounters of the trip all took place there. A leopard with two near grown cubs hanging out and playing on a fallen tree and wild dogs that ran toward us in single line formation while we photographed them from ground level. The third highlight was a small pond near our breakfast bush stop. I asked to walk there and was delighted to find eight species of birds including a Whiskered Tern that delighted us as it fished for mollusks and small fish.


Duke’s Camp was also another treat - sort of other worldly with its Persian tea house feel.  I was there alone with only two other guests.  The staff had been so well informed about me and knew that I needed to make contact home every day, that I was interested in photography and especially in birds.  Thank you Angelica!  The place had such a relaxed and personal feel about it.  I should also add that the mokoro ride there was excellent and not to be missed and I am saying this as a person who has not liked mokoro rides in the past.  It was a tranquil, beautiful way to end my safari, silently gliding through reeds opening into larger bodies of water laden with water lilies and, as a grand finale, some new bird species.

I was fortunate to have Angelica involved in the planning and logistics and, of course, very fortunate to have Shem accompany me as guide and friend.  Thank you both for this wonderful experience which will remain a part of me forever.  


Images and blog by:Ellen Mack