Botswana, one of Africa’s most democratic countries, is the old Africa of the legendary Explorers, a place of contrast and beauty, seasoned with sand, savannah and teeming game. A paradise for photographs followers. There, the mighty Okavango flows south from Angola and not into the sea but into the sandy Kalahari Desert to origin the one and unique marvel of Okavango Delta, a labyrinth of channels, lakes, lagoons and swamps, an oasis of 18.000 m2 for lovers of wildlife and unspoiled Africa. A landscape that will offer your camera thousand of motives to be photographed, under the dramatic light of the splendours hours of sunrise and sunset, or even using a warming filter once the sun is full blaze, or a polarizing one to accentuate blue and clouds and bring exposure level of the sky and ground closer together. The peaceful Tswana people have converted nearly one quarter of the country as national parkland. As a contribution to the Batawana tribe, the custodians of Okavango Wilderness, Belmond has built three camps, a window to Africa for travellers to understand that nature and man can hold their hands in the way to preserve and enjoy Botswana’s privileged land.
Starting in Belmond Eagle Island Camp, immerse in the stunning and permanent waterways of Central Okavango Delta on Xaxaba, a tall wooded island in the Boro Channel, the peculiar eyes of hippos will welcome you emerging from the water, inviting you to photograph them sailing in a sunset cruise, or in a mokoro canoe from a save distance as they are considered one of the most dangerous animals in Africa. Set your camera at 100 ISO, 100-400 lenses, ready to trap the hippo surfacing. Later on, change the lens to a macro, reduce the speed of the canoe and shot the water lilies the cat tails, the sedge, the emergent herbs, the long grass forming leaves on banks of channels, the small water lily or with luck, the small paddle-frog. Follow the guided game or the bird watching game, setting the camera at a fast shutter speed and a maximum ISO to get details on bird flying. Picture it all from the 360 degrees aerial panorama in the spectacular helicopter ride. with your wide angle .The Boro channel is a natural boundary to the Moremi Wildlife Reserve, adjacent to Belmond Khwai River Lodge in the North bank of Khawi River. This reserve was established in 1965 by the tribe Batawana who named it after their king, claiming a large portion of Botswana, s natural heritage, the Okavango Delta. During the morning, afternoon and! Night! at absolute fastest shutter speed and maximum ISO, game drives you will be able to see lions, leopards, giraffes, impala… try to photograph these mammals near sunset time to gild their beautiful skin tone, among a wide variety of animals. Belmond Savute Elephant Camp in Northern Botswana, on the Savute Channel should be the next stop. Situated in the middle of the 11.000 m2 of Chobe National Park, declared Botswana first national park in 1967, the herds of buffalos, wild dogs, zebras, … and of course hundreds of elephants await you during the morning and afternoon game drives.
- Time required for this trip: Two days per camp, total one week.
- Traveller profile: Amateur. ( What´s this? )
- Itinerary difficulty: Medium.
- Adventure level: Medium.
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- Full Frame digital DSLR bodies Canon EOS 5D-Nikon 800.(It will be a good advise to take two full frames bodies as you won’t need to loose time changing lenses)
- Canon 16-35 mm f4-Nikon 16-35 mm f4
- Canon EF 24-105 mm f4-Nikon 24-120 f4
- Canon 100-400mm-Nikon 80-400mm f4.
- Canon EF50mm f/2,5 Macro lens-Nikon 60 mm f2 Macro lens.
- Enough CF cards to store 500 photos per day. A big stack of 8 GB cards (each holds 500 RAW).
- Polarizing and Warming Filters.
- Blower Bulb.
- Soft Brush.
- Bean Bag.
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- Just in front of Maun’s Airport, Bon Arrive Bar is a classic where pilots go for a drink, worth a couple of shots.
- From the local aircrafts you will have the most spectacular view of the Okavango Delta, and its animals.
- Belmond offers helicopter rides, essential to watch from a perfect distance the herds of animals, or the lonely ones wandering around the savannah.
- The luxury tents are so cozy and elegant that every detail in the bedroom, the outside bathroom (showering while looking at the stars) bars, and restaurants, are worth photographing.
- Over 1.000 species of animals and birds wait to be photographed in this varied wilderness.
- During the boat ride through the Okavango Delta waters, have ready the tele objective lens as the odd hippopotamus eyes will emerge from the water at any moment.
- While sailing in the Mokoro canoe of Belmond Eagle Point, a large variety of aquatic flowers and plants will make a great flora album.
- A large variety of Acacia tree, Ficus, Rain tree, Marula, African Mangosteen, Water Fig, Baobab, and etc.etc.
- Magic hours of the pinkie sunrise and the fire flame sunset.
- File format: RAW so you can fiddle with exposure later on.
- Autofocus Mode, for tracking or moving subjects as riding in the Land Rover through the wilderness.
- Animals move, therefore you can choose to freeze the motion selecting a high shutter speed, 1/250th or, to follow the motion keeping the subject centred in the frame and press the shutter release at a shutter speed between 1/30th and 1/125th.
- ISO 100 in the mid-day sun, ISO 200 will give you the capacity of faster shutter speed, ISO 400 approaching sunrise or sunset, ISO 800 right after sunset, ISO 1600 at night.
- Be aware to hold safely the camera, and don’t risk going out from the Land Rover, as animals see the car as a big whole body.
- Have the camera set in automatic so you wont miss the subject of a quick photo; later on adjust to the manual convenience.
- For night pictures, wear not noisy shoes, set your tripod at a safe distance and be near to the Land Rover, just in case.
- Keep a cloth during the game drive to drape over the camera in your lap, to avoid dust. For more information: visibledust.com
- Take a light soft hand carry suitcase to fit comfortably the photograph equipment.
- Take a blower bulb and a soft brush to clean grift or lenses, as the dust in Africa is a constant.
- Take a bag that seals well to avoid dust.
- It is advisable, not mandatory, to take malaria prevention medication.
- Site on the side of the Land Rover avoiding taking photos into the light.
- Insure your camera gear before trip and be sure that your company includes any type of loss and that the coverage is in force worldwide.
- Have a copy of your insured equipment list.