2019 and 2020 African Photo Safaris
We know that for many, going on safari is a bucket list item that they only expect to do once their lifetime. While this may be your current thought, we’ve found that 60% of the folks that visit Africa with us return on a second trip to Africa with us. That’s because Africa truly gets into your blood. There is a timeless element that draws you in. The proximity to the wildlife and the ability to peacefully observe will overtake you.
Chobe from the water – A young elephant climbs out from beneath ‘Mom’
You may be wondering why we feature southern Africa destinations like Botswana, South Africa, and Namibia. There are a few reasons. To be honest, reason one is that over time we have gotten to know the region really well and are on a first name basis with many of the lodge and reserve owners. Clearly that’s not a good enough reason, so here are a few more of our reasons:
- Quantity of wildlife – In the reserves and national parks we visit there is an extremely high amount of wild life and many species of that wildlife: lions, leopards, rhino, giraffe, zebra and many more. Isn’t that why you want to go?
- Game viewing distance – We feature reserves that allow off road tracking and national parks that accommodate our special photo boats. This allows us to get extremely close to the wildlife. We know most folks going on safari do not have extremely large super-telephoto lenses. On our trips, we make collecting a photo of that special moment easy by having destinations that allows you to get close to your subjects.
- Government stability – The world is changing fast. We are concerned with political and religious unrest in certain eastern and northern Africa nations; however in our target countries we have found friendly people that are eager to proudly show the natural wonders of their country.
- Ease of access – All of our trips originate out of Johannesburg, South Africa. From the United States, one can fly direct, non-stop to this destination from New York, Washington or Atalanta.
A tender moment with baby hippo and mother – photo take from Photo Boat
Magnum Excursions is planning three southern Africa destinations in 2018 and four trips in 2019. All of these destinations will be led by Buddy Eleazer. The 2018 trips include:
- Timbavati, Greater Kruger Conservancy, South Africa with extensions to Chobe National Park or Okavango Delta (both in Botswana)
- Two schedules to northern Namibia including Etosha National Park
For 2019, we are planning:
- Zimanga, South Africa – with a focus on shooting low angle shots from hides, night photography as well as traditional game drives. COMPLETED
- Chobe Workshop for Camera Clubs and Groups – That’s right, this is a true workshop with daily feedback and special rates for groups of 4 or more. COMPLETED
- Chobe/Madikwe/Cape Town – Exclusive trip for a maximum of 8 guests. We will stay 4 nights on a private houseboat along the Chobe River, Botswana and then fly to Madikwe, South Africa for 4 nights in a favorite lodge, Jaci’s Tree Lodge. This trip will also have an optional extension to visit Cape Town for 4 nights, seeing the winelands as well as Table Mountain and Cape Point.
- Masai Mara, Kenya and Samburu, Kenya – We will finish off our year with a safari to Kenya’s Masai Mara during the peak of the wildebeest migration. At Samburu, we will see classic subjects of Africa but also should encounter several rare species and we will also have a chance to photograph the Samburu warriors in their homeland.
For 2020, we are planning:
- Best of the Okavango – Savute and Kwai as well as a visit to the Chobe River in Botswana
- Zimanga, South Africa – Group 1 (first date) – with a focus on shooting low angle shots from hides, night photography as well as traditional game drives.
- Zimanga, South Africa – Group 2 (second date) – with a focus on shooting low angle shots from hides, night photography as well as traditional game drives.
- Best of Timbavati – One of South Africa’s best private reserves for seeing lions and leopards
- Chobe National Park, Botswana – As the waters get low, the animal density rises. Be there to catch this one!
- We are also in the midst of planning a few additional 2020 trips, but details are pending. They include:
- July 2020 trip to a private reserve in South Africa as well as the Chobe River.
- Early November deep in the Okavango for a week plus a few days on the Zambezi and Chobe Rivers to view wildlife as well as the migration of the Carmine Bee Eaters
We’ve chosen these particular locations as each brings a different safari opportunity forward depending on your goals and your sense of adventure. As per the Magnum Excursions, standard, all three destinations feature lodges that are known for being clean and safe with great food and friendly staffs. All lodging options will include en suite bathrooms (i.e. a private indoor bathroom/shower attached to the bedroom).
Which option do we recommend for you? It really depends on your goals. Here is my opinion and a brief overview of what you can expect from each.
Timbavati Private Reserve, Greater Kruger National Park System, South Africa – We regularly lead trips to Timbavati because:
- Everyone loves to see big cats and Timbavati is known for leopards and lions.
- Off-road tracking: At Timbavati, our game vehicles are allowed to go wherever we need to get great views of leopard, lion, elephant, rhino, Cape buffalo and wild dog.
- Our lodges are inside the reserve. You will hear the music of the night as lions, hippos and hyena call during the night.
- Learn more at this link
Chobe National Park, Botswana Extension – Chobe was the first safari location frequented by us and continues to be a favorite because:
- Every time we screen our images for a photo book, invariably the highest percentage of ‘keepers’ were photos taken at Chobe
- The Chobe River is one of the only rivers in Africa that affords photography from boats, allowing for a) wide open vistas with uncluttered backgrounds, b) extremely low angle shots with high impact and c) shots with action/gesture created by animals drinking and playing at water’s edge
- During the winter months from May until September it is difficult to find a stretch of river where you cannot see wildlife. Literally, there will be some subject in sight at all times!
- We can access our accommodations flying major airlines. This helps us avoid the overly restrictive weight limits required by small bush planes.
- Learn more at this link
Okavango Delta, Botswana – This is a newset of locations location for Magnum Excursions. What to expect:
- Unique wildlife that includes wild dog, hyena, lions, leopards, cheetah
- Individual Chalets and central lodge in the private boutique lodge
- Off-road tracking: In Kwai, we will be able to leave the road to track predators. This allows amazing viewing of lion, leopard and other predators.
- Savute – some of the best of the Okavango
- A mix of water and land in one of the highest wildlife density areas on the planet
- Learn more at the bottom of the page at this link
Kwai Camp Main Lodge