Deluxe African Photo Safari--Botswana 2012

2012-11-28 11:00 - 2012-12-12 18:00

We've just finished our 8th:
Deluxe Modular Digital Photo Safari to Botswana




Female Leopard (Legadima) scouting for Prey
Okavango Delta, May 2008 Photo Safari

NOTE: We've now announced trips for 2012 and 2013 which you can also see under the "Photo Safaris" menu on our home page.
This web page is for our already completed 2011 Photo Safari and is for reference only.

I'm very excited to be going back to Southern Africa after the great trips we've had in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and our just completed 2009 trip. Our next scheduled trip--May, 2011--features a uniquely modular design so you can go on all or just some parts of it to accomodate your time and budget.

For those able to join us at the beginning, after arriving at Victoria Falls for a visit to the falls, some quick photo instruction and making sure all our gear is in working order and we've dealt with jet lag we'll head to the spectacular Little Makalolo Camp in the famous Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe for four nights with full days of game drives each day.

If you don't have enough time to join us for the beginning of the trip you can join us in the world famous Okavango Delta in Botswana where we will head next for three nights at the newly rebuilt Chitabe Camp. This is my all time favorite camp for truck-based game viewing, with a long-term and dedicated staff of guides and managers who always make us feel like part of the family. On our most recent trip they found a pack of 21 Wild Dogs for us--including 12 pups--and it was the experience of a lifetime to spend time watching them meet, greet, hunt, feed and play. The camp also featurres an excellent concentration of other big cats, including leopard and cheetah as well as lion. And of course plenty of antelope, giraffe, zebra and other general game animals.

We hope you enjoy our slideshow from our just completed photo safari to Botswana.

No trip to Botswana would be complete without a visit to the wet areas in the Okavango Delta so we'll be finishing the bush portion of our trip with four nights in the unique Little Vumbura Camp--sited on its own island with dug-out canoes and boating as optional alternatives to the traditional vehicle based game drives. For good reason it is the single most popular camp in Botswana--booking up full well in advance every year. We may have a chance to see one of their prides of Lion hunting Cape Buffalo and it is always a good place for photographing leopards, as well as general game including several large breeding herds of elephants and the very rare Sable antelope. An amazing variety of exotic shore and wading birds also abound in the Delta and we'll have some great opportunities to photograph them, ranging from the tiny Malachite Kingfisher to the huge Goliath Heron.

Tent at Little Vumbura CampTent at Little Vumbura Camp

From there we'll head back to South Africa where those who need to head home will leave us and those wishing to unwind from the frenetic energy of the safari will go with us to Capetown for a relaxing visit where we'll spend a few days seeing one of the most beautiful areas in the southern hemisphere with everything from seals to mountain scenics.

Action photography is key to great safari photographs. We'll have lessons in camp and in the field on some great tips for capturing action shots like this one.

Based on experience in previous trips to these state of the art camps, we'll see well over 100 species of animals including Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, Elephant, Giraffe and many colorful species of Antelope. The dozens of mammals species will be complemented by possibly well over a hundred species of birds, many of which we'll be able to photograph. We also have a very good chance of seeing the very rare Wild Dogs on this trip.

For some samples, visit our: 2009 trip Photo Gallery, 2008 trip Photo Gallery, Photo Essay from 2007, & May 2006 trip Photo Gallery.

You can flip through a slideshow of our Highlights from over the years, or sit back and enjoy the multimedia version:


Top of the line Pro Instruction!

Wildlife & Travel Photo Instruction: All participants will have plenty of 1-1 personal instruction time while we're in the field on game drives. We'll also have focused sessions on taking great scenics and travel photographs. There will be two full time professional nature and wildlife photographers on the trip, insuring that you're never more than a question away from professional and expert advice. (If the trip has 6 or less participants, we'll likely just have me, but if we get a full trip I'll be joined by Dana Allen, who is the genius behind most of the images you've seen on the Wilderness Safaris website and in their gorgeous catalogs. Born and trained in the US Dana has been teaching photography at the University level and working professionally as a wildlife and commercial photographer in southern Africa for almost two decades.)

Classroom Photo Instruction: As always, we will have a projector and screen with us and will be providing optional photo instruction in digital workflow and image editing. We've also added a printing session, using a portable printer we'll help you get your once in a lifetime images onto paper--and teach you how to use those skills when you return home.

Many of the camps we'll be using have options for daily activities including walking game drives or boating. In particular, non-shooters or casual shooters along on the trip may be interested in participating in some of those activities while the rest of us are on more traditional vehicle based game drives. The small size of our group and the small size of the camps allow us to be very flexible, so please let us know your preferences as we go along.

Itinerary for our May, 2011 Wildlife Safari

May 8, 9: Victoria Falls
We'll be staying at the historic Victoria Falls Hotel, one of the Leading Hotels of the World group and situated right near the famous Victoria Falls, with beautiful views of the railroad bridge and Zambezi River gorge. May is when the Falls, known as "The Smoke That Thunders" (Mosi-O-Tunya in the local language) will be at their peak flow for the year. We'll have a chance to take a sunset river cruise in the river above the falls and of course will photograph the falls and the surrounding park. We'll also get a chance to go over the basics of safari photography with a classroom session and of ensure everyone's gear is workng correctly before we head into the bush.

Baby Elephant with Mother, Okavango Delta, Botswana

May 10, 11, 12, 13: Little Makololo Camp, Zimbabwe
Situated in the world famous Hwange National Park "Little Mak" as it is affectionately known by its fans is an oasis of peace and wildlife activity with an amazing varied selection of viewing and photographic opportunities in a pristine location. As one of the few camps located within the park boundaries, it offers intimate privacy and a sense of seclusion. The Makalolo area is ecologically diverse, ensuring great numbers of animals year-round and an unforgettable experience.

You can read the glowing reviews for Little Mak on now Little Mak is one of the best wildlife experiences in Africa, several of our co-leads and partners have just led wonderful trips there. Of course if there are any issues related to the situation in Zimbabwe we will instead stay at a similar camp in Botswana or Zambia, so there won't be any type of safety issue.

(or Arrive May 13 for an overnight in Johannesburg and fly up to Botswana to meet us on May 14 if you choose the "Pure Botswana" Option)

May 14, 15, 16: Chitabe Camp, in the Southern Okavango Delta
We'll arrive in time for an afternoon drive on the 14th, followed by three nights at the newly remodeled Chitabe Camp. with two high quality game drives each day and time for spotlighting in the evening after "sun-downers". Afternoons will feature time to work on images at our "portable digital lab" and optional photo "tech talks" on topics of interest to wildlife photographers. Evenings will also feature contributed slides highlighting the days images, with optional feedback from our pro photographers. On the final morning we'll have time for a game drive and then head by charter aircraft north to the mouth of the Okavango Delto to the Vumbura airstrip.

Baby Elephant with Mother, Okavango Delta, Botswana

May 17, 18, 19, 20: Little Vumbura, in the Northern Okavango Delta
We'll arrive in time for a game drive on the afternoon of the 17th, followed by hree nights back in the Okavango at the very unique Little Vumbura camp, where those interested will be able to mix boating and traditional mokoros (dugout canoes) with vehicle-based game drives. Nature walks are also an option for those desiring a change of pace. Each day we'll have time for full morning and afternoon activities--either two vehicle based game drives or for those who prefer a mixture of vehicle, walking, and boating. Even fishing is available here. Afternoons will feature time to work on images at our "portable digital lab" and optional photo "tech talks" on topics of interest to wildlife photographers. Evenings will also feature contributed slides highlighting the days images, with optional feedback from our pro photographers. Our last evening in the bush will feature a slideshow of our favorite images from the trip. We'll have time for a game drive or a Mokoro trip--featuring specatuclar frogs and other great macro subjects--on our final morning before heading back to Maun and from there to Johannesburg.

May 21: Fly home or optional overnight in South Africa
We'll have a final morning game drive on the 21st, before brunch and our mid-day charter flight transfer to Maun and return flight to Johannesburg (possibly with time for a quick bit of final souvenir shopping in Maun before we leave Botswana) for a relaxing evening with an optional group dinner and overnight at the Grace Hotel Rosebank or Tintswalo Resort for those desiring more time before their flights home or wanting to tour historic Soweto while they are in southern Africa. Or continue on with optional extensions (some ideal extensions are to see and photograph the Meerkats in the Kalahari, spend more time in some of the specialty camps in the Okavango Delta or visit the famous wine country in South Africa or the trendy Capetown area). Anyone needing to get home quickly can plan on skipping the final night and flying straight back on the 25th.

May 22-24: Optional Kalahari Extension (3 nights, although may be full so check with us)
See a very different part of Africa with a visit to an old time safari camp with all the traditional luxuries amidst the vast Kalahari desert and salt pans. Photograph Meerkats eye to eye as well as Zebra and possibly the elusive Kalahari "black-maned" lions. Walk with and learn from bushmen.

Remember: These are not your average African safaris. We have extra luggage room for camera equipment, extra power in the camps for re-charging your cameras and laptops, dedicated photo instruction from professional photographers, guides who have been trained to help get clients in position for good photos, less clients per vehicle (typically 3 or 4 instead of the 7 or 8 you'd get on a typical safari), exclusive use of many camps and have carefully built our itinerary around getting the best photographic opportunities possible.

Price & Costs:

Full Deluxe Falls Experience & Wildlife Safari (14-days, 13-nights) $15,500 (early bird $14,900 until March 31, 2010):
Enjoy the full variety of sights and locations including Victoria Falls, Little Mak in Hwange Park, Chitabe in the Southern Okavango Delta and Little Vumbura in the Northern Okavango Delta. Price includes all local transportation and charter flights during the trip, hotels and camps, meals, drinks (open bar in all camps) laundry in the camps, guide and entrance fees. Not included are international airfare, gratuities, and incidentals.

"Pure Botswana" Safari (9-days, 8-nights) $13,500 (early bird $12,900 until March 31, 2010):
After an overnight in Johannesburg join us in Botswana for our tour of the Northern and Southern Okavango Delta at Chitabe and Little Vumbura Camps. Price includes all local transportation and charter flights during the trip, hotels and camps, meals, drinks (open bar in all camps) laundry in the camps, guide and entrance fees. Not included are international airfare, gratuities, and incidentals.

Taste of Africa Safari (10-days, 9-nights) $13,500 (early bird $12,900 until March 31, 2010):
If you don't have the time for our full trip you can get the full African safari experience by joining us for Victoria Falls as well as at Little Mak in Hwange and Chitabe in the Okavango Delta and then head home directly from there. Price includes all local transportation and charter flights during the trip, hotels and camps, meals, drinks (open bar in all camps) laundry in the camps, guide and entrance fees. Not included are international airfare, gratuities, and incidentals.

To sign-up: The trip includes all of the lodging, meals, drinks, transportation, camps, guiding, charter aircraft, etc. except for tips and your international airfare to Victoria Falls and back from Maun (we can of course help you get those tickets). Due to the uniquely small camps we use and their over-whelming popularity we do need sign-ups fairly early. Guarantee your place with a $2500 deposit. Our most recent safaris have all sold out, and the camps will sell out for sure so if you are interested email us at safaris [at] or call us at +1.650.851.8350 to reserve your place now.

Note on Single travelers: If you are traveling solo and willing to share then if we can find you a room mate you only need to pay the double occupancy cost. If we can not then we may need to add a surcharge for the open space (please contact us for details). If you want your own accommodations please contact us to see if a single supplement is available (due to the unique nature of the camps and their strictly limited number of tents we can not always offer this option and when it is it is often quite expensive).

Our Operating Partners:

Journeys Unforgettable handles our local arrangements and planning extensions for our clients. Steve & Brennan have years of experience in organizing and leading trips to Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. They are both avid photographers, and have been helping organize and lead my trips with me since 2005.

Wilderness Safaris is without question the very best camp operator in Southern Africa. They own and operate many camps which are used by very high end tour operators like Kerr & Downey -- where you'd pay more and get a lot less of the photo extras we are providing for this trip. Wilderness has been working with us from the beginning on our Digital Photo safaris and always support us above and beyond the call of duty. There policy of not allowing hunting on any of their concessions also helps greatly with our access to unstressed animals. They also provide a portion of all of their revenue to local non-profit development efforts through the Wilderness Trust and Children in the Wilderness.


Read what George Lepp thought about his 2007 trip with Journeys, and what many other past participants had to say.

Lion Pride, Linyanti Region, Botswana, Africa
Taken on 2008 Cardinal Photo Safari
Converted to Black & White as a Class Exercise

Equipment: Wildlife photography does have equipment needs, of course. All participants will receive detailed assistance and suggested and alternate photo and general travel equipment options. We'll also help you decide if your existing photo gear is suitable or what additional equipment might make your experience more enjoyable. We have a partnership with B&H Photo B&H sales department as well as my co-leaders and myself are of course available to help you sort out specific equipment requirements.

General Notes: The exact camps may change due to weather or local conditions, but if we do need to make a change it'll be to a similar camp. Trip logistics normally include a night in Johannesburg before and after the time in the bush, so you need to allow an extra day on each end. Of course, our staff will be happy to help with any questions before, during and after the trip.

You can place a deposit online or by check

We'd love to have you join us on one of these "Trips of a lifetime". After having been all over the world, there is no place better for photographing wildlife than Botswana. For anyone who is serious about photographing animals the trip is worth it!--David Cardinal

PS If you're not ready to sign up yet but want to be kept informed as we finalize pricing, please email us at safaris [at] to let us know.

For more information:
E-mail: safaris [at]
or Call +1.650.851.8350

Female Leopard Examining our Safari TruckFemale Leopard Examining our Safari Truck


Help support our site by buying through our B&H and Amazon links

Our site and all its free photo-related information and reviews are funded through the revenue we receive from our affiliate partners. So if we helped you with your photography, or deciding on a new piece of gear, please consider purchasing it through our affiliate links to B&H Photo, or if you'd prefer our link to (or the search boxes on our home page). Even if what you're buying isn't what you saw on our site, it'll still help us out, and doesn't cost you anything. Thanks!