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Botswana – Duba Plains & Zarafa Signature Photo Safari 2021

Botswana – Duba Plains & Zarafa Signature Photo Safari 2021

Price: SQ

FULLY BOOKED

30 May 2021 – 08 Jun 2021

ORYX Photo Tours is proud to present our Duba Plains And Zarafa Photo Safari, which takes us to two spectacular and exclusive wildlife areas in the famed Okavango Delta.

 

The Duba Plains Camp is a private 77,000-acre reserve just to the north of Moremi Game Reserve. Complemented by permanent channels and a number of larger wooded islands, a diverse array of wildlife is guaranteed, affording some spectacular photographic opportunities. This camp prides itself as a ‘home away from home’, with all the touches of personal service and guaranteeing a superb safari experience.

 

Zarafa overlooks the floodplains of the southern shores of the Zibadianja Lagoon, which is the source of the Savute Channel. Positioned in the extreme eastern side of the Selinda Reserve, its location is in prime wildlife territory. It embodies authenticity, luxury and simplicity to create a camp that has been clearly considered, and thoughtfully planned to be as environmentally sensitive as possible. It is the culmination of years of safari experience.

Why this Photo Safari is for You

DESTINATION ALLURE

The Okavango Delta has long been sought after by travellers, photographers and videographers alike for many years due to wild raw, wild beauty and incredible wildlife experiences that are hard to match. A montage of wetland, savanna, woodland and water, the diversity in habituate and wildlife is truly breathtaking.

WILDLIFE

Selinda Reserve (Zarafa Camp) is known for a few ‘specials’. African Wild Dogs have denned near camp for the last three seasons, and given this species’ plight, it is a true blessing to have fairly common sightings. The area is also good for Lion, and the more open plains dotted throughout the Reserve provide ideal habitat for Cheetah. Denser areas are home to one of Botswana’s most sought-after residents, the Leopard, a few residents of which often come through camp on their nightly prowls! Duba Plains is famous for its large Elephant herds, and in addition, is excellent for a variety of game including the wetland-loving Red Lechwe, Impala, Kudu and the fleet-of-foot Tsessebe!

EXCLUSIVE EXPERIENCE

Duba Plains offers an idyllic all-round Okavango experience, which is inaccessible for most of the year by any means other than aircraft. It is this remoteness that solidifies Duba Plains as the soul of ‘wild Africa’! As for Zarafa, it is synonymous with exclusivity and perfection. The spirit behind Zarafa comes from acclaimed wildlife photographers and filmmakers Dereck and Beverly Joubert, who together designed Zarafa to incorporate all the components of what they envisioned as the ‘perfect’ safari camp.

SMALL GROUP SIZE

Travel to this beautiful location with like-minded individuals and share your photographic bucket list together.

Guided Experience

Local knowledge of the region and its inhabitants is key to crafting the ultimate photography tour experience. Combined with the photographic expertise of your ORYX Photo Tour Leader, and you are in for an adventure that will further fuel your excitement for photography and the destination.

Marius-Coetzee

ORYX LEADER
Marius Coetzee

10 Days
6 Guests + 1 ORYX Leader
Signature
Wildlife
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Day 1: Arrival Johannesburg

After arrival at OR Tambo International Airport you will be met by an ORYX representative who will assist you through passport control, baggage collection and escort you to your transfer vehicle for your 2-night stay at the Saxon Hotel, Johannesburg.
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Day 2: Johannesburg

The Saxon is an exclusive private retreat. The entrance exudes an air of quiet majesty with its sweeping feature staircase and spectacular chandelier. Looking towards the Oprah Lounge, Piano Lounge, Cigar Lounge and Saxon Qunu Grill, the neutral shades of the interior reflect the tones and textures of Africa. The central point of the Saxon is the impressive infinity pool. The pool terrace is the ideal relaxation area for spending leisure time, taking in the superb sunset views and admiring the well-stocked Koi pond. The extraordinary attention to detail and emphasis on seamless planning and implementation makes the Saxon a sought-after venue for business meetings and celebratory occasions. The stunning and well-appointed room means that you are assured of the most luxurious elegance that leaves nothing to be desired. The Saxon Spa and Studio is a tranquil retreat where you are invited to spoil yourself with a personal rejuvenating experience to soothe your soul, calm your senses and realign your body into perfect harmony with nature. Here the Saxon takes a unique, holistic approach, focusing on you as an individual. There is also the well-equipped 24-hour Fitness Centre and gymnasium with a personal trainer available on request. The Saxon is dedicated to excellence, and has received a long list of awards over the last few years.
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Day 3: PC12 Charter Flight from Johannesburg to the Okavango Delta via Maun

At a time to be advised we will fly from Lanseria Airport, Johannesburg on PC12 Charter to the safari capital of Botswana, Maun. After clearing passport control and customs, we will wing our way to the world famous Okavango Delta. Your home for the next 3-nights will be the fabulous Duba Plains Camp. The Duba Plains Camp is a private 77,000-acre reserve located in Botswana's famed Okavango Delta just to the north of Moremi Game Reserve. Inaccessible for most of the year by any means other than aircraft, it is this remoteness that solidifies Duba Plains as the soul of ‘wild Africa’! Duba offers an idyllic all-round Okavango experience, with vast, seasonally inundated floodplains that are home to huge herds of Cape Buffalo, which in turn make for one of the undisputed highlights of the area – their interaction with Lion. Complemented by permanent channels and a number of larger wooded islands, a diverse array of wildlife is guaranteed, affording some spectacular photographic opportunities. This camp prides itself as a ‘home away from home’, with all the touches of personal service and guaranteeing a superb safari experience. After arriving at Duba’s airstrip, you will be escorted to the camp (usually 7 minutes’ drive away, depending on sightings!), before offloading luggage and freshening up in anticipation of the afternoon game drive.
4

Day 4 & 5: Okavango Delta

This is “home” for Great Plains Conservation co-founders, and National Geographic Explorers in Residence, Dereck and Beverly Joubert and the remarkable, ever-present lions whose story they have so wonderfully documented over the years. This is where they filmed the remarkable documentary, “Relentless Enemies”, which showcased Duba’s Lions’ pursuit of their Cape Buffalo prey. Whilst the hunting of large prey by lions here is legendary, please note that it is never guaranteed. The Lions, renowned for their pursuits of the Buffalo herds, are a formidable force. It’s a perfect recipe: the open plains’ nutritious grasses, coupled with the Okavango Delta’s clean, clear waters, combine to create the perfect habitat for Cape Buffalo; and, where such herds abound, the Lions are never far behind. Contrary to typical behaviour, the Duba lions are most often active during the day, with many of their famous buffalo hunts occurring in broad daylight. Duba Plains is also famous for its large Elephant herds, and in addition, is excellent for a variety of game including the wetland-loving Red Lechwe, Impala, Kudu and the fleet-of-foot Tsessebe. Leopard are often seen, and bird life is fantastic, with many Okavango specials and migrants present. Some days we will spend hours with a single pride of lions, watching the tiny cubs playing with their mother, aunts and siblings; other days we may roam the plains absorbing the splendour of a large herd of Red Lechwe running through the channels, or perhaps photographing the area's fantastic birdlife, including the rare Slaty Egret and regal Wattled Crane.
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Days 6: Helicopter flight Okavango Delta to Selinda Reserve

After a morning game drive and breakfast, and at a time to be advised we will chopper onward to your isolated lodge in the 320,000 acre Selinda Reserve (flight time approximately 25 minutes). Zarafa is synonymous with exclusivity and perfection! The spirit behind Zarafa comes from acclaimed wildlife photographers and filmmakers Dereck and Beverly Joubert, who together designed Zarafa to incorporate all the components of what they envisioned as the ‘perfect’ safari camp.
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Day 7 to 9: Selinda Reserve

Previously known as Zibadianja Camp and later re-named Zarafa, this camps beautiful design, ‘green’ construction and spectacular location made it an immediate recipient of numerous accolades. Zarafa overlooks the floodplains of southern shores of the Zibadianja Lagoon, which is the source of the Savute Channel. Positioned in the extreme eastern side of the Selinda Reserve, its location is in prime wildlife territory. It embodies authenticity, luxury and simplicity to create a camp that has been clearly considered, and thoughtfully planned to be as environmentally sensitive as possible. It is the culmination of years of safari experience. There are few places in northern Botswana as dynamic as the Selinda Reserve, which is cantered on the famous Selinda Spillway, which weaves its way east, linking the far reaches of the Okavango Delta in the south with the Linyanti water systems in the east. The Selinda Reserve is west (upstream) from Savute Channel and Chobe, so it has all the advantages of both of those famous areas but with the tremendous advantage of exclusivity. It is a truly spectacular and unique landscape! Large numbers of Elephant can be found in the area, and their antics are a joy to watch and photograph, especially when they are frolicking in the Lagoon and Spillway. As is expected in a reserve of this size, wildlife varies from area to area in response to changes in vegetation and hydrology. Impala graze through camp, and due to its location close to Zibadianja Lagoon, Zarafa has impressive pods of Hippo, while Red Lechwe often litter the floodplain in front of camp with the ever-present saurian the Nile crocodile also commonly seen. Water birds abound with frequent sightings of the amusing Black and Slaty egrets and stately Saddle-billed Stork. Pied Kingfishers dive for small fish while African Fish Eagles call in the distance. Selinda Reserve is known for a few ‘specials’. African Wild Dogs have denned near camp for the last three seasons. Given this species’ plight, it is a true blessing to have fairly common sightings. The area is also good for Lion, while the open plains dotted throughout the Reserve provide ideal habitat for Cheetah. Denser areas are home to one of Botswana’s most sought-after residents, the Leopard, a few residents of which often come through camp on their nightly prowls. Other common species include Cape Buffalo often in large herds, Giraffe, Common Reedbuck, Plains Zebra, Wildebeest, Spotted Hyena, and a variety of antelope including Red Lechwe and Roan.
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Day 10: Fly Zarafa to Johannesburg via Maun.

After a final morning game drive and another scrumptious breakfast, we will PC 12 charter flight to Johannesburg, where this incredible Botswana journey sadly comes to an end.
Botswana – MashatuKah Yin, Singapore

The trip, though short and focused, was amazing in all aspects.  What made it so special was Kirsten, who is so creative and passionate about photography.  We discussed what I hoped to achieve from this trip when we first met up and he patiently revised the basics of photography with me, as I only use the camera when I have time to take a break from work.  Throughout this trip, Kirsten always allowed me time and space to explore and make mistakes, so that learning would be more effective.

The waterhole at Mashatu was magical and it was a wonderful change in pace when we could just sit at the hide and wait for different groups of birds and animals to come in turn to drink. When it became hot, the elephants started frolicking in the water, throwing caution to the wind, as they splashed themselves with wild abandon.

On our final morning, we arrived at the hide before dawn only to find 5 lions climbing on top of the hide, peering and investigating the camera and equipment which Kirsten had left around the hide overnight.  It was so thrilling, only to be summed up by my exclamation, “On my goodness!”  And the lions returned shortly after to drink from the waterhole when we were actually in the hide, barely meters away, allowing us to photograph them almost with cameras right in their faces!  It was surreal.

Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever imagined taking such animated photos of wild life, star trails or videos, as I did on this trip.  Kirsten is just an awesome teacher. Being a teacher myself, I know how special he is in that he understands the fears and challenges his students encounter, explains the solutions in a clear and methodical way, and helps the student achieve his aims. His youthful vigour was inspiring, as the days from the start to the end, were packed and filled with so much interest and enjoyment! In his presence, I couldn’t help feeling young at heart again! This experience at Mashatu has been priceless and I am ever so grateful to have travelled with Kirsten!

Botswana – Savute & KhwaiMark & Katie Andrews

My wife and I had an incredible safari experience with the ORYX team. From booking process to the preparations made by the ORYX team we were well taken care of. The safari itself was full of unique sightings and great photographic opportunities. Penny Robartes (our ORYX guide) provided expertise in the sightings along with key information to improve capturing the best possible photos. The safari itself is brilliantly set up with distinct environments with Savute up first and finishing with Khwai. The Savute location is dryer with game concentrated around watering holes and marsh to the north. The Savute was dominated with lion sightings including the Marsh pride with cubs. The tracker was able to use tracks in the sand to find the lion cubs with an eventual greeting of the cubs and the adults capping off that incredible sighting. Khwai is a lush and green river front with an entirely different back drop and more unique animal sightings. Khwai did not disappoint with wild dogs, hippos, crocs, owls, and lots of great leopard sightings. Even though we had very good leopard sightings in the Savute, the leopard sightings in Khwai were unique. We were able to see a leopard chase down a Lechwe in the marsh splashing its way to knocking down the the Lechwe. Again, the tracker was able to find a leopard from the tracks in the sand. That leopard ended up with a kill and our opportunity to see it climb the tree with its kill right in front of us with the right angle and sun behind us. Penny provided instruction and what to expect from the animal behavior to capture the best possible emotion in the images.

Thanks again ORYX team for an incredible safari.

Botswana & South AfricaNell Dickerson, USA

How to Win:

Amateurs seek luck. Professional plan. Artists envision. I had a clear vision and set a goal to photograph big cats at night. To accomplish that goal, I hired the best guide and mentor, one with extensive experience capturing night cats and a stellar wildlife record including Wildlife Photographer of the Year, the fantastic Greg du Toit. His outfitter, ORYX, is the best. Photographers only. Prepare to work and only work. Marius Coetzee takes care of everything else. Everything.

Although this trip was my first wildlife photography experience, I accomplished what I set out to do and much more. Greg took me to private, mystical locations and arranged for the most knowledgeable ranger/tracker in each region. Because they were also photographers, they knew where to position their vehicles for the optimum shot. And not just any ordinary tourist-crammed transport, but a custom vehicle modified for photography. Mount camera, lock, load, shoot until you drop. Long days. Night time magic hour. Excellent photography.

The result? I won the wildlife series category for the 10th edition of the Julia Margaret Cameron Award for Women Photographers, a division of the international Gala Awards. My series is “Night Growl.”

A series is a story told with a minimum of five shots, each one able to stand on its on, but part of a cohesive synchronic whole. The secret to success is in the editing. How to shoot a winning series? Envision, plan, hire ORYX, show up, and work.

BotswanaClarissa Young

Penny, I really had a fantastic holiday in Botswana thanks to you and ORYX team for sure! I am still on a bit of a high. Even though this was my third time to Southern Africa and second to Botswana, and each trip has been special, this time having a focus was brilliant and your guidance was invaluable to achieving some excellent photos.

BotswanaClarissa Young & Fiona Stoker, Australia

We had an absolutely marvellous trip away with Penny, she taught and guided gently with our new cameras so much. The trip was just right, great lodges, driver guides and the beasties and birds were on show or gently coached into view.

Thank you to the whole ORYX team for a terrific tour and to Penny especially for her skills with the camera and helping us get started with new eyes for the shot.

BotswanaFiona Stoker and Clarissa Young, Australia

We had an absolutely marvelous trip away with Penny, she taught and guided gently with our new cameras so much. The trip was just right, great lodges, driver guides and the beasties and birds were on show or gently coached into view.

Thank you to the whole Oryx team for a terrific tour and to Penny especially for her skills with the camera and helping us get started with new eyes for the shot.

BotswanaBob & Lenore Tantleff

My wife and I spent three mornings in the blind and an afternoon session with Kirsten at Mashatu Game Reserve. We want to let you know how informative it was. Kirsten's advice and instruction tremendously improved my photography. He is caring and a very good teacher. We highly recommend and endorse Kirsten. We look forward to meeting up with Kirsten the next time we go on Safari.

BotswanaBarry and Veronica Winterbourn, Australia

We were lucky enough to have Mike Dexter as a guide during our recent trip to Mashatu. During the five days we were with Mike he shared his great knowledge of animal behaviour and the environment. It was a pleasure to work with someone who understands photographers and who instinctively knows the best place to position the vehicle. He was incredibly patient and was never in a rush to move on or to take his own photographs even when there were incredible sightings. Mike was very generous with his knowledge and if you had a query on anything that he was unsure of, he made sure he found the answer. For us Mike is the best guide we have encountered in several trips to Africa. Knowledgeable, interesting and a really nice guy to spend hours with. Barry and I would have no hesitation in recommending Mike for any guiding experiences.

BotswanaJ & C Newcombe, Australia

Kirsten, thank you very much for your help over the last four days. I have learnt so much about all things photography in a short amount of time. You are incredibly generous with your knowledge and time. All the best with your future ventures - I am confident that you will continue to be very successful!

BotswanaDave Siegel

We looked forward to this experience for a long time...and it exceeded expectations in every respect and at every step. Well-planned, logistics handled professionally and smoothly. Marius and Vanessa were more than helpful; they were thoughtful and cared to make this truly memorable and personalized. Cannot imagine a better guided adventure and fun to be with them too!

In fact, I already have recommended Oryx and to another friend at the Preserve and expect he will call upon you shortly to discuss a possible Botswana safari next year. Kathy and I will be back with our children - perhaps as early as next year -- to see the gorillas and introduce them to safari (the kids, not the gorillas!).

Thanks to Marius, Vanessa and the whole Oryx team. Rocked it!

BotswanaSabine Sarikhani, United Kingdom

Dear Marius and Kirsty,

Just wanted to thank both of you for a most wonderful holiday in Mombo/Botswana.

Ali and myself did enjoy it tremendously. Game viewing, accommodation, service , you name it, it was all there and at it’s very best. We loved our stay and everybody, including from the airport onwards, couldn’t have been more attentive.

We even were lucky with the weather, as the raining season had finished and it has only started for the water to come from the Delta.

Thank you again for arranging a most memorable trip for us, hope you are all well and that we do get to see you sometimes soon,

Very best

Sabine and Ali

BotswanaLaura William's, USA

Thank you so much for such an amazingly perfect trip!!!! Despite our occasional weather difficulties, we were extremely pleased with all. You do an amazing job and have such perfect attention to detail. We felt spoiled and privileged throughout the trip. Greg did an amazing job as usual and we are thankful to have had the opportunity to travel with him again. You have a first class operation and we will refer you to the many people who ask us about traveling to Africa. I have already recommended you to two other clients since I returned. Good luck and we hope to travel with you again in the future!

BotswanaTed Swindon, SA

I wanted to let you know that all went well and we had a fantastic time. I have learnt a lot from Greg, and can already see the improvement in my photography. I am looking forward to Kenya, as I am sure we will have plenty of time to add some of the finer touches. All in all it was a good trip with fantastic opportunities, so well done on your organization too, all was brilliant.

BotswanaGerman Ambrosetti, Argentina

Just a few words to say thanks a lot for the wonderful trip, that you and your team, organized for Laura and me. This year all worked perfect and in extraordinary timing, thanks for the wine in the Michelangelo, and for all, really was an unforgettable trip in Africa. Laura is very happy and me too. We had very bad weather in Sharks, but ORYX did a perfect work, trying hard to reorganize everything for Laura and me. Greg like always the best in everything, like a person, and like a professional. Nothing...... just thanks again to all.

BotswanaTed Swindon, South Africa

I thought I needed to drop you a line to inform you of my satisfaction with the high quality service that I have received from Kirsty in the past few days! I am very happy that she has been able to assist me with my changes to my trip. I am very grateful to her for her fantastic attitude and outstanding service!

BotswanaFiona Stoker and Clarissa Young, Australia

We had an absolutely marvelous trip away with Penny, she taught and guided gently with our new cameras so much. The trip was just right, great lodges, driver guides and the beasties and birds were on show or gently coached into view.
Thank you to the whole Oryx team for a terrific tour and to Penny especially for her skills with the camera and helping us get started with new eyes for the shot.

BotswanaClarissa Young, Tasmania

Penny, I really had a fantastic holiday in Botswana thanks to you and ORYX team for sure! I am still on a bit of a high. Even though this was my third time to Southern Africa and second to Botswana, and each trip has been special, this time having a focus was brilliant and your guidance was invaluable to achieving some excellent photos.

BotswanaMark & Katie Andrews, United States of America

My wife and I had an incredible safari experience with the ORYX team. From booking process to the preparations made by the ORYX team we were well taken care of. The safari itself was full of unique sightings and great photographic opportunities. Penny Robartes (our ORYX guide) provided expertise in the sightings along with key information to improve capturing the best possible photos. The safari itself is brilliantly set up with distinct environments with Savute up first and finishing with Khwai. The Savute location is dryer with game concentrated around watering holes and marsh to the north. The Savute was dominated with lion sightings including the Marsh pride with cubs. The tracker was able to use tracks in the sand to find the lion cubs with an eventual greeting of the cubs and the adults capping off that incredible sighting. Khwai is a lush and green river front with an entirely different back drop and more unique animal sightings. Khwai did not disappoint with wild dogs, hippos, crocs, owls, and lots of great leopard sightings. Even though we had very good leopard sightings in the Savute, the leopard sightings in Khwai were unique. We were able to see a leopard chase down a Lechwe in the marsh splashing its way to knocking down the the Lechwe. Again, the tracker was able to find a leopard from the tracks in the sand. That leopard ended up with a kill and our opportunity to see it climb the tree with its kill right in front of us with the right angle and sun behind us. Penny provided instruction and what to expect from the animal behavior to capture the best possible emotion in the images.

Thanks again ORYX team for an incredible safari.

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