This trip was originally created as a “pre-trip” for our Zimanga Private Game Reserve Safari. While fairly short in duration, it’s a great base to build your safari from. Consider adding Zimanga to your trip or maybe the Okavango to the front end of this schedule.

Destination: Chobe National Park, Botswana

Date: July 18-23,2024

Group Size: Maximum of 8 guests, as interest is typically high for this trip, if we exceed 8 guests, we will make best efforts to secure a second vehicle and/or photo boat for the group.

Cost: $4595 sharing, $4,995 Single Room

This trip includes one night in Johannesburg upon your arrival in South Africa, flights to/from Kasane, Botswana and 5 days/4 nights at the award-winning Pangolin Chobe hotel. We will greet you upon your arrival in Johannesburg on July 17 and have an arrival dinner as a group. The following morning we will fly to Kasane, Botswana, the gateway to Chobe National Park. We will have game drives on our arrival day at Chobe (July 18), twice daily activities on July 19, 20, 21 as well as a final activity on July 22 before our return flight to Johannesburg.

Initial Deposit: $2,000

Leader: Buddy Eleazer ( Buddy’s bio at this link) and Don Schroder (Don’s bio at this link.)

Safari Origination Point and Conclusion Point: This safari begins and ends in Johannesburg, South Africa

This is an excellent all-inclusive trip. You need to fly into Johannesburg, OR Tambo International Airport by July 17, 2023. From there, we handle details and life is easy. On your arrival day, we will cover lodging and breakfast at a hotel adjacent to the airport. Mid-morning on the July 19th, we will fly you into Kasane, Botswana where you will be transferred to our lodge. After unpacking, we will head out for our first activity.

Typically, we have a mix of land and water-based excursions with about 2/3 of the time shooting from the photo boats. You can expect large elephant herds, as well as hippos and other large mammals will almost always be in sight Along the river there are plenty of antelope species including red lechwe, impala and kudu as well as Cape buffalo. Many species of storks and herons also frequent the river and, of course, we always are looking for the moments when we can find a troop of baboons playing at water’s edge. We will also keep an eye out for big cats as this is always an amazing sighting.

© Buddy Eleazer

During your stay, There will be a mix of shooting from specially designed photo boats and land-based game drives. While shooting from the water is amazing, going inland provides increase chances of getting close to other species including giraffe, Zebra and larger Cape buffalo herds, In addition, sightings of leopard and lion are often more common on the land routes. This is why we like to mix the land and water options during your stay.

We have selected a lodge designed for photographers. This lodge just won the prestigious “Africa’s Leading New Hotel 2019”. The heart of the Pangolin Chobe Lodge is the dining room, editing area, bar and pool terrace. The aim of the Pangolins Chobe Lodge is to have an inclusive elegant and relaxed atmosphere where you immediately feel like you are a part of a club.  The walls are adorned with amazing wildlife images to inspire you, and there are plenty of places to relax and spend time with your fellow travelers. The lodge also has projection equipment to allow presentations and image sharing, and maybe most importantly, game-drive vehicles specifically designed for optimizing your photography.

The Months of July on the Chobe River

We have been to this region of Africa many times. For this special workshop, we have selected July for several reasons:

  • First and foremost, we want to be on the Chobe River during the dry season because this drives all wildlife to the river’s edge to find life sustaining water. This provides a higher density of wildlife which leads to great wildlife viewing and photography for you!
  • Despite being the dry season, the Chobe River is still a large river. The Chobe receives a lot of water from the Angola Highlands and these high-water levels create submerged islands of hippo grass. The elephants love to swim out to these islands to graze and we love to photograph swimming elephants!
  • It is a great time of year for a Victoria Falls Day Trip. The Chobe feeds the Zambezi River which in turn feeds Victoria Falls. In July the high flow at the Falls will show the true power of the river. Be prepared to be awe-struck!

© Buddy Eleazer

The Game-Drive Experience

  • What we expect to see – Chobe National Park is home to the largest population of elephants in the world. During the dry season, the waterfront supports over 50,000 elephants. There is more to Chobe than just these pachyderms, with more than 75 mammal species and 450 bird types, you will also encounter buffalos, impala, giraffe, zebras, impala, sable, waterbuck, puku, warthog and predators such as lions and leopards.
  • From the water, we will shoot from a specially designed photo boat. We have one eight-seater custom-built photo boat with fully rotating chairs and fitted with state-of-the-art camera mounts. Generally, we take this boat out at first light and again in the late afternoon for up to three hours each time. The Chobe river offers excellent photographic and game viewing opportunities from the famous Chobe elephants to smaller inhabitants like tiny Malachite Kingfishers that flit along the banks.
  • On land, the Unimog is a beast of a machine. Designed by the German military, it will go through any type of terrain without problems come rain or shine. We chose the Unimog as our photo platform because you’ll be able to photograph from either side of the vehicle at any particular sighting. You’ll have your own designated seat with its own bean bag and an additional bean bag to use on the opposite side of the vehicle which you simply move across to. With this arrangement, you’ll avoid the frustration of a fellow photographer blocking your shot at that crucial moment as in traditional game viewers.

We love shooting from both the land and the water. From the past, some clients prefer land and some prefer the boats; however, slightly more like shooting from the water so we will schedule for 2/3 of our outing to be from the photo boats and 1/3 of our game drives will be on land.

© Buddy Eleazer

The Instruction

There is no better way to improve your wildlife photography than in the best classroom in the world – The African Bush. This package will appeal to photographers of all levels of experience and ability who want a more immersive safari experience at some of the best photo locations in Botswana. No matter how much you think you know there’s always something more to learn when it comes to wildlife photography. And our experienced photo group leaders will be on hand throughout this safari to help you do just that!

The photo lead on this trip is  Buddy Eleazer. Buddy is an internationally recognized award-winning photographer and OM System Ambassador. You can read more about Buddy at this link.

The Lodge

The Pangolin Chobe Lodge is situated on the hill above the town of Kasane, the gateway to the Chobe National Park. We are a three-minute drive from the newly rebuilt Kasane International Airport.

At the Pangolin Chobe Lodge, there are a total of 14 bedrooms, and we have reserved 4 of them. If we have single supplement clients, we will work to secure additional rooms. The bedrooms are configured as either double beds or two singles and all en-suite with the toilet and shower. Each of the rooms has a private balcony with spectacular views across the Chobe floodplains. The rooms are all air-conditioned with plenty of plug points and places to store camera gear and luggage.

We have already mentioned the dining room, editing area, bar and pool terrace. But there is more! On the upper floor is the bar with a table dedicated to editing and workshops. On certain evenings, we like to have a braai (a South African barbecue).

My spouse/friend doesn’t shoot. What about non-photographers?

We openly admit that we’ve designed this Africa trip for photography. However, for the non-photographer, this trip will also be extremely entertaining and enjoyable. The wildlife is there for everyone, and we will give you a front-row seat. In addition, our guides are expert at identifying the various species and also at answering any questions you might have related to the wildlife. We’ve taken many non-photographers to this destination, and all have enjoyed the trip. By the way, if a non-photographer wants to try their hand at shooting, we will provide a camera and lens for you to give it a try!

For more examples of scenes, you can expect to see, visit Buddy’s photos from our 2022 trips to Africa at this link.

© Buddy Eleazer

What is Included:

  • One arrival night in Johannesburg (July 18, 2024)
  • Four nights lodging at Pangolin Chobe Lodge (July 19, 20, 21, 22) with departure after morning activities and breakfast on July 23)
  • All meals
  • Round trip airfare from Johannesburg (JNB) to Chobe National Park (BBK)
  • Relevant Park Fees
  • Twice daily activities including photography from the photo boat and game drives by vehicle within Chobe NP
  • Domestic beer and wines
  • Laundry Service

What is NOT included:

  • International airfare between your home and Kasane, Botswana (BBK)
  • Personal purchases (including curios, spirits, telephone calls, etc.)
  • Tips for the guides and hotel staff while at Chobe

© Buddy Eleazer

The Cost

The cost of this all-inclusive safari is $4595per person sharing. If a single, there is a supplemental charge  of $4,995 for a private room. The same rate applies for each participant regardless of whether they are doing photography or just enjoying the beauty of nature. This fee includes airfare from Johannesburg to/from Chobe National Park, any ground transfers as well as hotel accommodation and all meals. There is a non-refundable initial deposit of $2,000 for this trip. The remaining payment will be due May 1, 2024.

Necessary Fine Print: We encourage everyone to consider travel insurance. Botswana is a stable country, but Covid has changed the way one should consider travel. The world is changing, and Africa is changing with it. We will attempt to adhere to this itinerary as much as possible. However, certain conditions (global pandemic, political, climatic, environmental, cultural, or wildlife migrations) may necessitate changes in the itinerary. We reserve the right to alter any itinerary at any time, if necessary. We 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.

CANCELLATION TERMS:

If you must cancel, Magnum Excursions needs written cancellation notification. All cancellations are only effective once confirmed in writing by our office.

A non-refundable deposit is required to hold a spot for all Photo Workshops and Safaris.  Please note that the initial deposit is 100% non-refundable. For payments made after the initial deposit, Magnum Excursions LLC will retain the following percentages of the money paid.

  • Your initial deposit is 100% non-refundable
  • If you cancel 181 days or more prior to the program start date, Magnum Excursions will retain your initial deposit plus 25% of additional invoiced amount paid
  • If you cancel between 120 and 180 days prior to program start date, Magnum Excursions LLC will retain your initial deposit plus 50% of all additional invoiced amount paid
  • NO REFUND will be provided on cancellations made within 120 days of the program start date

Please note: For personal convenience, some clients make payments in excess of invoiced amounts. Except as stated above, Magnum Excursions LLC will refund 100% of these excess payments made beyond the invoiced amounts.

Please note: All refunds are subject to commission and/or bank charges.

Trip cancellation insurance is strongly recommended to enable recovery of deposits in the event of a need to cancel participation for medical or personal reasons covered by the policy.

What Do I Do Next?

This group size is small. Space is extremely limited. If this exciting trip fits you, and if you’re excited by the thought of seeing nature while taking your photography to the next level, then now is the time to register. Remember, there is limited space available for this trip. When they’re spoken for, that’s it. If you have any questions or wish to register, send us an e-mail with any inquiries to buddy.eleazer@gmail.com.

© Buddy Eleazer

Last modified: January 25, 2024

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