As with travel packages, not all photographic safaris are created equal.
They may go to the same destination but the experiences and advantages do differ considerably. The devil is more often than not in the detail and judging a photo safari or workshop purely on price can be a very, very costly mistake and have a huge impact on your overall experience.
During the last week I have spoken to people who are looking to experience the Great Migration during August and September this year, and prior to coming across our offering, have sourced various ‘Great Migration’ packages that will see them traveling to places like Samburu and Amboseli. Now these are absolutely amazing destinations in their own right but they have nothing to do with the Great Migration.
Expecting to see the great migration – the greatest wildlife spectacle on earth – in Samburu is like going to the Kruger National Park and expecting to see Kilimanjaro in the distance…it’s just not going to happen.
When you are looking around at photo safari packages make sure that you do your homework and look at the details of the package. Ask questions and compare the details with other offerings in the market.
Now apart from our Great Migration photo safaris which literally puts you on the banks of the Mara River – go and check the package details here and see for yourself – we are extremely proud of the Chobe Photo Safaris we host along with Ichobezi.
Are our Chobe photo safaris the cheapest on the market?
Are they great value for money?
Do they offer unique features which set them apart from similar packages?
Here are five of the features that make our Chobe photo safari packages unique.
1. Fully Inclusive
There is nothing worse than to having to worry about your drinks bill and other unexpected costs during a trip. Sure, the goal of a photo safari is by no means to see who can drink the most but a couple of drinks here, a cold drink there and a few bottle of waters can add up. Other costs like transfers to and from the airport and park fees can also be a nasty surprise if it is not included in your package price.
Our Chobe photo safari includes everything.
You just have to get yourself to Kasane, something we will gladly assist with, and then from the moment the guides meet you at the airport you can relax as everything from there on out is sorted.
Meals, accommodation, drinks and park fees – everything! The only thing you need to worry about is whether you are going to have enough memory cards for the next trip out on the photographic boat and then should you wish to have a few drinks to celebrate your incredible images – no problem!
There is no denying that a fully inclusive package is a great, no-stress approach to a photo safari!
2. View all the Channels
Surely you would not want to go to the Masai Mara and not be allowed to go into some of the areas. You would want to go and explore as much of the area as possible! All of it!!
Photographic safaris are specialised safaris where you should be able to explore all of the specific destination that you are going to. Especially if you look at the price that you are paying for your tailored or packaged safari.
That is why we have included park fees in all our Chobe Photo Safari packages.
Some might argue that you don’t need to pay park fees on the Chobe River but here is the real story…
As you approach the Chobe National Park from the east the river splits into two – the Northern and Southern channels.
Now if you want to use the Southern Channel – the one that takes you past the actual Chobe National Park – you need to to stop and sign in which requires you to pay park fees. On our past Chobe Photo Safaris we have had some amazing predator sightings on this stretch of the river and this is also one of the areas where elephants cross over from the flood plains in the North to the National Park on the southern side of the river.
Can you get away without paying park fees?
Yes, absolutely, but then you will not be allowed to traverse the Southern Channel and why would you actually go to an area and not be able to see all of it? Also, with the Northern Channel forming the border between Botswana and Namibia you very often see the locals and their cows on the banks of the river. This may not be the ideal subjects to include in your wildlife portfolio.
Another massive advantage that we have been able to secure is for our houseboats to dock across the river from Elephant Bay which is without a doubt the best location to view and photograph wildlife on the Chobe River. We are the only operator who is allowed this privilege and believe me when I say, it is an absolutely amazing spot!
This docking spot on the river is without a doubt the best one available and literally puts you in the heart of the action.
During my last photo safari I took this image, with my iPhone, from the deck of out houseboat.
Now imagine hopping into the dedicated photographic boat and taking the 2 minute boat ride across the river to get up close and personal with the wildlife at Elephant Bay…
It’s an awesome experience and since we are docked right there we do not, like many other operators, have to worry about getting back to our lodge by a specific time. We can stay out on the water to suck up and photograph during that magical golden light period.
This image was taken from the photographic boat at 19:10 – well after many operators had to leave the area – of our houseboat docked at Elephant Bay.
3. Photographic Boat
There are many houseboats on the Chobe River.
There are a many of lodges along the banks of the Chobe River.
There are a few dedicated photographic boats on the Chobe River.
Our package is the only one that combines all the above into one amazing experience!
Yes, you could go out on a tender boat and do some photography but trying to get crisp shots while trying to handhold your camera – not great!
Even trying to use a tripod on these little boats is like herding cats – rather tricky!!
When you join us on a Wild Eye Chobe Photo Safari you will not only get to shoot from our dedicated, custom-built photographic boat throughout the safari, but you will get to enjoy the wonderful luxury of a 5-star lodge as well as the amazing experience of a houseboat on one of Southern Africa’s most famous rivers!
Regardless of the size of camera and lens you are using the boat, which has a huge amount of space, you aren’t restricted to only shoot from the built-in supports but also from the floor which allows you to amazing low angle shots of animals like hippos and elephants.
The photographic luxury of having swivelling chair with a built in gimbal head while Africa does what it does is, in a word, priceless!
4. Guest to Host Ratio
Whichever way you look at it, the fewer guests per photographic guide the more personal attention you will have.
On all of our photo safaris we never exceed a guest to host ration of 6 to 1. This means that you can always be assured of personal attention on your trip and isn’t that one of the man reasons you go on a photographic safari? Having the ability to tap into your photographic host’s knowledge and experience is what a photo safari should all be about!
Our Chobe photo safaris are no different. On top of being able to get quality time with your host you will also have access to them all the time. Whenever we are on the houseboat we take exclusive use, which means it is only our photographic group on board.
The photographic boat also makes for an amazing personalised experience as it can seat 6 guests – so everybody gets their own photographic seat. The boat is big enough to allow the photographic guide to walk in between the seats so you will never be in a position where you are on a small tender boat without the photographic guide.
Exclusivity. Personal attention. Amazing experience.
5. Because it’s Wild Eye
I can carry on about how we are bringing a fresh approach to our photo safaris and how we are all about sharing, teaching and community.
I can tell you how passionate we are or how we have an amazing bunch of Ambassadors who will take your photo safari to the next level.
I can carry on and on but thought it would be better to let some of the people who have spent some time with us share their thoughts.
“Wild Eye is a great team and their courses are next level! You will have difficulty finding a better company!”
~ Renier, 2013
“My experience with Wild Eye was just “Wow” taking wildlife photography to a new level.”
~ Shereen, 2013
“I did a 6 day safari in Kenya with Wild Eye and it was simply stunning!”
~ Bronwyn, 2013
“Gerry and Andrew are both incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about photography.”
~ Hannelize, 2013
“Totally inspired facilitator hence a totally inspiring and fun course. Loved it! I might even might do it again before I go onto the next ones. I’m hooked!”
~ Ali, 2013
“Thank you Wild Eye for what was a fabulous wildlife photographic safari and a wonderful experience of Africa.”
~ Joey, 2013
“Andrew went the extra mile to make sure that everyone in our group was comfortable and he was extremely accommodating at all times.”
~ Julie, 2013
“A photographic safari with Wild Eye is an absolute must on anyones travel calendar for 2013!”
~ Seyms, 2012
“This workshop changed my way of taking pictures!”
~ Sabine, 2012
“Gerry’s enthusiastic presentation of the workshop, as well as his in-depth knowledge of the Lightroom program, ensures students leave the course with skills that are easily implemented and make processing fun and effective.”
~ Simon, 2012
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So there you have it – 5 reasons why our Chobe Photo Safaris are awesome!
Let’s do a quick recap:
- All inclusive – absolutely everything is included!
- View all the channels – you will be able to view and photograph all areas of the Chobe!
- Photographic boat – As mentioned above, this is priceless!
- Guest to Host Ratio – We make sure your experience remains personal!
- Because it’s Wild Eye – We rock!
We have already released the dates for our 2014 Chobe Photo Safaris so check them out if you want to plan your African Adventure well in advance.
If you are desperate to get away sooner than that, make sure to check out the Wild Eye Facebook page where we will be releasing a last minute special for the Chobe Photo Safari taking place from 26 to 30 June 2013!
At Wild Eye our goal is to share our passion for photography, conservation and the many incredible experiences that Africa has to offer with you, so I look forward to welcoming you on a Wild Eye photo safari!
Until next time.
Gerry van der Walt
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