Travel in a small group of 12 with a guaranteed window seat.. Join multiple aware winning landscape & people photographer Ben Mcrae on this 11 day journey through Botswana.. This trip is designed for beginners to professionals and all tastes are catered for. Ben will be on hand to offer full hands on tuition.. The thundering Victoria Falls is one of the world’s most spectacular natural wonders, a phenomenon of sight and sound.
Join multiple award winning landscape & people photographer Ben Mcrae on this 11 day journey through Botswana. This trip is designed for beginners to professionals and all tastes are catered for. Ben will be on hand to offer full hands on tuition. At each location he will offer insightful workshops on how to capture what is before you; landscapes, animals, people, astrophotography and, editing sessions.
Game Drive in 4×4’s in Chobe national Park, Spot wildlife on a Chobe River Cruise, Track Meerkats in the Makgkadigkadi Pans, Enjoy sundowners by ancient Baobab trees, get up close and personal to resident elephants from an underground photography bunker, venture into Moremi National Park for a night of mobile camping and Game Drives, Spend a full day with the San Bushmen and learn about these fascinating hunter-gatherers.
Breakfast Included: 10 Lunches Included: 7 Lunches Included: 10
An airport arrival transfer is included. This transfer is only valid if arriving on day 1 or if you have booked pre-trip accommodation through Intrepid. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking, or at a minimum 15 days prior to travel (note - we may not be able confirm request made within 15 days of travel). Once you have provided your details a transfer representative will be booked to meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel.
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 1. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. Excellent optional activities include a boat cruise along the Zambezi, morning and afternoon game drives, or walks in the Zambezi National Park. You might also choose an awe-inspiring helicopter flight over the Falls and the Zambezi Gorges.
Tonight you will dine at the incredible Boma Restaurant, whose menu has been known to include warthog, buffalo, crocodile, impala and more. Throughout the meal you'll be entertained with local song and dance. Everyone is given an African drum and encouraged to join the party. (If you don’t wish to join in with the drumming you may wish to choose an earlier session for dinner.)
The evening is also an ideal opportunity to get to know your photographic guide, Ben McRae. During the night’s festivities, Ben will have a chance to speak to you personally. However, this is not just a meet and greet. Ben will be looking to learn what you would like to take away from this experience, and any specific skills you would like to develop over the course of the trip. As Ben will also be offering personalised lessons during the trip, this time together will allow him to understand your photographic journey and how he can help you in the coming days.
Chobe National Park
This morning you will visit the magnificent Victoria Falls, named by Dr David Livingstone in honour of his English queen. One of the world's true natural wonders, Victoria Falls form the largest sheet of falling water in the world, when in full flow. The group will enter the park as soon as the gates open to make the most of the early morning sun, which rises behind the falls and illuminates the vast plumes of spray that bellow from Bakoka Gorge. Your photographic guide will lead you to the best vantage points to capture the sunrise. During the morning you will be able to cover the falls from many different perspectives, ensuring you come away with a range of images of this spectacular waterfall. Your Intrepid leader will also be available for those who wish to learn more about the falls and its detailed history.
After your tour, follow the Zambezi River to Botswana and make your way to Chobe National Park (100km approximately 2–3 hours, not including border formalities). You will arrive at your lodge at around midday.
In the afternoon, embark on a boat safari along the picturesque Chobe River, one of the photographic highlights of this trip and an ideal location for spotting bird life such as saddle-billed storks, malachite kingfishers, fish eagles and beautiful bee-eaters. As well as hippos, crocodiles and large families of elephants.
We will be using a custom made 'Pangolin' photography boat with individual photographic seats. Each seat rotates a full 360 degrees and is equipped with a mounting to rest a DSLR camera zoom lens. Seats are arranged down the centre of the boat which allows maximum storage space on either side for extra lenses and gear. More importantly, it also limits any potential obstruction by the adjacent photographer.
Swimming elephants are a special sight on the Chobe River and these boats provide a unique vantage point. We are able to get into the perfect position every time - without fail. The hull is very stable and there is also plenty of room for all your equipment.
Ben McRae will be on hand to offer tips and advice from his many years in the area. Due to our smaller group size and the room we have on board there will be a chance to get more personalised photographic tuition during the afternoons session if you wish.
You will spend the night in a chalet located just outside Chobe National Park.
Senyati Safari Camp
This morning you will enjoy a game drive in Chobe National Park. The early departure will hopefully allow the group to photograph some of the park’s predators in the warm morning light. The park is famous for its lions, leopards and wild dogs and it’s possible to spot these predators at the river’s edge. The strip of reserve that runs parallel to the river offers some of the best game viewing in Africa and predatory kills are frequently seen here. As this is a game drive, nothing can be promised but Chobe is likely to leave you with full SD cards and happy memories. After a few hours, return to the lodge for breakfast. It is essential to wear extra layers of clothing in the morning as the game drive will make use of an open vehicle.
We then make our way to Senyati Safari Camp situated in the Lesoma Valley. The camp is self catering and your crew will prepare meals during your stay here. Although Senyati Safari Camp is very private, the waterhole knows no privacy. A variety of animals come and go throughout the day. The waterhole is frequented by a good variety of species such as hyena, banded mongoose, warthogs, roan antelope, monkey baboons, buffalo, sable, elephants and the occasional leopard.
In the afternoon the group will spend time in an underground photography bunker which, after a short climb down a ladder and a walk through the bunkers, will bring you to viewing seats looking out through small slits onto a waterhole. The viewpoint is a mere three metres from the water’s edge. This Hide provides photographers with an amazing perspective on the action. Silence is a must in the bunker. While it is possible to see herds of elephants here, nothing can be guaranteed. Ben will also be offering his advice while observing from an elevated deck overlooking the waterhole.
Stay overnight at Senyati Safari Camp.
Rise early and perhaps spend some more time in the underground photography bunker. This extra time might allow you to capture an amazing photo or two of thirsty predators or antelope stopping for a morning drink.
Heading south, you will continue your journey (410 kilometres, approximately 6 hours) to the Makgadikgadi Pans for an afternoon excursion. Witness the immensity of this sprawling salt flat, one of the largest in the world. Later you will head to Gweta Lodge, located near the edge of the pans.
In the afternoon, leave the lodge in an open game vehicle to and travel out to the Nxaisini pan. Here you’ll sit out in the wild enjoying sundowners and snacks while observing the amazing scenery and beautiful baobab trees.
There may be an opportunity to take part in an astrophotography or startrail session ( time dependent ). Depending on the moon phase you will be given a step-by-step walkthrough on how to create amazing night images and stunning star trails. Ben will be on hand to ensure you understand each step in the process before introducing light painting techniques into these images.
Back at the lodge, relax in the lounge area while you take in your surroundings and reflect on the day's adventure.
Today we will spend a full day out exploring the Makgadikgadi Pans.
With the aid of trackers you’ll spend some time in the company of the local meerkat colony, and look out for elephants that meander their way down to the watering hole to quench their thirst.
Today’s photography will focus on capturing some of the smaller creatures we encounter. Ben will offer some unique ideas to help create images that have depth and character. You may also be introduced to less common techniques that will help add another dimension to your photography portfolio.
After breakfast this morning, it's time to head to Maun, the gateway of the Okavango Delta (approximately 4 hours). For those interested, there is the opportunity to fly over the delta in a small plane for a bird's-eye view. This is a great way to appreciate the vast scale of this waterscape. Your leader can give you more information on this optional activity and how to reserve a place.Those who choose to take the additional flight will have a short workshop with Ben to cover techniques on capturing images from the sky.
If you elect not to join the additional flight, the afternoon yours to spend as you please.
This evening there will be a chance to sit down and undergo a post-processing workshop. In this class you will be shown some subtle techniques for making your images pop. Ben's attitude to post-processing is to try and capture images as best you can in camera while in the field, but with a few digital enhancements and selective editing you will be shown how to fine-tune your images for extra impact. This session will also show you how to process the photographs you took in Gweta. Please note that this workshop may take place on Day 8.
Moremi Game Reserve
Journey out into the Moremi Game Reserve for a unique mobile bush camping experience. You will be joined by expert local guides and staff who have grown up in the bush or in rural Botswana, and so will have the best tips for spotting wildlife. Your camp will be set up within the Moremi Game Reserve before you arrive. Enjoy an afternoon game drive in the park before settling in at camp for the night. Nothing quite compares to sleeping 'Under Canvas' and drifting off to sleep to the sounds of the African night.
In addition to travelling deeper into the Okavango Delta, today’s session will help further refine your wildlife photography skills. Ben will be on hand to offer further advice on composition, exposure in testing conditions, and to help develop some new techniques you may have not used before.
Enjoy a morning game drive before heading back to Maun, You may like to organise an optional flight over the delta if you missed out on Day 6. The scenic flight offers a bird's-eye view – a great way to appreciate the immensity of this watery world. Your leader can give you more information on this activity and how to book.
Ghanzi – Central Kalahari
Travel on to Ghanzi, the 'Capital of the Kalahari' (400 kilometres, approximately 7 hours). Your accommodation tonight is at a community project in Ghanzi and is a little more basic than what you will encounter throughout your journey. However, the concept and experience of Dqae Qare San Lodge is well worth it. It is run and owned by the local San Bushmen and supports the San D'Kar community through employment. There is an impressive concentration of bird life here, and you may wish to go for a walk before dinner to stretch your legs after today's long stint in the vehicle. A three-course meal, prepared by the local women, will be served in the communal lounge and dining area. There is also an 'honesty' bar with wine, beer and soft drinks available to buy.
Later this evening you will be treated to an enlightening cultural experience. As you sit around the campfire, the Bushmen will conduct a ‘healing ceremony’. The Bushmen dance in a sand circle around the flames, slowly working themselves into a trance by their chanting and dancing, while others are seated outside the circle, clapping and singing. Occasionally the dancers will leave the circle to place their healing hands on their fellow Bushmen. It’s a privilege to sit and witness this traditional ceremony.
There will be a number of opportunities to take photographs during the ceremony. Using the low light you will be able to create some interesting images with movement and flash. A tripod is recommended to ensure images are sharp and to reduce motion blur.
Make the most of the opportunity to spend a full day with the San people. Learn more about these fascinating people believed to be Southern Africa's oldest inhabitants. The community delight in sharing their culture and extraordinary knowledge of the Kalahari with travellers through bush walks, traditional dancing, fire making, craft making, trapping and story telling.
Today you will explore a number of different photography styles, with Ben taking the group through a portrait workshop. He will be able to observe and provide feedback to you throughout the shoot. Ben will also offer advice on how to create environmental portraits, which is one of his favourite styles of photography. There will be an additional workshop for those who’d like to learn how to use off-camera flash.
Cross the border into Namibia today and head to Windhoek (560 kilometres, approximately 9 hours, including border formalities). This trip will end on arrival.
Notes: It's best not to book any flights out of Windhoek tonight. The airport is a one-hour drive from town, and although you should comfortably make it to the hotel in Windhoek by 5pm, it can be difficult to get to the airport in time for outbound flights.
No accommodation is included for tonight, but can be requested at your own expense.