Okavango Delta

Photographic Safari Through Botswana


Melissa Siebert


‘Photogenic’ doesn’t begin to describe Botswana, particularly its Okavango Delta and Linyanti Wildlife Reserve. Botswana, where Wilderness was founded nearly 40 years ago, offers an iconic safari experience, with enough diverse wonders to wow everyone. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Okavango is a labyrinth of pure waters descending from the Angolan highlands to the Kalahari Desert. To its north lies the Linyanti, one of Africa’s wildest areas and home to wildlife corridors critical to various species’ conservation.





Think vast waterways populated by elephant, hippo, crocs, and thousands of waterlilies, and varied habitats on terra firma, including floodplains, savannah, mopane woodland, riverine forests, and permanent swamps. Landscapes and wildlife here are a photographer’s dream, one we’d love to share with you. Our carefully curated, nine-night photographic safari is geared to both professional and amateur photographers and promises knockout photo opportunities.





Whether on land or water, on game drives, nature walks, Delta motorboat, sleepy barge or mokoro (traditional dugout canoe), or even resting in your luxurious suite as an elephant or other creature ambles past, you’ll find endless subjects to shoot, a multitude of images to make, and rich memories to take home.



Each of the three camps on the itinerary – King’s Pool in the Linyanti, Vumbura Plains and Mombo in the Okavango – has state-of-the-art Olympus camera units for your use. At extra cost, you can book a private vehicle, or take to the skies by helicopter and/or hot-air balloon for incredible aerial photography.





With our 2022 ‘Africa in Focus’ Photographic Competition opening on 1 August 2022, it’s a perfect time to see Botswana through your eyes, and through your lens.



Here’s what awaits:






King’s Pool’s home is the 126 000-ha Linyanti Wildlife Reserve, hosting the world’s largest free-ranging elephant herds. Bordering Chobe National Park in Botswana’s far north, the Linyanti lies at the crux of important wildlife corridors straddling Angola, Namibia, Zambia, and Botswana. Such corridors are essential to promote viable, self-sustaining wildlife populations and reduce human-wildlife conflict, for species such as elephants and African wild dogs.





While elephants are a major draw, particularly in October as temperatures rise and they gather along the river, there are many ways to experience – and photograph – wildlife here. Drift down the Linyanti River on the Queen Silvia barge, watching hippos bob and elephants cross. Helicopter high above the Savuti Channel, as thousand-strong buffalo herds quench their thirst – or above swamps where basking crocs, that rarely see humans, slide into the water. On game drives, walks, or from the air, help monitor the critical wildlife corridors. Witness a leopard patrolling near camp, or a lion kill on the floodplains; ungulate prey abounds. King’s Pool’s eye-level waterhole at its underground hide offers the rare chance to see and photograph elephant feet and trunks almost within touching distance. Marvel at water birds such as fish-eagles, herons, African skimmers, and many others.





Refurbished in 2019, King’s Pool nestles under jackalberry trees and overlooks the Linyanti River and an oxbow lagoon, the ‘King’s Pool’ – honouring Swedish King Carl Gustav XVI, who reportedly honeymooned nearby in the seventies. Totally solar-powered, richly hued in copper and teal, the camp offers eight elegant thatch and canvas suites, each boasting a spacious bedroom and lounge leading to a veranda overlooking the picturesque lagoon and beyond. The sumptuous common areas, set on expansive raised decks close to the water’s edge, are perfect for watching the wildlife dramas unfold…camera at the ready.







Set in the far north of the Okavango, the largest inland delta on Earth, recently refurbished Vumbura Plains almost seems to float. Saturated in blues and greens, the stylish camp overlooks the melapo, the annually inundated grasslands, and offers spectacular land- and water-based game viewing. Sensational photo ops lie at every turn.





Wildlife and landscape change with the ebb and flow of the waters, through the seasons presenting an abundant variety on which to train your lens: elephant; giraffe; impala; sable antelope; kudu; zebra; common waterbuck; reedbuck; tsessebe; wildebeest; red lechwe; Cape buffalo; predators including African wild dog, lion, leopard, cheetah, and African wildcat; hippo and crocodile in the waterways; and more than 400 bird species, affording exceptional birding year round. Intimate wildlife encounters occur regularly on the dramatic floodplains, studded with ilala palms.





Having the option to get out on water year-round makes this concession truly special. On a Delta motorboat, explore the channels and see what creatures join you. Definitely a highlight for any guest, and a thrill for photographers, is the sight of lions crossing the channels when the water is high, moving between islands in pursuit of prey. Drift gently in a mokoro at sunset, focusing on smaller flora and fauna such as the ubiquitous waterlilies and tiny reed frogs. Your sunset shots out on the water, the mekoro polers’ silhouettes dark against astounding colours, will amaze.





With add-on options of booking a helicopter and/or hot-air balloon, you and your camera can explore diverse perspectives on the stunning panoramas below.


In camp, see what appears in the water or on land from your spacious, beautifully designed suite and generous outside sitting area, or your private plunge pool. From your sunken lounge or elevated bed watch the wilderness perform, through mesh that’s barely there, giving the illusion of being outside. From the expansive main areas, watch the sun rise – fuchsia, orange, and other fiery colours – on another remarkable day.








Your photographic journey culminates at our flagship camp, Mombo, the ‘Place of Plenty’. Located in the Moremi Game Reserve in the north-eastern corner of Chief’s Island – once a tribal leader’s hunting ground – legendary Mombo is known for its exceptional concentration of game and its predator action. The camp overlooks Delta floodplains teeming with wildlife, offering some of the best game-viewing – and so naturally, fabulous wildlife photography – on the continent.



All told, the holy grail for photographers…




‘Wildlife around Mombo has always been nothing short of spectacular’, says wildlife photographer Sean van der Merwe. ‘The Okavango is one of the prime destinations for game viewing in Africa, and its rich biodiversity attracts regular as well as unique sightings rarely observed on the continent, ranging from leopards seen daily within the camp’s footprint to a glimpse of the rare pangolin. Mombo is your best bet in the Okavango for encountering all the predators and big game. Key bird species around Mombo make this a bird nerd’s paradise’.





Rebuilt in 2018, repurposing much of the material, Mombo maintains the traditions and history of the renowned original camp. Constructed of wood and canvas, it rests in a thicket of giant mangosteen and fig trees, with sweeping views over the floodplains. Each of its eight gorgeous suites offers a sitting room; separate bedroom and bathroom; indoor and outdoor showers; elegant copper bathtub; and outdoor private sala with a double day bed, sunken couch, plunge pool, and wrap-around veranda, all immersing you deeper into the bush and the wonders of Mombo’s private traversing area.



Let’s plan your next journey


When we say we’re there every step of the way, we mean it, literally. From planning the perfect circuit, to private inter-camp transfers on Wilderness Air, and easing you through Customs. We’re with you on the ground, at your side, 24-7, from start to finish. Ready to take the road less travelled? Contact our Travel Designers to plan an unforgettable journey.