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badmedicine

Really enjoyed reading your trip report so far!! My mom and I leave for our first ever Africa trip this Saturday and reading your report is getting me really excited! We will also be staying at The Old House B&B, and then starting a mobile safari to Nxai Pan NP, Okavango Delta, and Khwai River. Cant wait to read more! And awesome photos by the way! :)

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Well, keep in mind that we had only one afternoon (kind of) and the next morning in Livingstone. I knew that Zambezi river would be full and the falls would be difficult to observe this time of the ye

Chobe river boat safari, Chobe NP, Botswana. May 27, 2014     Elephants turned to golden color by the light of the setting sun:                                    

Chobe river afternoon boat safari. Chobe NP, Botswana. May 28, 2014     Next we saw one of the most beautiful sightings on this trip - Ellies swimming and playing in Chobe river:          

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FlyTraveler

Really enjoyed reading your trip report so far!! My mom and I leave for our first ever Africa trip this Saturday and reading your report is getting me really excited! We will also be staying at The Old House B&B, and then starting a mobile safari to Nxai Pan NP, Okavango Delta, and Khwai River. Cant wait to read more! And awesome photos by the way! :)

 

How nice, good for you! I am sure that you will enjoy the atmosphere at The Old House. Make sure that you get the boat cruise on Chobe river every afternoon while you are there (a lot nicer than the game drives in the park in my opinion). I am not sure how quickly I can get to my Okavango Delta and Khwai River photos, you might be gone to Africa by this time. We'll be waiting for your report and photos, have a great safari!

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FlyTraveler

Beautiful Little Egret.

 

If I were an elie I'd want to live on the Chobe river. They have blast!

My first sightings were there. Awesome

You had a terrific safari!

 

Thanks @@graceland! While in Chobe, I remembered you raving about the swimming ellies in the river here on this forum before we left for this trip.

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FlyTraveler

Chobe river afternoon boat safari. Chobe NP, Botswana. May 28, 2014

 

 

Here is the "Happy hippo" sequence:


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Marks

Love the shot of the big ele splashing. Though I admit it makes me cringe to think of them coveirng themselves in dust AFTER such a thorough bathing. :P

 

I also like the open-mouthed hippo. That is one shot I am still hoping to get someday!

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JerseyGirl

@FlyTraveler-Your pictures are Awesome! My daughter(badmedicine) and I just decided that when we are staying at The Old House instead of doing the game drive we'll do the riverboat cruises instead, especially after seeing all the amazing shots you got while on the boat. Was the boat cruise you took through The Old House or did you use some other company? Only 5 days till we leave for Africa!

 

 

 

Lorain

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graceland

@FlyTraveler-Your pictures are Awesome! My daughter(badmedicine) and I just decided that when we are staying at The Old House instead of doing the game drive we'll do the riverboat cruises instead, especially after seeing all the amazing shots you got while on the boat. Was the boat cruise you took through The Old House or did you use some other company? Only 5 days till we leave for Africa!

 

 

 

Lorain

Have a great safari, @@JerseyGirl!

 

I can't speak for Fly, but going on the Chobe is a must, esp. at sunset.IMO...

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FlyTraveler

@FlyTraveler-Your pictures are Awesome! My daughter(badmedicine) and I just decided that when we are staying at The Old House instead of doing the game drive we'll do the riverboat cruises instead, especially after seeing all the amazing shots you got while on the boat. Was the boat cruise you took through The Old House or did you use some other company? Only 5 days till we leave for Africa!

 

 

 

Lorain

 

Hi Lorain, you will have a great time in Botswana and you will see more wildlife than we did, since you are going during the pick of the dry season. Yes, the boat cruises were through The Old House, they do have their own boat, which is neither too small (you can walk around), nor too big. We were happy with them, especially if you get their resident guide (a girl named Terry, I believe). Sometimes Sox is subbing for her, I'd rather have the girl with a separate boat captain. Either way you will have a blast. You may do also game drives in the mornings. Although not the best game drives in my life, you will see the park from a different perspective. Sox is the regular guide for the game drives.

 

Have a great safari trip!

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FlyTraveler

Love the shot of the big ele splashing. Though I admit it makes me cringe to think of them coveirng themselves in dust AFTER such a thorough bathing. :P

 

I also like the open-mouthed hippo. That is one shot I am still hoping to get someday!

 

Thanks Marks, this is the only time I have seen hippo with 100% open mouth, there are so many photographs around, but I have never witnessed it before (not that I have been on many safaris, but have seen hippos many times). For the elephants the best time for a dust bath is right after getting out of the river - the dust sticks to the wet skin. :)

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FlyTraveler

Chobe river afternoon boat safari. Chobe NP, Botswana. May 28, 2014

 

 

Slowly the sun started going down and the light became softer (better for photography), so I took some scenery photos:

 

 

 

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More photos of elephants taken during "golden hour":

 

 

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johnkok

Enjoying your Bots TR so far, with its beautiful pictures just like your South African one.

 

For the birds above, I think they are White-faced whistling Ducks and not Egyptian Geese.

 

Being on a boat (the Goldilocks one - not too big, and not too small) must have been really great. I was on a house boat up in the Okavango pan-handleand enjoyed that part of my safari too, with the freedom to move around with my cameras.

 

And watching elephants play in water is amongst one of the more joyful sights to witness on safari.

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FlyTraveler

 

Enjoying your Bots TR so far, with its beautiful pictures just like your South African one.

 

For the birds above, I think they are White-faced whistling Ducks and not Egyptian Geese.

 

Being on a boat (the Goldilocks one - not too big, and not too small) must have been really great. I was on a house boat up in the Okavango pan-handleand enjoyed that part of my safari too, with the freedom to move around with my cameras.

 

And watching elephants play in water is amongst one of the more joyful sights to witness on safari.

 

 

Hi @@johnkok, many thanks for the good words and especially for letting me know about the correct species of birds on the photos (too bad I can't edit my post), but I will know, which is more important. I really liked your report about the house boat in the Okavango pan-handle. I saw some house boats on Chobe river, as well. It looks like a great way to enjoy wildlife, especially birds. Being able to use the small boats (tenders) is also a great advantage. Watching elephants play in the water is a joy for the soul, indeed...

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FlyTraveler

Chobe river afternoon boat safari. Chobe NP, Botswana. May 28, 2014

 

 

More elephant photos taken during the golden hour:


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Elephant with a giraffe in the background:

 

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Photo tour boat on Chobe river:


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Southern giraffes:

 

 

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FlyTraveler

Chobe river afternoon boat safari. Chobe NP, Botswana. May 28, 2014

 

 

Some Chobe river scenery photos:



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Hippos in the river:

 

 

 

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FlyTraveler

Chobe river afternoon boat safari. Chobe NP, Botswana. May 28, 2014

 

 

Some more hippos:

 

 

 

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Series of sunset photos:


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Edited by FlyTraveler
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FlyTraveler

Last morning game drive in Chobe NP, Botswana. May 29, 2014

 

 

This morning we had our last game drive in Chobe NP followed by an Air Botswana flight from Kasane to Maun at noon. The drive was kind of slow plus not very competent guide, noisy vehicle-mates and vehicle electrical problem. The 2 noisy couples were on a full day trip to Victoria Falls the day before and have rewarded us with their absence on both the morning game drive and on the afternoon boat safari. The good part is that they were also flying to Maun with us, so we were not the only one interested in going back to The Old House on time.

 

In any case safari is like sex - it's good even when it's bad! :)

 

 

Last sunrise in Chobe NP (for us):


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Houseboats on Chobe river:

 

 

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African fish eagle:


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Southern red-billed hornbill:


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Vultures (are these white-headed?):


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michael-ibk

 

 

Vultures (are these white-headed?):

 

White-Backed (Gyps Africanus), I think.

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graceland

Nothing like a sunset on the Chobe

:D

Delightful, thanks @@FlyTraveler

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FlyTraveler

 

Vultures (are these white-headed?):

 

White-Backed (Gyps Africanus), I think.

 

 

 

Thanks @@michael-ibk!

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FlyTraveler

Nothing like a sunset on the Chobe

:D

Delightful, thanks @@FlyTraveler

 

Thank you @@graceland! Sunset in the delta is kind of nice, too... will get there soon. :)

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madaboutcheetah

@@FlyTraveler - Chobe boat trip is def very very high up on my list after this report! Thank You!!!

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FlyTraveler

Last morning game drive in Chobe NP, Botswana. May 29, 2014

 

 

 

The vehicle for the game drives in Chobe NP:


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Cape buffalo bull, impalas and warthogs were about the only other animals we saw on this drive:

 

 

 

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FlyTraveler

Air Botswana flight from Kasane to Maun. May 29, 2014

 

 

 

After the morning game drive we settled our account at The Old House in Kasane and were driven to the airport for our Air Botswana flight to Maun. Before we left, I took a photo of The Old House and our room. Not bad for a budget accommodation in Kasane with just 5 guest rooms.

 

 

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Air Botswana ATR 72 at the airport in Kasane:



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Aerial view of Chobe river after take off:


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The view of the Delta wasn't great from this altitude, but still it was our first glimpse of this wonder of nature:


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Landing in Maun:

 

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Marks

I like the conspiratorial-looking impala. And of course the aerial perspective really shows the incredible scope of the landscape...very impressive.

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FlyTraveler

Helicopter flight over the Okavango Delta. May 29, 2014

 

 

I am aware of the fact that many people look at this type of flightseeing as interference with the normal routine of the wild animals, so I would encourage them not to read the next several posts. In my humble opinion helicopters do not create more noise than a single piston engine airplanes, which most people use for a transport to and from safari camps.

 

After landing at the airport in Maun, we saw Gabba from Safari Speicialists who was waiting for us. She was to collect our hard case (which I used just as an outer shell for my soft bag) and store it in their office until our return from the camps. Very nice gesture on the side of Safari Specialists, since, as we all know, we are not allowed to carry large hard cases on the small single engine aircraft.

 

We had a prearranged transfer from the airport to The Old Bridge Backpackers - absolutely fantastic low budget place to stay around Maun. On the next day I spent almost two hours on the porch in front of our tent, trying to photograph (with extremely limited success) pied kingfishers catching fish in the river and other birds. More about this later.

 

At the moment we were concentrated on the 45 minutes helicopter flight that we were about to take over the delta. Nadine booked the flight for us with Helicopter Horizons. We didn't mind to share the flight with another person, but it didn't work this way, so we had to charter the chopper for two of us. I picked the timing for the flight according to the better lighting conditions in the late afternoon - 16:30 h. The light would have been even better a bit later, but I wanted to leave also some time before sunset in case the flight was late. The cheapest option was Robinson R44 four seater (the pilot + 3). My wife took the front seat on the left side of the pilot and I was alone on the back seat. We had the doors removed, but I asked the crew to leave the door on my right side on, so I can leave my second lens on the seat next to me.

 

I had only two lenses with me on this tirp - Nikon's 70-300 VR and 24-70, f:2.8, so it was no brainer that I was going to use most of the time the second one and would change to 70-300 VR only for wild animals shots. We had a great pilot from Germany named Frank.

 

There are some specifics about taking photos from a helicopter, mostly in regards to vibrations, framing and not getting the propeller in the pictures, which I have read about plus I had already some experience with photographing from helicopter over Dubai and Victoria Falls.

 

I had the fear that for 45 minutes the chopper will not be able to fly deep enough into the delta (and return back to Maun) which kind of materialized (later during the light aircraft transfers to / between and from the camps I took aerials of the heart of the delta). In any case flying over the delta and photographing from a chopper with doors off was an experience of a lifetime (for us).

 

 

Mrs. FlyTraveler and the pilot Frank shortly after take off:

 

 

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Frank flew faster from Maun to the so called "buffalo fence" in order to save time.

 

 

 

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A baobab tree in the middle of the frame:

 

 

 

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Zebras were the first wild animals that we saw from the air in Botswana (we saw white rhinos, buffalo and hippos about 10 days earlier in the private reserves near Hoedspruit from a microlight aircraft):


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Aerial landscapes:

 

 

 

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