Sho! Pangolin Photo Safaris did NOT disappoint! Once again I found myself welcomed into a home by a lovely couple, Gerhard (aka Guts) Swanepoel and Kerstin Rath.
Upon arrival I immediately noticed the camera set up in a tree nogal! There was a lilac-breasted roller feeding its chicks, which made for some awesome shots (see the Pangolin facebook page).
As for the actual safari, I was impressed. You go out on the Chobe River a few times a day, in a specially designed, 8-seater boat. Gut had a special hull made to prevent rocking, there’s a nifty chair arrangement (which allows you to move but your camera stays steady) and the water-proof cover doesn’t have any poles that might block your view. Alas, despite these specs, I still missed loads of fantastic opportunities…I’m still struggling with my lens. Luckily though, Gut supplies camera bodies too, and in my case he leant me a lens as well.
I have never had so much fun shooting! We managed to get really close to the animals and birds, and the boat is quiet so they don’t get disturbed leaving a lapse period to take some pics before they all fly/run away. This was special and made me feel really connected to the wildlife – like a real Africa Geographic photographer.
Among the birds we saw were Malachite Kingfisher, Night heron, Slaty Egret, Spoonbill, Yellow-Billed Stork, Fish Eagle, African Skimmer and Goliath Heron. We also saw Hippos and buffalos. If you go make sure to visit the water-works project with Kerstin. They have a whole bunch of snakes found in people’s homes and mongooses and owls, all of which will be rehabilitated into the wild.
My next point of call was the Zambian border. I heard some horror stories about the ferry crossing but I had loads of fun. Despite the warnings about accepting a border ‘guide’, I was glad that Chris latched onto me and directed me through the 5 office process, which included police-clearance for the landy, carbon-tax payment, passport stamps and more. All the rooms were in higgledy-piggledy order and I fear that without Chris I would’ve been like a headless chicken.
Boarding the ferry was easy. I was instructed to simply jump the lo-o-ong queue of trucks (no-one seemed phased by this) and then it was into Zambia. Once back on solid ground I drove the 60km to Livingstone, assisted by my Garmin (seem to have misplaced the maps of Zambia). It was after a few bad shots at address entries, I eventually got to the Stanley Safari Lodge. It has a beautiful view of the city, the bush and you can even see the spray from Vic Falls (looks a bit like smoke). I’m in the honeymoon suite (go figure), so I think I’ll just relax in my boudoir tonight and catch up on my photos and writing, and fantasise about what it will be like to spend New Years Eve at the falls!
Pangolin Photo Safaris
Kasane / Chobe River / Botswana
Telephone number: 00267 625 1244