GREAT RIVERS OF AFRICA Photo Safari
26 SEPT – 04 OCT 2020 (9 days)
US$ 8,950 per person sharing
Isak Pretorius + 1
Birds and wildlife
4 – 8 photographers
In October, just before the first summer rains, the last remaining water in the Okavango, Chobe and Zambezi rivers becomes a magnet for birdlife and bird photographers. These are the best destinations and seasons to find African Fish Eagles, African Skimmers, Carmine Bee-eaters, African Jacanas, Kingfishers, Herons and Egrets, to name a few. Join us on this specialist bird photography safari where we focus to get the best waterbird photographs possible.
This safari is designed for the best bird photography that Southern Africa has to offer. We will spend four nights on an exclusive houseboat negotiating the Chobe and Zambezi rivers in Namibia, and then four nights at a luxury lodge on an island in the middle of the Okavango river in Botswana. At both locations we will utilise smaller private photography boats in search of our avian subjects. Your specialist wildlife photo guides will be on hand in the field to teach you, and help you come away with world class bird photographs.
* BIRDS, BIRDS, BIRDS – With African Fish Eagles, African Skimmers, Carmine Bee-eaters, Kingfishers, Herons, Egrets and African Jacanas literally around every corner, the number of stunning African birds is mind blowing
* ICONIC LOCATION – The Okavango, Chobe and Zambezi rivers are wild and unspoilt wildernesses
* EXCLUSIVITY – We have booked out the entire Houseboat on the Chobe river and the entire Xaro Lodge on the Okavango river so that we can focus on taking the best waterbird photographs without the distraction of other guests
* SMALL GROUP – With a maximum of only 8 photographers, you’ll have enough room on the boats to photograph without restrictions and have easy access to one of the photo guides
* LEARN FROM THE BEST – Isak is the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013 for Bird Behaviour and a specialist wildlife photographic guide that aims to help you take world class bird photographs
* MORE THAN JUST BIRDS – The Chobe riverfront is not only a bird paradise, but when you’re tired of photographing birds you can focus on the herds of elephants, buffalo, sable and lions and leoapards if you’re lucky, that come down to drink
* Request a PDF brochure under “Booking Information”
What People Say
“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.”
DAY 1 | 26 SEPTEMBER 2020
* Meet at Kasane Int’l Airport in Botswana
* Road transfer to Chobe Houseboat
* Afternoon activity
* Accommodation on Chobe Houseboat
DAY 2-4 | 27 – 29 SEPTEMBER 2020
* Morning activity
* Afternoon activity
* Accommodation on Chobe Houseboat
DAY 5 | 30 SEPTEMBER 2020
* Morning activity
* Internal flight from Kasane to Shakawe
* Road transfer to Xaro, Okavango
* Afternoon activity
* Accommodation at Xaro, Okavango
DAY 6 – 8 | 01 – 03 OCTOBER 2020
* Morning activity
* Afternoon activity
* Accommodation at Xaro, Okavango
DAY 9 | 04 OCTOBER 2020
* Morning activity
* Internal flight from Shakawe to Maun
* International flights home
Chobe, Zambezi and Okavango Rivers
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.
We have 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
Photography and Tutoring
IDENTIFYING PERSONAL REQUIREMENTS
As we kick off the safari, Isak will spend one-on-one time with each participant to identify what level they are at and what areas they would most like to focus on. He will then explore the different components of photography with them applicable to this safari. There is no better learning opportunity than photographing so many world-class wildlife sightings day after day, in the ideal season, under professional guidance. The constant presence of a guide guarantees that your questions are answered immediately and this ensures a fast learning curve. Photographing day after day also ensures that all these lessons are fresh in the mind and are applied until programmed into your subconscious.
SUBJECTS TO BE COVERED
We will look at the basic technicalities like shutter speed, aperture and focus and how these should be creatively manipulated in certain situations. E.g.to get the right amount of blur in golden grass. Composition is always the most important subject and it is best taught in the sighting, where the learning can be applied instantly. Isak will always be available to point out how you can improve your composition and give you the technical breakdown behind their chosen advice. As we are presented with different weather and light conditions they will teach you to study the skies and how to make a pre-emptive decision on where to shoot when the light peaks.
PRESENTATIONS AND EDITING
During the middle of days 2,3,4,6,7 and 8 we will sit down for an informal workshop, designed to teach you the aspects that will improve your own photography, no matter what level you are. The digital darkroom has become a crucial part of photography and Isak will present various techniques using images taken by the participants of the workshop. Isak has extensive experience with Photoshop, Lightroom, Bridge and Nik Color Efex, but he will also do his best to help with your program of choice.
ONE-ON-ONE ATTENTION AND CREATIVE FREEDOM
The fact that there will only be a maximum of 10 photographers means that over the course of 9 days, each client will get plenty of assistance, guidance and tutoring from Isak. This also means that there will be far fewer lenses pointed at the same subjects than on normal workshops. This gives you a better chance to explore your creativity and to photograph the subjects from all angles.
On every workshop we always discuss everything from the most fundamental principles, through to the philosophical and abstract. Whatever it is you would like to learn, we’re happy to help out. Our goal is to send you home with great images, new knowledge, fond memories and feeling inspired.
Why Travel with Us
Our guides are sought-after photographic guides, well known and highly acclaimed in the industry. Their awards and published work in the world’s leading landscape and wildlife publications is a testament to their knowledge, skill and creativity. We believe we are the best in the industry and are continuously looking to improve our skill and workshops.
The Chobe houseboat and Xaro Lodge were hand-picked as photo safari destinations because of the number and variety of birds, and its “authentic” safari feel. We know Africa, and we’ve been photographing birds in Southern Africa since 2002, so we know it well. With our good relationship with the lodge and staff we are able to be at the right places and find the right sightings in the best light for your photography.
This photo workshop was designed to fine tune the typical photo safari itinerary to create the best product in the market that excels in quality on every level – from the moment you are picked up from the airport, the quality of the accommodation, the photographic sightings, activities like hide photography, and a photo workshop schedule that will help to improve your own photography. The goal is to take you to the best spots and get you to take your own great photographs while enjoying the best comfort and hospitality that Southern Africa has to offer.
We specializes in wildlife, bird and landscape photography exclusively and this is the biggest differentiator from other photo safari. This means we selected the best time of the year and photographic locations to get you the best wildlife, bird and landscape photographs.
Our guides are at least 6th generation African. Who better to show you the African continent than people who live there? They have explored their home and neighbouring African countires as travellers even before digital photography and workshops became popular, and with a camera have spent more than 10 years chasing the best light in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania and Kenya. Therefore they know the people, the culture and we have developed relationships with the local people that gains them access to special places.
With a client repeat booking rate of 80% it means they must be doing something right!
DAY 1 – Arrival and First Activity
Arrival at Kasane International Airport. This photo safari starts and ends at this airport, so it is your responsibility to arrange your own international flights. If you need flights to be arranged for you please email me at email@example.com for a quote and options.
Your specialist photographic guide and host will meet you at the Kasane International Airport. A short transfer from the airport will take us to the Chobe river where we will be transferred with a small boat to the Pangolin Voyager Houseboat. Once you’ve arrived on the houseboat there will be a short orientation and a chance for you to settle into your cabin to unpack and get your photographic equipment ready. We will meet for high tea and have a chance to discuss the safari before embarking on our first afternoon activity.
The activity is about enjoying, relaxing and to get familiar with the photography from the small boat and to get familiar with the Chobe riverfront and photographic opportunities. On this activity the aim is to take photos ‘as you are used to’, so that it sets the benchmark to measure the images taken at the end of the photo safari against.
Before Dinner, Isak will give a short presentation showing a variety of images and how, by using specific aspects, you can alter and change an image dramatically.
DAY 2,3,4 – Morning and Afternoon Activities
During the next three full days the daily schedule will remain more or less the same. The times are flexible and might vary slightly depending on the sunrise times, the sightings and our activities (e.g. we might decide to have an extended morning out on the river). Generally we follow this schedule:
05:00 – Wake-up and meet for coffee and a small meal
05:30 – Morning activity
09:30 – Breakfast
10:30 – Rest and own time
13:30 – Lunch
14:30 – Photo presentation, workshop and photo review (not compulsory)
16:00 – Meet for high tea
16:30 – Afternoon activity
19:30 – Dinner and then retire to bed for another day of more great photography
The topics of the photo presentation and workshops are not fixed and will be altered to meet the specific requirements of all the guests. These could include the following:
* Understanding light
* Understanding composition
* Tutorials on advanced photo techniques
* Use of Lenses for various effects
* Post processing your images in Lightroom or Photoshop
* Cataloguing images
* Startrail and starscape photography
* Flash use and advanced flash use
During the photo workshop sessions there will be a chance for guests to bring their own photos for feedback and critique by the guides. Typically three photos from each guests per session are enough to not only see what different photos we all got from the same sightings but the feedback the critique on your photos is one of the best ways to improve your own photography.
DAY 5 – Moving Day
A midday charter flight from Kasane to Shakawe in Botswana means that we’ll have time for a short morning activity on the Chobe river before breakfast and then a small boat transfer to the town of Kasane. Once we arrive at Kasane, a road transfer will take us to Kasane airport. The scenic charter flight is roughly one hour long but keep a camera handy as we’ll be flying over the Linyanti and Okavango Delta which are some of the most beautiful wildernesses of Africa. Once we arrive at Shakawe airport, a road transfer will take us to Drotsky’s Cabins followed by a boat transfer on the Okavango river to the island where Xaro Lodge is located. We’ll arrive in time for a late lunch and then have time to unpack and get our photography gear ready for the afternoon activity.
We’ll explore the bird photography opportunities of the Okavango River before enjoying sunset drinks and then returning to camp for Dinner and bed.
DAY 6,7,8 – Morning and Afternoon Activities
During the next three full days the daily schedule will remain more or less the same as on the Chobe river.
DAY 9 – Last Activity and Homeward Bound
Our last day begins with a short early morning activity after which we have breakfast. We will depart for Maun at roughly 9:30 from where we will catch a chartered flight from Shakawe back to Maun International Airport. This is unfortunately the end of your photo workshop.
Pangolin Voyager Houseboat
The Pangolin Voyager Houseboat cruises along the Chobe and Zambezi Rivers throughout the years hosting our clients from around the world in absolute comfort and luxury in one of the most extraordinary wildlife environments on the continent. We invite you to join us onboard for a voyage of discovery and wonderment that you will never forget.
The Pangolin Voyager has been custom built to suit the needs of all of our clients and their specific requirements for their time with us on safari. Whether you are a wildlife enthusiast, keen photographer, avid birder, extreme fisherman or are just someone in need of some general rest and relaxation there is a space onboard for everyone and we will endeavour to meet your every wish and desire during your time with us.
We have five delightful en suite cabins configured as either doubles or twins fitted with the finest linens. The Voyager can sleep a maximum of ten guests making it the perfect size for small groups of friends or colleagues to take over the whole boat for a private safari experience.
Alongside the houseboat we have a small flotilla of specially designed tender boats. We have two small four seater photo boats whose chairs can be fitted with specialist camera mounts as well as two other boats for general game viewing, fishing and visits to the local communities and landmarks.
The day’s itinerary is for you to design. You can do whatever takes your fancy throughout the day and in between you will be well taken care of by our two chefs as they conjure up delicious meals and snacks from the galley.
Xaro Lodge consists of 8 guest tents and a central dining area, bar and campfire. It’s reached by boat from its parent camp, Drotsky’s Cabins, a journey of 15 minutes. The walk-in tents are roomy and light with large insect-screened windows, with flaps that can be lowered at night. They’re set on wooden decks beneath shade trees, reached by a short flight of steps from the ground. Interiors are equipped with comfy beds and rustic furniture. Glass doors open onto a private river-facing deck where there are chairs and you can sit and contemplate views down to the river. The wood-panelled bathroom has a hand basin, toilet and shower.
During the day you can spend time getting to know other guests in the lounge, sipping a chilled drink in the well-stocked bar and savouring the plentiful home-cooked food. There’s a pool for refreshing swims, the ideal way to cool down in the day, and a campfire where sundowners are enjoyed each evening.
You’ll be offered boat trips with a local guide, spotting marine life and birds as you travel. The lodge also arranged fishing trips and has fishing equipment available to hire as you in search of the 17 species of fish found here including tigerfish, barbel and bream . There are several walking trails near the lodge which you can follow with a birding guide as you look out for skimmers, carmines, herons, egrets and kingfishers. If you’re lucky you may also see Pel’s fishing owl. The lodge can arrange visits to Tsodilo Hills, known for its fine examples of San Bushman rock art.
US$ 7,000 per person sharing
* US$ 2,100 per single supplement
* 30% deposit confirms your place
THE ABOVE COSTS INCLUDE:
* Pickup and transport for the entire tour
* Internal flights
* Entrance to concession and accommodation in camp
* All meals, based on three meals a day
* The services of our guides
COSTS DO NOT INCLUDE:
* International flight to Kasane
* International flight from Maun
* Gratuities to staff and guides
* Extra activities not included
* Personal expenses
* Travel insurance
* Travel visas
* Terms and conditions are clearly described in the PDF brochure under “Booking Information”
* Camera bodies
* Body and lens caps
* Plastic zip lock bags
* Filters (UV, Polariser and graduated)
* Battery chargers
* Camera bag
* Digital card wallet
* Cable ties
* Batteries for flash gun
* Big Blower brush
* Sensor cleaning fluid
* Laptop/External hard drive
* Power for external hard drive
* Power adaptors
* Camera manuals
* Tripod head and quick release plate
* Lens cleaning cloth/s
* Camera vest
* Digital memory cards
* You don’t need to own the latest cameras and the longest lenses! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to enquire about rental options.
* ID Documents
* Flight ticket/s
Accommodation and travel
* Foreign exchange
* Credit card/s
Personal items and clothing
* Sunscreen (one low factor and one higher factor SPF)
* Cotton shirts
* Warm top/s
* Wind breaker/rain jacket
* “Inners” thin light gloves to wear on cool early mornings
What should I know about vehicle etiquette?
On all our tours we may ask participants to rotate seats in the vehicles, taking it in turn to sit in the more popular seats in the front and the less popular ones in the rear. This requirement applies to everyone. If there is some reason why you can’t take your turn in the back of a vehicle (e.g. a bad back or travel sickness) please inform our office at the time of booking to see if we can accommodate you. We regret that anyone failing to inform us of such limitations before the tour will be expected to rotate seats in the same way as everyone else.
There is also other vehicle etiquette that we would like to ask you to adhere to. We give these guidelines to ensure a positive experience for all when on safari:
* Please keep noise levels low at an animal sighting. This allows people to enjoy the setting and listen to sounds that the animals may be making. Often these alert us to some behaviour and allows us to anticipate any action that may occur.
* If you are seated in the front of the vehicle, please have consideration for the people behind you. A pre-arranged chat at the start of the safari is an excellent way to work out how you will be photographing and working around each other. It provides a positive working environment and allows everyone to photograph happily in the vehicle.
* When photographing, keep movement to a minimum. If you are going to shift places, then alert the others and do so as swiftly and directly as possible.
* Please do not do anything to effect the behaviour of the animals.
* Your driver/ranger has to adhere to certain rules and etiquette at sightings that you may not be aware of. This may mean you cannot stop exactly where you would like. Please bear this in mind at sightings, especially when there are other vehicles from other camps around.
What technical equipment or requirements do I need for the workshops?
For workshops a Digital SLR camera is recommended, with at least a 200mm lens to capture wildlife im- ages. A laptop for downloading is also helpful, although we can download image if necessary. On a Photo tour, two DSLR camera bodies and lenses are advised. The type of lenses you take depend entirely on the destination. We will advise according to each tour should you need advise.
Are there any extras I need to bring on a trip?
Most of our tours are all inclusive and we offer advice as to what to bring along. This is due to the differ- ent seasons and conditions of each safari. C4 Photo Safaris will always advise if you will be traveling in a Malaria area. If the tour is not all-inclusive, it will be clearly stated.
Why do you choose such specific destinations for the Tours and Work- shops?
Each destination is hand picked by us for the beauty and photographic potential it holds. C4 Photo Safaris only travel to destinations that offer the best of what we are looking to photograph. If we know an area holds excellent wildlife, we will take tours there. There are many factors to consider- Seasonal variation can have a large impact on wildlife movements, animal and bird migrations, localalised animal movements etc. We of course take all this into consideration, ensuring that our tours are going to the best locations at the best times.
Is there any cell phone reception in the areas?
In most game reserves and wild areas there is no cell/mobile phone reception.
How safe am I in the game reserves in Africa?
C4 Photo Safaris only operate with lodges and reserves that use the best rangers. They ensure your safety whilst on safari and use very strict procedures when dealing with dangerous animals. Each lodge has a safety briefing on arrival which, if adhered to, makes your stay very safe.
What insurance/coverage do I need?
Your normal travel insurance covers you for safaris in Africa. C4 Photo Safaris are comprehensively in- sured for medical emergencies on safaris.
For Malaria, which tablets should I take, if any?
C4 Photo Safaris are not allowed to prescribe medical advice to clients. We will advise if the area visited is in a malaria area. You will need to consult with your local GP for medical advise on Malaria and prevention.
What about allergies?
Most safari camps are able to handle food allergies but not with the degree of skill that five star hotels do. The best way to handle an intolerance, is to simply avoid eating that particu- lar food as the menus in camp are quite diverse. If you have a more uncommon allergy, like being allergic to eggs, and you know of a solution (like a powder substitute), then bring it along on sa- fari. If you have a deadly allergy, then be sure to travel with your own medication and request in camp that that ingredient be removed from the kitchen and the store. As a side note, it is helpful to remember that many safari camps have to fly produce in or truck it in, over hundreds of miles. Furthermore, the camps, although impressive looking, actually have minimal infrastructure behind the scenes. If you assist the camp in managing your allergy, it will be a great help.
What about medicine, diseases and vaccinations?
Please check in with your local travel clinic or doctor for advice. From my experience, a yellow fever and hepatitis vaccination is a must, while the plethora of others are optional. Our safaris are conducted in low risk malarial areas but for your own peace of mind, we recommend that you take a prophylactic. In areas where you get tsetse flies in East Afri- ca, humans are not the primary disease carries, and contracting Tryps is very rare. There is nothing you can do about these flies except to dress appropriately (keep reading) and to apply mosie-guard. None of our current safari destinations carry significant amounts of tsetsi flies. The camps do have medicine kits and there is always an evacuation plan.
We do however find it practical to always travel through Africa with the following items:
* Immodium (keep this handy when traveling)
* Buscopan (for tummy cramps)
* Pain killers (that contain par- acetamol and a muscle relaxant)
* Antihistamine cream and tablets for any allergic reactions
* Melatonin to help speedy recovery from jetlag
* Any medicine or ointments that you would normally take at home
* Mosquito repellant
* A product called Mosie-guard for areas where Tsetsi Flies occur (manufactured in the UK and Deet does not work)
* Tweezers for any thorns or splinters
* Re-hydrants sachets (very important)
* Disinfectant or antibiotic cream (just for nicks, cuts or grazes)
* Plasters (to cover nicks, cuts or grazes)
Can I drink water and eat fresh produce on safari?
We advise that you only drink bottled water, which is always available in camps. Avoid ice as this is often made from local water which although is generally safe to drink, your foreign tummies might disagree! It is safe to eat fresh produce.
What about food on safari?
Both East and much of Southern Africa was a British colony and as such, you can expect that type of cuisine. The breakfasts usually consist of cereals and a hot English breakfast. Lunch- es are usually light with a variety of salads and always a meat option. Dinners are traditional English affairs usually with a soup starter and freshly baked camp bread. The main course will usually be a roast of sorts, with vegetables. Dessert is usually a simple affair consisting of fruit or a baked pudding. You will not go hungry! (A side note to mention is that between meals there are often not snacks readily available and breakfast is often only later in the morning. You might want to bring a few snacks or energy bars if you have a problem keeping your sugar levels up.)
Any luggage restrictions?
The reality is that on any scheduled charters in Africa, there will be luggage restrictions. Short of charter- ing your own flight (which we can do), our advice is to bring only the essential camera equipment. Having too much equipment can actually hinder your photography. Also, you can get washing done in camp and with a fairly moderate to hot climate, you can afford to pack light. In short, bring fewer clothes so that you can bring more camera gear! Depending on the safari you book, we will be able to advise you on exact weight restrictions.
What amount of spending money should I bring along?
Our tours cover all travel, food and accommodation costs (unless otherwise stated). This means that spending money can be kept to souvenirs, curios and books. This normally amounts to Euro 10.00 per person per day.
Commercial representation and wildlife photography consulting
C4 Photo Safaris has the full capacity to plan and run commercial photo shoots for professional clients. We are able to supply you with the best guides in the wildlife photography industry as well as organize and run all your ground handling logistics for the shoot. Our knowledge of African travel logistics combined with our specialized knowledge of wildlife and the best places to photograph them, places us in the perfect position to plan and run your commer- cial shoot. Please contact Shem with your request. Additionally we can supply photographers for the shoot where they would work under the production name. On all tours with c4 images and safaris, our guides have the right to take photographs. Their goal is to get you into the right position and tutor you into getting the best photograph. Once they have done so, they have full rights to take their own photographs. The rights of the guides and all of their images remains with the individual guide who took the photographs. No other person has any rights over the photographs taken by a guide representing C4 Photo Safaris.
Click on the icons to get a glimpse of the photos you could be taking, the accommodation that you can expect, and what life on a GREAT RIVERS OF AFRICA Photo Safari is like.