To describe convincingly the sheer magic of the Chobe National Park in Northern Botswana is an impossible task.
You can tell people that the magnificent Chobe River sustains the largest population of African Elephants in the world. You can talk about the phenomenal experience of being on a photography boat on the river and observing the frantic behaviour of a herd of elephants as they cross the river fifteen meters in front of you. You can share the emotions you experience as you hold your breath while the little ones disappear sporadically under the water before their mothers and siblings lift them again and again to the surface.
You can describe the adrenalin rush of capturing images of hippos at eye-level or tell of the Pied Kingfisher hovering overhead before diving with astonishing accuracy to catch tiny fish for their chicks.
You can laugh out loud when describing the comical behaviour of a troop of Chacma Baboons as they cross the river from an island to the mainland.
Somehow your efforts to convey Chobe’s magic will always fall short of the real experience.
So, whenever people ask me to tell them about the wonders of Chobe, I always start with a little family story. My wife Veronica used to say that one-day her ashes should be scattered over the Serengeti, but once she experienced the Chobe many years ago, she changed her mind and decided that Chobe should be her last resting place.
Photography on Chobe is a very intimate experience. You tend to slow down and watch the dramas of nature unfold before your eyes. However, it is not only a mammalian paradise. The abundance of bird life will provide photographers of all levels with unbelievably exquisite photographic opportunities.
Over the last two decades I visited Chobe National Park on a regular basis. During these visits I always photographed on land from my own safari vehicle. On these trips to Chobe I would usually spend one afternoon on the boat of one of the local operators. I particularly enjoyed the experience of photographing wildlife up close from the water but sharing the limited space on the boat with general tourists was extremely frustrating. Because of this I always returned to my base camp on land for the rest of the trip.
During July 2009, pure chance compelled me to photograph from a boat for a full ten-day period with a group of other photographers. What an eye-opener that was! Not only was the bird photography fantastic as always, but also by going out with a boat early in the mornings as well, I suddenly took very intimate images of mammals approaching the water, crossing the river and living on the islands.
Working on a boat with a group of enthusiast photographers keen on capturing the best wildlife images possible during the limited time they were on holiday, quickly revealed the photographic deficiencies of all the boats used by operators on the Chobe River. None of these boats placed the photographer in the optimum position for capturing images of the many opportunities on offer.
My challenge was to design and manufacture a world-class boat dedicated specifically to photography so that the full photographic potential of the Chobe River could be realised. The rest is history. In October 2009 we launched the first CNP Safaris, custom-designed photographic boat, with the second to follow in April 2011.
Each photographer accompanying CNP Safaris on a Chobe photographic safari will have the luxury of his or her own swiveling photographic chair with a “tripod” column equipped with a Wimberley head and a cranking system that not only extends up and down but which can be moved closer or further away from the photographer.
CNP Safaris can structure exclusive packages to accommodate small and large groups.
INCLUDED & EXCLUDED
For more information on what is included and excluded, please contact us.