Read Part I & Part II

PART III: Feedback from the two days spent on the Chobe River on a recent Tusk Photo Botswana Overland Tour.

Our Botswana Overland Tour was slowly coming to an end and after four leopard and wild dog filled days in Khwai and a lion bonanza in Savute, Chobe Safari Lodge was the perfect place to spend our last two nights.

Open wide, Mr Hippo! (AM cruise – 14 May 2016)

Our first photographic boat cruise started around 7am and minutes after we officially entered the Chobe National Park we were welcomed by a very playful troop of Chacma baboons. Parents sat grooming each other as babies and their older siblings rushed up and down the main trunk of the tree they had slept in. Smaller branches were used as a jungle gym as the little ones showed off their agility in stunning morning light.

A lot of time was spent photographing hippos in the water, hoping that they would yawn, lock jaws or splash around. Drinking impalas were also within range of our lenses, as were a great variety of water birds, including African fish eagles and -jacanas, grey herons, little egrets and Egyptian geese, which zoomed past us noisily on more than one occasion.

The Pangolin Photo Safaris boats are such a joy to photograph from, providing support for heavy lenses and the opportunity to photograph animals and birds at eye-level over the water.

Up close and personal (PM cruise – 14 May 2016)

Shortly after 15:30 we found two extremely relaxed elephant bulls grazing in a floating island of grass in the middle of the river. We circled them a few times and had the unique and unforgettable opportunity to take wide-angle shots with our cameras held centimetres above the water – within three metres of where they stood!!

We found more elephants dust bathing on the bank of the river, a water monitor relaxing in the sun and a pride of lions resting in a clearing on the Puku Flats. On the way back to the lodge, we bumped into an enormous sable bull drinking from the river. Because we so seldom see sable antelope, let alone photograph them, this was the real highlight of the afternoon.

A great way to end the trip (AM cruise – 15 May 2016)

The hope was to find the lions again, but our progress to where we had seen them the previous afternoon was slowed down by a massive herd of drinking buffalo. At first we saw only dust, but they soon started pouring out of the thickets and making their way down to the water’s edge. They didn’t mind the boat at all and allowed us to drift to within metres of them, getting more striking eye-level shots.

We weren’t able to find the lions again, but we did see more amazing birds, including an African jacana safely carrying his chicks under his wings, an African fish-eagle being mobbed by lapwings and a pied kingfisher dive-bombing the water in search of small fish.
Personally I enjoyed photographing the dramatic cloud formations that had filled the morning sky above us – a very fitting end to what was an unforgettable Botswana Overland Tour through Khwai and Savute, and along the Chobe River.

Villiers Steyn

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