In Africa there are numerous exotic wildlife photographic destinations that promises the eager wildlife photographer incredible results. Very rarely though does the promise and the emotional experience match the photographic result.

For as long as I can remember I have always tried to spend my time at destinations that allow me to go home with some great images. None of these are more productive than photographing from the CNP Photographic Boat operating on the Chobe River in northern Botswana.

One of the factors that I enjoy most operating from the waterside view, is the ability to manage light in a way that is not possible from a land based vehicle. In the morning when we return to our base lodge after a morning of great photography, the Sedudu Island’s western banks are mostly covered in deep shadow.

So we just keep on cruising. In the afternoon though the western bank is drenched in glorious African light. Normally when people ask me to see my favourite photographs of a recent Chobe trip, I in return ask them what specific day’s images they would like to see. The normal response then is confusion because surely one needs a whole trip to produce a few great images.

So let me share with you the results of 1.5 hours of glorious photography in one afternoon on the Chobe during my 83rd trip to the Chobe in an abnormally high flood season the end of May 2017.


Image 1: Pied Kingfisher With Catch

Pied Kingfisher With Catch

Nikon D500 with Nikon 300mm F4.0 + 1.4 X Converter / F 11@ 1/8000sec / ISO 800 / EV -1.7

Pied Kingfishers litter the western bank of the Sedudu Island bathing , squabbling and catching their daily aquatic meal.


Image 2: Collard Pratincole Landing

Collard Pratincole Landing

Nikon D500 with Nikon 400mm F2.8 + 1.7 X / F @ 1/5000sec / ISO EV – 1.7

As the high water levels of the floods give way to the rebirth of Sedudu Island large flocks of amazing Collard Pratincole frequent the island. Here one of these birds have just landed.


Image 3: Fighting White-faced ducks

Fighting White-faced ducks

Nikon D500 with Nikon 400mm+ 1.4 X Converter /F5.6 @1/8000sec / ISO 500/EV -1.7

The shallow waters that follow the rebirth of islands in the Chobe River after the floods also means that White faced Ducks must sort out who is in charge. I have seen some serious squabbling over the years amongst ducks and geese but this White faced Duck strangling another takes territorial fighting to another level!


Image 4: Bull Parade

Bull Parade

D500 with Nikon 24-70mm F2.8 / F16 @ 1/1250sec/ISO 250/ EV-1.7

This year the water levels of the Chobe still remained very high by the end of May. The elephant bulls were the only ones that actually ventured through the deeper water at this stage in search of juicy new grass. Only when the water level is much lower and the currents not so strong will the cows and calfs arrive in search of elephant heaven.


Image 5: Male African Jacana Taking a Bath

Male African Jacana Taking a Bath

Nikon D500 with Nikon 400mm + 1.4 X Converter / F8.0 @ 1/4000sec/ ISO 400/ EV -1.3

Africa Jacana’s are polyandrous. According to Roberts that means up to 7 males per one territorial female. The larger female will lay the eggs after mating and then the male will take care of the chicks after hatching on his own. Here a hard working male takes a bath.


Image 6: Monitor Lizard Crossing

Monitor Lizard Crossing

Nikon D500 with Nikon 400mm F2.8 + 2.0 X Converter / F11 @ 1/5000sec/ISO 800/ EV -1.3

It is very rare to see Water Monitor Lizards cross open water because of potential crocodile predation but to photograph such a crossing with the beautiful reflection of the blue sky in the water is truly memorable.


Warm photography greeting.

Lou Coetzer