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Wildlife Photographers Rush Back To BotswanaBy *Toby Jermyn, Pangolin Photo Safaris
The one thing that wildlife photographers prize, almost as much as a compliant leopard in a tree, is to have as much time as they need on a wildlife sighting to get their shot.
With the huge reduction in tourist numbers, even in busy destinations like the Chobe, this is exactly what they are getting and thus they are already returning in their droves.
The Pangolin Chobe Hotel has returned to pre-pandemic levels of occupancy for June as wildlife photographers have raced back to make the most of Botswana’s extraordinary wildlife and photo opportunities with the added advantage of quiet rivers and parks.
The main source markets for this revival have been South Africa, for obvious geographical reasons, as well as a considerable number of clients from the USA whose rather more measured restrictions upon re-entry to The States has made travel to Southern Africa possible.
“We see clients from places like Australia and the UK green with envy, on our social media pages, seeing their fellow photographers able to travel to Botswana and getting fantastic shots,” says Pangolin Director Toby Jermyn. “Botswana has always been a wildlife photographers paradise and it is even more so at the moment”.
To attract the regional market Pangolin has been offering deals on long stay specials for the coming months for 7 and 14 nights. These have proved very popular with the South African market who just want to be taken care of in a hospitality environment with plenty of wildlife photography on their doorstep.
Wildlife photographers have historically always been a risk-averse client base. “I remember during the Ebola crisis, a few years back, getting emails from clients wanting to know if there were any deals to be had!” says Jermyn. “They never miss a trick”.
Levels of enquiries and bookings have also returned to pre-pandemic levels as clients don’t want to miss out on securing space in what will be a busy 2022 and 2023 with bookings congestion on the cards from all the deferrals and credit notes.
With wildlife photography lending itself to small group safaris Pangolin is launching a private “bubble” photo safari combining a stay on board the Pangolin Voyager Houseboat with a private charter into the Delts to the newly opened Pangolin Photo Camp. This package will suit up to eight guests wanting exclusivity, privacy and to be cossetted in a bubble with their fellow travellers.
“We expect this to be a hot seller” says Jermyn. “Especially for clients not feeling too confident with staying at larger busier hotels just yet. We had a booking recently for one couple booking the whole houseboat and camp to themselves just so they could be on their own!”