Botswana Safari Trip 2015

Welcome to Maun! Yes, thank you, pleased to be here!


Here are some impressions from the 11-day/10-night long safari trip from Maun to Kasane. It sure was an excellent safari, so all honor to Safari Lifestyles who sold me the trip, and to Okavango Expeditions who operated the safari.

All in all, we saw 42 lions, 22 African wild dogs, 6 leopards, 3 cheetahs and numerous hyenas. And we were lucky and saw rare animals like the caracal and the Mozambique spitting cobra. Of the more common animals, we got to see most of the species normally encountered on trips in Northern Botswana (animal checklist). For birding the trip was more ordinary, partly because there are less species in the region during the cold winter period. In total, I saw more than 150 species of birds (bird checklist).

As for photography, a mobile safari is great because the companies use open cars. I brought a monopod as support for my Nikon 80-400mm VR lens. This worked OK in the open car. Under daylight conditions, this lens is a perfect match for animals, but it under-performs at dusk and dawn. The lens is however too short for birds, so on my next safari I will probably bring a longer zoom lens. A weakness with the Nikon 80-400mm VR is that it is prone to absorb dust, a very relevant issue in Botswana. This also happened to my copy, something a lens this expensive should not do.



Maun gas station

Maun area


Thamalakane River, Maun

Dusty roads north of Maun


School kids in Maun

Moremi Game Reserve entrance


Okavango Delta habitat

Safari tent


A good mattress, and comfortable conditions

Even a private loo and a shower. The hyenas came to camp after dark. One evening I heard something behind the tent, and went to the "bathroom" and turned on the flash. A hyena was standing just a few meter from me. Surprisingly, it ignored the light and me, and walked past the tent. Glad it was not a lion, as they also sometimes turn up in camp


Toyota Landcruiser, a great safari vehicle

Third Bridge in Moremi looked newly re-built


At dinner in Moremi with the excellent guide

The support truck, used to transport the gear and the 3 crew between the locations


Southern Red-Billed Hornbill, one of the most common bird species in the region

Khwai River Bridge was also new. The old one we crossed in 2004 was completely disintegrated next to it. This one looked much more sturdy


The old Khwai Bridge

Khwai River


Khwai village

Khwai village shop


A lot of river crossings in the Khwai area. The safari Toyota Landcruiser could easily take 1 meter depth

A Red Lechwe ram in the Khwai Community Area


To a large degree, most animals ignore the cars, but the birds are often more weary

Mokoro trip on a tributary of the Khwai River. The poler pretends he is annoyed being taken photo of. Which is of course bollocks, given they are guiding western people every day


Hippo skull

River landscape


Elephant heard crossing the river

Angolan Reed Frog (Hyperolius parallelus), according to the guide


Water lily

Kariba Weed (Salvinia molesta), is an invasive aquatic plant species native to Brazil, now wide-spread in the Okavango Delta


Kariba Weed

Khwai village huts


Morning coffee break in Khwai

Mababe entrance to Chobe National Park


Towards Savuti and open landscape

On safaris you most often find the big cats sleeping during the day. On this particular safari most of the big cats we came across were active. Except these, of course, who are enjoying a nap!


Hyenas in the early morning before sunrise

Our guide helps towing another car stuck in the sand


Sandy roads in Savute

The hanger comes off, first time. The trailer hitch broke clean off from the back of the Landcruiser


Camp-site in Savuti

Buffalo heard in Savuti


Old San people (Bushmen) rock art painting in Tsonxhwaa Hill, Savuti

Filmmakers. Savute is probably one of the last wildlife areas in Africa where they can work relatively undistribed by tourists


This old female leopard was (most likely) named Torn Ear by the filmmakers of "Savage Kingdom". We saw the filmmakers several times, who spent 2 years in Savute making the epic "Savage Kingdom" series for Nat Geo Wild

Filmmakers (probably Brad Bestelink) shooting "Savage Kingdom" in 2015


Savuti Marsh

Oh no, the hanger comes off again .. We lost the hanger three times, and finally left it behind at the Savuti Northern Gate for the guide to pick it up on the return trip. The guide was an expert mechanic. I guess you have to be, because something always break on these rough roads and under these challenging conditions



Cattle farm


Coffee break with Elephants, Chobe National Park

You take what you have. No rocks in Chobe, only sand and elephant dung. Here used as support for the tent


Safari company crew

No complains about the standard. This is the dining area


G & T was included. No ice cubes though .. Had a couple of these after dinner most evenings. Said to help against malaria

Baobab tree in Chobe NP


Chobe River. Across the river is Namibia

Alone in the middle row, good for photography


Evening drive. View from the back seat



Kasane street

Chobe River Elephants


On the Chobe River

After the boat trip on Chobe River


With the bird checklist the last night in Chobe NP