2014 Botswana Photo Safari was a Success!
Just home from my 12th Botswana photo safari tour and it was spectacular! If you look through my past “recent trips” reports you’ll see that I often write how amazing this trip is and how quite often it turns out to be one of “the best trips” I’ve ever taken. Well…..here I go again!
Images by Roy Toft Photo Safaris
This was possibly the best wildlife photo trip I’ve ever led!!
This year started upon landing in the Okavango Delta and having our guides from Chitabe Camp ask us whether we would like to go directly to the lodge or go photograph a mother Cheetah with 3 cubs!!! Tough call (ha)…30 minutes later we were watching and photographing our first exciting subjects. Without exaggeration, every game drive, morning and evening, followed this theme of something extraordinary to watch and photograph.
Coalition of 4 male lions – Botswana Photo Safari Tour 2014 — © Roy Toft
Our first four days was spent with these Cheetahs, for evening and morning, as well as multiple groups of lions, including a coalition of 4 male lions and another of 3 male lions!. We spent two full days with a pregnant Leopard who stalked and killed a female Impala right in front of us. We also had a terrific family group of lions that put on a real show for us playing and chasing each other through the water at sunset. Thank you Chitabe!
With our hard drives already full of great images, we headed to our next Okavango camp…Vumbura. This beautiful camp is located right on a magnificent flood plain and very quickly we found that we didn’t need to go far from the camp to be in prime wildlife photography heaven. African Wild Hunting Dogs were next on the photography schedule with our group spending a total of 5 drives (morning and evening) following a pack of these complex, interesting canids. On our 3rd day we even witnessed the pack of 18 dogs take a full grown Tsessebe in a small pond 10 yards in front of us! This is something I have never seen in all my dozen years following and watching Wild Dogs. It wasn’t ALL about the dogs however as we spend some very good quality time with great lions, including a coalition of two big males. One of my favorite images of the entire trip is one of these big male lions as he crossed a large swampy region in search of his brother. It is often the most difficult type of image to capture — one in which the subject and background give someone the entire “sense” of a place or environment. This image was my “Okavango image.” Some other notable moments on my 2014 Botswana Photo Tour included a Southern Ground Hornbill with a young Puff Adder, and a scenic Lechwe observed from a helicopter…so fun!
Our last camp was Kings Pool in the northern Linyanti region. I primarily go here for their large herds of Elephants as well as their good numbers of Wild Hunting Dogs. Our first evening drive was along the Linyanti River where we witnessed a group of 40-50 Elephants make a dramatic river crossing from Namibia to Botswana! This was exactly why we were here…perfect timing Ele’s! We then found a nice pack of 15 Wild Dogs and spent two full days following them through the brush as they attempted to make a kill. Following Wild Dogs as they spread out through the environment and scare-up game is probably one of the most exciting wildlife viewing around. Along with all these predators and charismatic mega fauna, we also spent quality time watching and photographing: dragonflies, Bee eaters, Giraffes, Zebra, Vultures, Eagles, Kudu, Storks, Egrets, Cranes, Rollers, Frogs, snakes, lizards…on and on!
In only 11 months I get to do this again!! Join me on my next Botswana Photo Safari Tour!