“An African Photo Safari – Telling the Story” – Part I, Days 1-6

This is a presentation depicting the itinerary, together with some of the images taken, on a photo safari led by noted wildlife photographer, Paul Renner. This proved to be one of my life’s greatest adventures.

Camera equipment used included: Nikon D7000; Nikon D5000; Sony DSC-W220; together with the following Nikon lenses: 18-105mm; 55-200mm; 70-300mm; and 80-400mm. Numerous images were captured using a tripod or using the tripod in our vehicles as a monopod.
This presentation is initially being presented at my camera club, Hampton Roads [Virginia] Digital Shutterbug Club, on January 15, 2014.

This program tells the story of a photo safari in Africa, most of which took place in the Okavango Delta at two bush camps, Moremi Crossing and Pom Pom Camp, and on game drives in Chobe National Park. Both areas are in Botswana.
Part I portrays the activities beginning with my flight from Dulles International Airport, outside Washington, DC, via Dakar, Senegal, for refueling, to Johannesburg, South Africa. I arrived a day early and took advantage of some free time by visiting the Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve.
One of the trip’s highlights was being able to join two young orphan lions, “Vaartjie” and “Medusa,” in their open enclosure of perhaps a half-acre at the Reserve outside Joburg. I overcame my profound love of dogs to join up with these kitties! Of course, I did not utter a word of my preferences to these cats.
I took a test image with my camera to check for correct exposure, and then handed my DSLR camera to Emily, a groundskeeper, in the hopes that I would live to get it back! Fortunately, the two lions, while being playful, were great fun to be with. Emily was a fantastic assistant to South Africa’s newest lion tamer!
That night, I joined with Paul Renner, a noted wildlife photographer and leader of our group of ten others, for a welcome dinner at the Southern Sun O. R. Tambo International Airport Hotel. These folks not only proved to be excellent traveling companions, but several in our group were superb photographers. It was to be a great sharing experience.
The next morning, after an early breakfast, our group of photographers boarded a flight from Joburg to Maun, Botswana, as that is the gateway to the Okavango Delta. Next up was a charter flight with Air Moremi aboard a Cessna Caravan with a seating capacity of twelve plus two seats for crew, into the Delta.
We landed at Xaxaba Airfield, as the strip that usually serviced Moremi Crossing, our destination, was flooded. The water levels in the Delta were unusually high during out visit in late May and early June 2011.
Once at Xaxaba, we took a hike of about a half-mile to board one of two boats, the other being solely for our luggage. While cruising through the Delta, the solitude and beauty were magnificent! Then we came upon our first elephant up on the bank.
Welcome to the Delta! … Welcome to Africa!
Then began the adventure of a lifetime. Part I depicts Days 1-6 of a 17-day epic experience.

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