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Pangolin Photograph Safaris Evaluate – What You Have to Know [2023]

On our current travels round Africa we spent every week at Pangolin Chobe Resort, which is globally famend for being the most effective African safari for photographers. However does it ship? Dive into our Pangolin Photograph Safaris assessment as we unravel the essence of this luxurious expertise and uncover what makes Pangolin so distinctive.

For a lot of, an African safari sits on the pinnacle of their bucket listing – a dream woven with the golden threads of sundown savannahs, the roaring crescendos of lions at daybreak, and the majestic procession of elephants in opposition to the backdrop of an acacia skyline.

Whereas the uncooked great thing about Africa is undeniably breathtaking, capturing these fleeting moments via the digicam lens, immortalising them in {a photograph}, isn’t any straightforward feat.

The elusive dance of sunshine and shadow, the unpredictability of wildlife, and the vastness of the panorama can pose formidable challenges even to seasoned photographers.

Enter Pangolin Photograph Safaris.

Two Giraffes Kissing Pangolin Photo Safaris Review
Two giraffes come collectively beneath an African sundown. One of many unbelievable moments we managed to seize at Pangolin Photograph Safaris in Botswana.

Nestled within the coronary heart of Kasane, Botswana, on the sting of the legendary Chobe Nationwide Park, this distinctive firm doesn’t simply promise an African safari; it ensures that each heartbeat of the wilderness is artfully captured, transcending the limitations of images and turning goals into tangible reminiscences.

We had first heard about Pangolin after we met the co-founder, Guts, on a images symposium in South Georgia in 2018, and had made it a private objective to go to the safari lodge every time we lastly realised our dream of stepping foot on the African continent.

Within the years that adopted we met dozens, if not tons of, of images fanatics who had visited Pangolin and sung its praises.

“In the event you like taking images, you need to spend time there,” we had been always informed. “There’s no different place prefer it in Africa.”

Try our full African safari wildlife images video from Pangolin Photograph Safaris!

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So this 12 months we made that dream a actuality, spending 2 months wandering round Southern Africa with the ultimate journey being every week having fun with the long-lasting photograph safari experiences of Pangolin in Botswana.

We had set ourselves some lofty objectives by way of the inventive imagery we hoped to create, and knew that if we had been actually to raise our wildlife images to the subsequent stage, Pangolin can be the place to take action.

From the second we arrived, we knew we had made the proper selection.

READ MORE: Try our complete information to the most effective journey images ideas!

High Key Elephant
An elephant shot in black and white excessive key model. In the event you’re able to get inventive along with your wildlife images, Pangolin is the place to do it!

Our Pangolin Photograph Safaris Evaluate – Is This Africa’s Premiere Wildlife Images Expertise?

What units Pangolin Photograph Safaris other than different lodges in Africa is that at its coronary heart, it’s designed purely for photographers to enhance their craft and seize the most effective photographs attainable.

It’s not essentially the most luxurious lodge in Africa, neither is it on a personal concession granting unique encounters.

However neither of these issues are mandatory for Pangolin’s goal market – specifically individuals who love images and need to get higher at it.

Pangolin continues to be luxurious although, providing all-inclusive stays in 4-star Kasane lodging for as much as 28 folks at a time, and it’s nonetheless unique with small group experiences on devoted images boats.

Pangolin Wildlife Photography Gallery
The big foyer at Pangolin Chobe Resort can also be an epic wildlife images gallery.

Nonetheless there may be one other aspect to a safari with Pangolin that few different firms supply and nobody else matches – unrivalled entry to a number of the greatest wildlife photographers in Africa with complete mentoring and workshops.

The ethos of Pangolin had been born out of frustration that images workshops had been usually marketed to hardcore fanatics or professionals who paid exorbitant quantities of cash to journey alongside their favorite photographer.

This conventional design made these workshops our of attain for most individuals, as a result of the dates had been completely depending on when the host wished to steer the group (if these dates didn’t give you the results you want, you’re out of luck), had been very costly and also you wanted to supply your personal gear.

And anybody who has gotten into images is aware of simply how pricy it may be.

Guts and Toby, the 2 founders of Pangolin, flipped the business on its head by making a product the place anyone may go to at any time of 12 months and have entry to world class photographers and even borrow digicam gear if desired.

It was a revolution, and Pangolin Photograph Safaris has been taking the images world by storm ever since.

Despite the fact that we’ve been skilled photographers for nearly a decade and been lucky sufficient to journey to a number of the world’s greatest wildlife locations, reminiscent of Antarctica, the Galapagos and Alaska, we learnt extra in a single week and captured our greatest photographs ever all because of the crew at Pangolin.

In the event you’re a photographer, whether or not newbie or skilled, and all the time wished to journey to Africa along with your digicam, our Pangolin Photograph Safaris assessment will go deep into what makes this place so unbelievable, and provide help to determine whether or not or not it’s the proper expertise for you.

Let’s dive into it!

Fast Hearth – 10 Issues We Love About Pangolin Photograph Safaris

  • Mentoring by knowledgeable wildlife photographer on each safari all through your total keep.
  • The Pangolin boats are designed particularly for photographers with centre-row swivel seats and absolutely articulating tripod mounts.
  • Top quality Canon cameras and Sigma 150-600mm telephoto lenses to be used by visitors at no further price.
  • The resort employees are absolute legends, being a number of the nicest folks we met in Africa (plus being humorous as hell whenever you chat with them).
  • The lodge is opulent and cozy with out being pretentious, full with a everlasting photograph artwork exhibition
  • All-inclusive top quality meals and drinks, together with premium wine, spirits and cocktails, as a part of your keep.
  • Communal meal occasions imply you get to know all the opposite visitors staying at Pangolin, creating long-lasting friendships.
  • Chobe Nationwide Park is an absolute mecca for wildlife, with the biggest inhabitants of African elephants on the continent.
  • The crew are additionally safari planners with a large community, and will help you ebook different lodges and safaris round Africa, together with the wildebeest migration in Kenya or fly-in safaris within the Okavango Delta.
  • A portion of the earnings goes in the direction of defending the critically endangered pangolin species via their Pangolin.Africa non-profit organisation.
Elephants Sunset Botswana Photo Safari
A herd of elephants wander the plateau of Chobe Nationwide Park at sundown. Captured on our Botswana photograph safari.

The place is Pangolin Photograph Safaris?

Pangolin Photograph Safaris is predicated in Kasane, Botswana, proper on the sting of the Chobe Nationwide Park.

Only a quick drive away from the Chobe River, the primary lodge is on the outskirts of city, making it fairly peaceable and likewise commonly visited by wildlife together with baboons, antelope and even elephants and lions.

The Chobe Nationwide Park is a wildlife fanatic’s paradise, boasting a exceptional range of animals, together with 4 of the Massive 5.

It’s residence to the biggest inhabitants of elephants on the African continent, in addition to an ample quantity of hippos, crocodiles, lions, leopards, giraffes, buffalo, impala, sable, water buck, different antelopes and naturally an enormous number of hen life.

Pangolin’s location makes it an distinctive vacation spot for recreation drives and Chobe River cruises, excellent for safari fanatics and photographers who a re in search of unbelievable encounters with Africa’s exceptional wildlife of their pure habitat.

READ MORE: Hitting the street looking for epic images experiences? Try our newest information to the greatest cameras for journey proper now!

Chobe River Views
Views over the Chobe River from the upstairs deck at Pangolin Chobe Resort.

How one can Get to Pangolin Photograph Safaris?

Pangolin is just a few minutes away from Kasane Worldwide Airport, which means you’ll be able to fly straight into the city and any person from the crew will decide you up and drive you again to the lodge.

Nonetheless Kasane isn’t essentially the most well-connected airport in Africa, so a extra handy possibility is to fly into Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe or Livingstone, Zambia, and have Pangolin organise your quick switch from there.

We personally did the quick switch from Livingstone, and it was completely seamless from resort pickup (we simply informed the gross sales crew the place we had been staying beforehand) to crossing the Botswana and Zambian borders and arriving to the lodge.

It’s a few 2-hour drive from both location.

Malachite Kingfisher Chobe National Park
A malachite kingfisher noticed early within the morning on the Chobe River.

The Lodging – Pangolin Chobe Resort Evaluate

Pangolin Photograph Safaris function two completely different lodging choices out of Kasane – the unique Pangolin Chobe Resort, and the newest addition, Pangolin Voyager houseboat.

The Pangolin Chobe Resort is a luxurious lodge in Kasane, Botswana, proper on the sting of the Chobe Nationwide Park boundary and minutes away from the Chobe River.

It’s the proper mix of high-end consolation, high quality facilities and homeliness, encouraging visitors to get pleasure from time with one another slightly than preserve a celebrity-style exclusiveness.

Personally, we love that model.

We solely stayed on the resort so will talk about that right here in our assessment. However there’s just a little write-up concerning the houseboat additional down our article.

Pangolin Hotel Outside
The surface of Pangolin Chobe Resort, with its large pangolin-shaped facade.

The Rooms

The rooms at Pangolin are designed for consolation and practicality, together with an acceptable dose of epic artwork and photograph prints, making certain visitors have every little thing they want for his or her keep.

There are huge home windows and balconies, offering ample pure mild and a view of the Chobe River within the distance.

Among the high ground rooms additionally look down over the watering gap, so if you happen to’re fortunate you’ll be capable of spot wildlife proper out of your balcony.

The rooms include all of the important facilities that travellers respect. The outsized beds are extremely comfy, making certain a superb evening’s sleep after an enormous day of safari adventures.

Pangolin Photo Safaris Chobe Hotel Room
Massive rooms with Chobe views. Good for a luxurious keep in Botswana.

In fact it’s air conditioned and heated to maintain the African climate at bay, and complimentary Wi-Fi, so you’ll be able to keep linked or share your experiences with household and family members.

The loos have a clear, industrial model to them, with uncovered pipes and plenty of hooks and bench house together with the massive bathe.

Lastly there’s no forgetting that there are photographers staying right here, and photographers are likely to have so much of substances. Cameras, batteries, lenses, chargers, equipment, laptops and extra.

Figuring out that, each room has an enormous, stable bench that runs in opposition to the far wall with loads of common energy retailers and USB factors so you’ll be able to unfold your gear in all places and hold every little thing charged.

Chobe Hotel Inside Room
The big mattress in our high ground room on the resort. Discover the lengthy bench with tonnes of energy retailers for holding your images gear absolutely charged. No extra preventing for an influence level!

Wildlife Images Gallery

The Pangolin Chobe Resort incorporates a wildlife images gallery via their halls that showcases a number of the most unbelievable, inspiring photographs you’ve ever seen.

There are highly effective photographs of massive recreation to intricate photographs of birds and even landscapes from all over the world printed in massive codecs across the lodge.

The images are taken by Pangolin’s photograph hosts and a handful of images guides which have introduced teams to the Chobe on a Pangolin safari. (Hopefully us sooner or later?)

We should have walked across the lodge dozens of occasions turning into mesmerised by all of the photographs hanging up, and turning into extra impressed than ever to get out and create.

Pangolin Art Gallery
The wildlife photograph and artwork gallery at Pangolin is phenomenal, and actually conjures up you to get out on safari and create some epic imagery!

The Upstairs Lounge and Bar

On the highest ground of Pangolin Chobe Resort is the massive lounge space, which is the place to be in between safaris or after dinner when the celebrities come out and the cocktails are flowing.

You’ll discover loads of seating house, with sprawling couches and chairs to sit back on and a good assortment of wildlife and panorama images books scattered round to learn.

The bar runs the total size of the lounge with a formidable bronze pangolin statue within the center, and there’s a barista espresso machine together with each sort of drink you’d like.

Pangolin Statue
The pangolin statue sanding proud on the bar.

Within the evenings a bartender is available to whip up signature cocktails or pour any sort of drink you’d like, and the remainder of the time you’re free to assist your self behind the bar for any of the pre-made drinks like soda, beers, and so forth.

In the event you’d like anything like a espresso or blended drink simply ask one of many pleasant employees who’re all the time round.

The lounge has an awesome view over the downstairs eating space, watering gap and all the way in which out to the Chobe River, making it an superior place to relax.

Pangolin Chobe Hotel Review Lounge
The open air lounge on the highest ground of Pangolin Chobe Resort.

The Modifying Room

Downstairs you’ll discover the devoted photograph enhancing room for workshops hosted by your images information in between safaris.

The darkish room has a projector setup so the information can broadcast their display for everyone to see whereas they undergo step-by-step what their enhancing workflow is like.

There are additionally a few PC and Apple computer systems obtainable for visitors to backup their very own photographs or edit images, in case you didn’t deliver a laptop computer.

Editing Room With Janine
Janine displaying us her detailed enhancing workflow with Adobe Lightroom.

Eating Rooms

There are two locations the place meals are served on the lodge, each on the downstairs ground.

For breakfast, morning tea and afternoon tea, a buffet is specified by the within eating room, with a variety of tables to unfold out.

There’s a espresso and tea station, snacks and recent lemonade to get pleasure from at any time.

Within the evenings the enjoyable strikes outdoors, as all sunsets in Africa ought to, with a hearth being lit for sundowner drinks.

Inside Dining Room
The within eating space.

Dinners are ready by the chief cooks, with entrees being served on to your desk and mains in buffet model. Desserts, after all, observe the mains.

Waiters wander round gathering drink orders too, so that you don’t must run upstairs to seize one other one when your glass is empty.

We completely beloved our outside meals, and one of many images guides all the time hosts the meal too, sharing attention-grabbing tales and interesting with the visitors.

Outdoor Deck At Pangolin Chobe Hotel
The outside eating space and deck.


Oh boy, the place can we begin with the meals? All of the meals we ate at Pangolin had been merely divine!

You’re served 4 meals a day – a light-weight breakfast earlier than your morning safari, a big morning tea whenever you return round 11am, a light-weight afternoon tea earlier than the subsequent safari, and an enormous dinner within the night.

All dietary necessities are catered for, together with vegetarians and vegans, as nicely allergy symptoms being taken care of.

Within the evenings there are sometimes completely different themes, reminiscent of pizza evening or a braai, and through our week at Pangolin we by no means had been served the identical dinner twice.

Chefs Cooking Braai
A standard African braai (barbecue) cooked up on the Chobe Resort.

The Watering Gap and Conceal

Lastly one of the superb options of the Pangolin Chobe Resort is the watering gap situated proper outdoors the rooms.

With recycled water being pumped into it always, the watering gap turns into a little bit of a gathering level for lots of wildlife, together with antelopes, elephants and even lions.

You possibly can watch the watering gap from the consolation of your balcony, however the most effective place to go is the underground bunker, or conceal, that offers a water-level view.

READ MORE: Try our full assessment of one in all our favorite lodges in South Africa, Jaci’s Lodges in Madikwe!

You entry the conceal via a concrete tunnel, and when you’re down there you’ll discover seats, energy retailers, a bench and naturally a slim, open window for unbelievable vistas on the fringe of the water

In the event you’re fortunate and get down there with just a few animals you’ll be able to seize some exceptional images. Sadly for us the wildlife all the time appeared to seem whereas we had been on safari or sleeping (Pangolin has an online digicam arrange to allow them to monitor it), however hopefully you’ll have higher luck than us.

Elephant Legs And Trunk Illuminated Pangolin Hide
We didn’t see any animals within the conceal throughout our keep, however think about getting low angles like this! Perhaps you’ll be luckier than us.

Pangolin Voyager – The Chobe Houseboat

Along with the resort, Pangolin now owns and operates a Chobe River luxurious houseboat on the Namibian facet, with 4 cabins housing as much as ten visitors and its personal eating room.

Company who select to ebook the houseboat keep onboard for anyplace from 2-5 days, with 3-4 being the most typical.

Your complete expertise is supposedly epic, as you may get a lot deeper into the Chobe Nationwide Park then you’ll be able to on day excursions, opening up a complete new panorama and wildlife hub, reminiscent of Namibia’s Caprivi floodplains.

The safaris are the identical as when based mostly on land, with the identical photograph boat being towed behind which you head out on for dawn and sundown on the river straight.

The distinction is slightly than going again to the resort, you sleep and eat on the floating lodge.

We didn’t have the prospect to remain right here because it was already booked out (severely take into account reserving early if you wish to keep there, it’s standard!), however we’ll undoubtedly plan higher subsequent time to have just a few nights onboard.

Pangolin Voyager Houseboat
The legendary Pangolin Voyager houseboat. We didn’t keep right here on this go to, however after we come again (and also you higher consider we’ll be again!) we’re undoubtedly reserving in for just a few nights.

The Safaris

Pangolin Photograph Safaris gives two several types of excursions twice a day; river-based and land-based.

If you join a photograph safari in Chobe Nationwide Park with Pangolin you’re assigned to a gaggle and photograph host (except you’re already travelling as a part of a gaggle) so these excursions are normally scheduled for you.

However if you wish to do one as an alternative of the opposite you are able to do as you please.

That being stated most visitors choose to spend most of their time on the river, and that’s what Pangolin focuses on, because the images alternatives are normally extra numerous and attention-grabbing from the water.

Photographers know that the very best time to take footage is throughout golden hour, the time simply after the solar has rose and simply earlier than the solar is setting, however sadly 95% of safaris you do in Africa don’t prioritise taking images throughout this spectacular golden mild.

At Pangolin although your complete excursions are designed to have you ever in the most effective place for optimum mild, so that you’re not going to seek out your self all of a sudden stopping for a gin and tonic in a featureless plain throughout sundown.

As an alternative you’re chasing mild and capturing animals on the actual time you need to be!

Chobe River Elephants
Elephants having fun with a drink by the Chobe River on one in all our afternoon safaris.

There’s additionally no time restrict whenever you do spot an animal you’d wish to {photograph}. Whereas different safaris are sometimes about amount, speeding from one animal to the subsequent, with Pangolin you may have as a lot time as you’d like with whichever animal you need to {photograph}.

Stumbled throughout a herd of elephants that appear like they could cross the river? The fellows will transfer the boat into place for the most effective lighting and angles, after which merely wait to see what occurs.

READ MORE: Don’t neglect that you want to carry your gear in some way! Discover the proper bag for you with our detailed information on the greatest digicam backpacks for journey.

See a pack of baboons enjoying in a tree? Why not wait some time to see what sort of behaviour you see.

Miss the shot in your first try? No worries, let’s attempt once more.

In any case, as any skilled wildlife photographer will inform you, it’s all about persistence and watching the animals.

Listed here are what the 2 completely different Pangolin safaris in Chobe Nationwide Park are like:

Chobe River Boat Cruise
Photographing a buffalo from the boat. There are such a lot of nice safari experiences available in Chobe Nationwide Park!

Chobe River Safaris

The true spotlight, and magnificence that initially launched Pangolin, are the river safaris that happen on the Chobe River.

There are two timings for the river safaris – one leaving about half-hour earlier than dawn and staying out for round 4 hours (relying on what you see), and one other heading out round 3 hours earlier than sundown and returning about half-hour after the solar dips beneath the horizon.

After a fast 5 minute switch to the dock along with your group you leap into your specialised images boats (extra on these beneath) after which head out looking for animals.

Most different safari firms in Kasane do land safaris within the morning and sundown cruises within the evenings, so the boat exercise on the river is actual minimal very first thing.

Heron Flying Chobe River
A heron takes flight at first mild.

Within the mornings the river is commonly extremely nonetheless with mirror-like reflections, and whereas the bigger recreation aren’t normally energetic then it’s an ideal time to chase hen life.

The boat drivers and photograph guides will usually go looking for malachite kingfishers, bee-eaters, storks, herons and different kinds of birds, and even if you happen to’re not essentially a birder it’s a beautiful expertise watching and making an attempt to {photograph} these beautiful species.

As soon as the solar will get increased and the sunshine turns from a golden glow right into a harsher white it’s a good time to apply excessive key and low key images, holding everybody on their toes whereas getting artistic with hippos, crocodiles, buffalo, antelope and elephants.

After just a few hours you cease for a freshly brewed espresso and bathroom (bushy bushy) break then proceed the seek for photographic alternatives earlier than making your means again to the lodge round 10:30ish.

Half Collared Kingfishers Flying
Two half-collared kingfishers greet one another within the air. We waited about quarter-hour to seize this encounter – different boats merely cruised by, pointed them out and stored on going.

The afternoon journeys function in a lot the identical means, besides the large recreation sightings are sometimes far more ample.

Heading out round 3pm the group normally heads west, encountering large herds of elephants alongside the way in which.

The guides have a variety of locations that they know are dependable for explicit wildlife encounters and nice images, and relying on what the visitors are in search of or what they’ve seen beforehand, the guides will loosely construction the safari to extend new alternatives.

For instance there’s just a little island that Africa skimmers usually nest, and within the afternoons they’re very energetic, flying round and fishing which makes for enjoyable and difficult images.

Then there’s Ele Bay, and with a reputation like that you could already guess what you’d anticipate finding there.

Backlit Rim Light Baboon
A backlit baboon wanders throughout a tree close to Ele Bay. Shot in low key model to deliver out the rim mild.

Large numbers of pachyderms wander down most afternoons to drink from the water and play.

It’s additionally an awesome spot for hippos and baboons.

And at last because the solar begins to set many of the Pangolin boats will make a touch to Namibia’s Caprivi floodplains the place you by no means know what animal will wander throughout the far horizon because the solar dips down.

For 3 completely different nights in a row we noticed a herd of elephants, a tower of giraffes and a delight of lions. Fairly exceptional, and our absolute favorite photographs captured got here from right here.

Elephant At Sunset
The solar units behind an elephant – moments like these are why it is best to ebook a photograph safari.

The Pangolin Images Boats

The boats that Pangolin owns and operates are an enormous drawcard for why it is best to ebook a visit with them, and when out on the water they usually have vacationers from different cruise firms snapping images of them.

The lengthy, slim aluminium boats had been personally designed and constructed by Pangolin co-founder Gerhard ‘Guts’ Swanepoel, and had been what initially kicked off Pangolin Photograph Safaris earlier than the lodges and tour firm had been developed.

There are 8 comfy chairs lined down the centre that swivel 360 levels, making certain there’s no such factor because the ‘unhealthy facet’ of the boat.

Pangolin Photo Boats
Alesha and our group stress-free on the boat at dawn. As you’ll be able to see they’re completely designed for photographers.

On the port and starboard facet as nicely there may be a number of ground house so you’ll be able to leap out of the chair and get down low or transfer round if you happen to’d like a special angle.

The factor you’ll first discover although that units Pangolin’s boats other than the remainder are the heavy obligation digicam mounts which can be connected to every set.

These absolutely adjustable arms have a normal tripod mount on the highest and articulate in nearly an infinite quantity of how, so you’ll be able to put your heavy telephoto lenses on the mount and save your arms from burning.

In addition they permit for a lot sharper photographs when capturing at lengthy focal lengths because it minimises digicam shake, and improves video stability.

Camera Mount On Boat
The digicam mount is a full swivel model, permitting you to place your digicam anyplace you’d like whereas sustaining stability.

One other advantage of being on the Pangolin boats is the chance to get your digicam good and low for distinctive views, which in wildlife images is important for extra intimate photographs.

The boats have a shallow draft as nicely to allow them to get nearer to the shore and between slim channels as nicely, however are nonetheless greater than secure sufficient for any sort of situations.

Boats In Action
One of many images boats in motion.

Land Safaris

Whereas the primary attraction is normally the river safaris on the Chobe, the land safaris within the nationwide park are nicely value experiencing.

There’s so much to see within the park, together with lions, giraffes, elephants and if you happen to’re actually fortunate leopards.

Leaping into one in all Pangolin’s comfy open-air Land Cruisers you head out into the park both morning or evening, and whilst you’re normally not the fist automobile within the park, the guides make a aware effort to keep away from many of the different vehicles.

Minimalist Giraffe
A minimalist giraffe noticed on our land safari.

Images is the secret, so if the selection is go see a male lion together with 20 different vehicles with poor angles, or go discover giraffes ingesting from a water gap with nobody else round, the quieter possibility usually wins (except it’s one thing not one of the visitors have seen earlier than like a leopard.

The land safaris with Pangolin do end in nice images, and also you completely ought to head out on at the least one throughout your time on the lodge.

Male Lion Black And White
A big male lion we encountered on a recreation drive within the nationwide park.

The Photograph Hosts

You’ve heard us speak concerning the Pangolin photograph hosts a bunch by now, however we’re going to dive just a little deeper into them to clarify a) why they’re so superior and b) why they actually make your go to to Pangolin a lot extra full.

The corporate was co-founded by Guts Swanepoel, one of many world’s greatest wildlife photographers, on the premise that wildlife images must be loved by all people, no matter abilities and kit, and that with just a bit little bit of steering anyone can stroll away with unbelievable photographs of animals.

The opposite co-founder, Toby Jermyn, is extra of a hobbyist photographer with a ardour for the African bush and animals, and on this model is the precise motive why an organization like Pangolin exists and is so profitable – come one come all, deliver your digicam, or borrow one, and seize lovely photographs and uncover a newfound appreciation for African wildlife.

Each single safari can be lead by Guts, who imparted all his information on easy methods to seize beautiful photographs and get higher at utilizing your digicam, and the components began to realize worldwide recognition.

As Pangolin grew in reputation there was a necessity to rent extra photograph hosts, and Guts and Toby set off on the troublesome activity of choosing skilled photographers who weren’t solely distinctive of their craft, but additionally implausible lecturers and selfless guides.

Us Jaco Beukman Pangolin Photo Host
Us and Jaco Beukman, one of many implausible photograph hosts at Pangolin.

Quick ahead to in the present day and Pangolin has achieved simply that, with a complete crew of photograph hosts which can be the very best within the enterprise.

If you verify in at Pangolin you’ll turn into a part of a gaggle that’s led by one of many skilled photograph hosts, and so they’ll turn into your private mentor all through your keep.

On each safari you’ll be joined by them, and their job is to make sure you seize thoughts blowing images.

They not often take a photograph themselves (partly as a result of their portfolios are already huge), and as an alternative stroll up and down the boats or give steering from the Land Cruisers to be sure to’re doing okay.

You probably have a query about your digicam, they’re there to assist.

Want some concepts for which settings to make use of? The photograph hosts will chat about what they would choose and why, giving strategies on easy methods to seize excessive or low key photographs, birds in flight, gradual panning photographs, or no matter else you’d wish to create.

READ MORE: Interested by becoming a member of a small group images workshop? Try our worldwide photograph excursions!

Keeme Boat Driver Pangolin
Our native boat driver, Keeme. Not solely is he an animal behaviour knowledgeable, seems he’s additionally an unbelievable photographer.

The hosts although aren’t overpowering, and are more than pleased to face again and let the visitors do their very own factor in the event that they’re feeling assured.

Again on the lodge the photograph hosts head to the enhancing room to work on a few of their photographs, and likewise these of the visitors if they need, to indicate precisely what they’re workflow is and educate a few of their tips of the commerce.

Throughout our time at Pangolin we really had the prospect to bounce between just a few completely different photograph hosts as we weren’t a part of anybody group.

We had been privileged sufficient to have Jaco, Janine, Pusetso and even Guts as our guides on our go to and because of them got here away with not solely the most effective wildlife images we’ve ever taken, but additionally a complete new ability set and appreciation for this artwork kind.

Having the chance to spend time with and study from a few of Africa’s high wildlife photographers is one thing that can not be taken as a right.

Gerhard Guts Swanepoel Pangolin Co Founder Owner
Us and Guts, the co-founder of Pangolin Photograph Safaris. He’s one of the beneficiant, gifted folks on the planet and we’re honoured to name him a pal.

Do I Should Be a Skilled Photographer to Be a part of?

You would possibly assume that as a result of Pangolin run ‘photograph safaris’ that the one strategy to be part of is if you happen to’re knowledgeable your self.

That’s not the case in any respect!

In truth most individuals who journey with Pangolin, both to their lodge or houseboat in Kasane or on any of their different African safaris, are newbie or hobbyist photographers who simply have a need to seize nice photographs of animals or enhance their abilities.

Some folks deliver their very own digicam gear, whereas others will use the gear equipped by Pangolin.

Canon And Sigma Camera Lens For Rent
Don’t have your personal wildlife images gear? No drawback! Pangolin has a complete assortment of Canon cameras and Sigma 150-600mm lenses to make use of free of charge.

Some visitors even have little interest in images in any respect, and on our explicit safari one of many girls didn’t even contact a digicam, and as an alternative simply used binoculars to watch the animals.

Whereas every safari is designed with photographers in thoughts, this isn’t on an unique foundation and a advantage of travelling with Pangolin as a non-photographer is that you simply spend far more time with particular person species than different firms in Chobe Nationwide Park do, and you’ve got a really skilled native information and wildlife photographer with you to speak about animal behaviours and details.

Family At Pangolin
We even noticed a complete household with children be part of a safari, proving that this expertise is for anyone.

Pangolin.Africa – Pangolin’s Conservation Charity

The story of how Pangolin obtained its title is an enchanting one (if Guts is there whenever you keep, ask him about it), and for anybody that’s conscious, the pangolin is likely one of the most endangered species in Africa because of unlawful poaching.

As a result of some cultures wrongly consider pangolin scales have medicinal advantages (spoiler alert: they don’t! A pangolin scale is product of keratin, the very same substance your finger nails are constituted of) an enormous black market commerce has emerged round looking these fascinating animals.

Toby and Guts have determined to take cost of this disastrous crime by launching a not-for-profit organisation referred to as Pangolin.Africa that’s devoted to the conservation and safety of the 4 African species of pangolin.

If you ebook a keep right here $5 per evening is donated to the charity which creates initiatives for locals to guard not hurt pangolins and lift consciousness.

As of this 12 months they’ve additionally launched the ‘Pangolin Champions’ programme which is a enjoyable, interactive on-line course you are able to do both at residence or on the lodge.

With training comes consciousness, and if Toby, Guts and their total crew have their means the pangolin will bounce again and be round for a lot of generations to return.

Pangolin Guardian
Jarryd turning into a Pangolin Guardian.

A Typical Day at Pangolin Photograph Safaris

So what precisely is a typical day like at Pangolin?

In the event you’re working your means via our Pangolin Photograph Safaris assessment and nonetheless questioning if it’s for you, that is what you’ll be able to anticipate in your go to.


You get up at 5:30am (through the winter months) and head down for a light-weight breakfast and low at 6am.

Round 6:30am you leap in a minivan or automobile and head all the way down to the dock to board your boat (or take a Land Cruiser into the Chobe Nationwide Park for a recreation drive).

For the subsequent few hours you’ll chase the sunshine, being guided by what the native guides and photograph host see, having loads of alternatives to {photograph} the wildlife.

Chobe Bee Eater
A bee eater relaxes on a reed. The mornings are nice for hen life on the Chobe.

Round 9am you’ll cease for a espresso break, and the photograph host will whip up recent batches of tea, espresso and biscuits.

In the event you want the lavatory the boat driver may even discover someplace on land that’s secure to go within the bush.

At about 10:30am you’ll begin making your means again to the lodge.

On The Boat
Out photographing some birds early within the morning.


It’s 11am and time for brunch, which is served within the downstairs eating room buffet model. There’s an awesome number of wholesome, filling meals to tuck into, in addition to extra espresso and tea after all.

When you’ve completed consuming you may have the subsequent few hours to chill out. It’s an ideal alternative to back-up your images, clear your SD playing cards and possibly have a little bit of a nap or learn within the lounge.

In the event you’re focused on doing a little bit of an enhancing workshop your photograph host will ebook in a time on the enhancing room so you’ll be able to sit down and find out how the most effective within the enterprise use Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop, Topaz and different software program to make their photographs pop.

Outside Pangolin Lodge
In the event you simply really feel like kicking again and stress-free, there’s a number of house across the lodge to just do that!

For us we’d normally head in round 1:30pm with our host and dive into their workflow. It actually is an excellent, interactive alternative, and you’ve got the choice of working collectively on a few of your personal photographs, or watching our the host edits their very own images.

For inexperienced persons you may as well undergo an ‘Introduction to Images’ workshop the place the photograph host dissects all issues images such because the Publicity Triangle, focus modes, primary enhancing, and so forth.

At 2:30pm there’s afternoon tea within the eating room so you may get some vitality earlier than the subsequent exercise.

3pm it’s time to go out on the final safari for the day. This can both be on the boat or a recreation drive, relying on what you or the group wish to do.

High Key Crocodile
Within the afternoon it’s time to go out once more and see what different photographs you’ll be able to create.

The afternoon safari is far the identical because the morning, with a special deal with the kinds of animals you’ll encounter and extra probabilities to get artistic along with your footage.

Alongside the way in which there’ll be a brief rest room break if required, in any other case the cooler is all the time open for soda, beer, wine or anything you’re feeling like ingesting whereas photographing wildlife.

When golden hour approaches your photograph host and driver will head to the proper spot to catch sundown. As talked about earlier this isn’t about the place is prettiest to get pleasure from a cocktail – it’s about the place the most effective animal encounters will probably be!

The Chobe Nationwide Park has a strict closing time for when all people wants to depart the park, and that is simply earlier than it will get darkish.

Giraffes And Elephants
Giraffes and elephants. Is there a greater mixture?

Because of this most boat cruises are already nicely on their means again to the boat dock earlier than the solar has set to beat the deadline, which means for photographers you’re lacking the most effective mild.

Nonetheless the Pangolin boats are so much quicker than the vast majority of different firms, to allow them to keep so much deeper within the park after the solar has dipped beneath the horizon and nonetheless get again to the dock earlier than the park closes.

When you’ve captured some absolute bangers you’ll zoom again to the dock with a drink in hand and take the switch again to the lodge.

High Key Black And White Hippo
A hippo costs our boat as we zoom again to the lodge. Don’t fear – the boats are so heavy and secure that hippos can’t flip them.


Again on the resort round 6:30pm the hearth is now roaring outdoors and cocktails are free flowing from the bar.

Seize your self a glass of your favorite beverage and be part of your new associates and different likeminded folks for amusing and share tales of what sort of experiences you had out on safari.

At 7pm dinner is served outdoors, and you’ll decide a seat anyplace you’d like on the communal tables.

The chef comes out and talks concerning the meals their crew have been busy whipping up, accompanied by a wholesome dose of guffaws and banter.

3 programs are served up, the waiters proceed to deliver the drinks out, after which the remainder of the night is free so that you can do as you please.

Some retire early after an enormous day whereas others head as much as the bar to proceed the socialising. The bar is open so long as there are visitors eager to have a drink, so there’s no bedtime to stick to (though out of respect to the opposite visitors they ask for noise to be stored to a minimal after 10pm.

Hit the sack and seize some sleep so that you’re prepared for an additional massive journey tomorrow!

Outdoor Fireplace At Pangolin
What a spot to have just a few sundowners.

Our Evaluate of Pangolin Photograph Safaris – 9/10

We completely beloved our time at Pangolin Photograph Safaris in Botswana. After two months travelling Africa and occurring extra safaris than we will rely, we will actually say that our go to to Pangolin was our absolute spotlight of your complete journey.

There have been so many implausible components that made up this being our favorite place in Africa.

The steering from the photograph hosts, the attractive lodging, divine meals, implausible employees, distinctive images boats and naturally the wildlife – all of it added as much as making an excellent expertise much more distinctive.

Pangolin Staff
The employees at Pangolin Photograph Safaris are magnificent!

Because of Pangolin we got here away with the most effective wildlife images we’ve got ever captured, and we all know that if it wasn’t for the encouragement and mentorship from Guts, Janine, Jaco and Pusetso we wouldn’t have grown a lot as photographers.

Their insightful means to share their information and push our creativity has reignited our love of photograph artwork.

So was Pangolin excellent? Effectively, no, nothing is ideal.

For us the wifi was just a little gradual within the rooms (superb within the lounge), however that is Africa in any case. What do you anticipate?

Actually although, that’s just about the one factor we may fault it on.

Guts And Alesha Pangolin Photo Safaris Review
Guts and Alesha out on the boat.

We loved our time at Pangolin Photograph Safaris a lot that we’re already planning our return subsequent 12 months, and will probably be trying to run a NOMADasaurus Images Tour right here in Botswana in 2025!

What did you consider our Pangolin Photograph Safaris assessment? Have you ever stayed right here earlier than or fascinated by staying right here sooner or later?

Drop a remark beneath along with your ideas, or drop us an e-mail you probably have any questions. All the time pleased to assist.

Belief us – you’ll be exhausting pressed to discover a higher photograph safari in Africa than with Pangolin.

High Key Elephants

Who owns Pangolin Safaris?

Pangolin Safaris is owned by Gerhard ‘Guts’ Swanepoel and Toby Jermyn, two associates with completely completely different backgrounds. Guts is an award-winning wildlife photographer who could be very fingers on and loves nothing greater than serving to visitors have the most effective African safaris conceivable whereas additionally bettering their photographic skills. Toby is a hobbyist photographer who thrives on rising Pangolin to be the most effective photograph safari firm in Africa. Mixed they make an ideal partnership.

What does a ‘photograph safari’ imply?

A photograph safari is a one-day or multi-day expertise within the African wilderness that’s closely geared in the direction of individuals who like taking images. These are sometimes led by skilled wildlife photographers who present steering and recommendation to visitors, and excursions are structured round creating distinctive photographs with the most effective mild.

How a lot does a photograph safari price?

A photograph safari at Pangolin in Botswana ranges in value relying on the time of 12 months you go to, how lengthy you keep and the place you wish to go to. At Pangolin Chobe Resort in Kasane costs begin at round $3,250 for 7 days of hosted photograph safaris. This consists of lodging, all meals and drinks, two safaris a day and a devoted photograph host on every safari.

What’s the greatest time of 12 months to go on a safari in Botswana?

One of the best time to go on a safari in Botswana is within the winter months from June to September, when temperatures are on the coolest and fewer rain means animals congregate round watering holes and are simpler to identify amongst the vegetation. However a Botswana safari can actually be loved at any time of 12 months, as every month has its personal distinctive wildlife experiences.

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