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Conservation & Education

Wildlife conservation and education are essential to raise awareness and protect many species. Learn more about wildlife conservation initiatives and how you can help in your backyard.

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Wildlife Photography

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Ethical wildlife tourism destinations.

Wildlife Tourism

Ethical wildlife tourism can benefit the conservation of some species by providing funding and education. By engaging in responsible wildlife experiences, you directly support the conservation efforts for endangered species while raising awareness about the challenges they confront.

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Birds

The unique Pink and Grey Galah (Eolophus roseicapilla) is one of Australia’s most recognisable birds. Full of personality, Galahs are known for their comical and raucous behaviour.

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Amphibians

The slender tree frog (Litoria adelaidensis), is one of Australia’s most attractive frogs, They often cling to standing reeds.

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Mammal profiles.
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Limited Edition Wildlife Prints

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Botswana Safaris

Shinde – Okavango Delta, Botswana

Shinde in the Okavango Delta., Botswana, is one of the oldest, most loved and one of the best for wildlife photographers and enthusiasts. The Delta is a world heritage listed site with abundant wildlife.
Home 9 Wildlife Tourism Destinations 9 Shinde – Okavango Delta, Botswana

Shinde, a Gem in the Okavango Delta

Words & Images by Diana Andersen

If flying in a light aircraft makes you uneasy, other safari destinations might be more appealing than the Okavango Delta. However, this remarkable area in Botswana offers a truly unique experience. Small aircraft are the primary mode of transport to this extraordinary part of Botswana, providing a rare opportunity to witness the vast floodplains of the Delta from above. This exclusive perspective is a privilege that makes the journey more than worthwhile.

A stunning World Heritage site in the northwest area of Botswana, the Okavango Delta is a testament to nature’s grandeur. It’s a vast inland delta spanning 600,000 ha of unspoiled marshlands and floodplains. The total area exceeds two million hectares, and the annual flooding from the Okavango River area during the southern African dry season attracts many birds and other wildlife. The Delta is home to robust numbers of some of Africa’s more endangered species, such as cheetahs, rhinos, and African wild dogs. It offers a unique opportunity to potentially observe these rare creatures in their natural habitat.

What to Expect at Shinde

The Delta is not just a haven for wildlife but also home to many of Botswana’s most luxurious safari camps. Shinde, one of the oldest and most loved in the area, is no exception, offering a blend of comfort and adventure. From its spacious tents to gourmet dining amongst the trees, it’s a place where you can immerse yourself in the beauty of the Delta without sacrificing luxury.

If you visit the Delta in November, as I did, you will likely experience considerably hot conditions, potentially reaching the high 30s. Still, the approaching wet season brings some cloud cover and cooler temperatures than October, making it an excellent time to visit the area.

Ker and Downey, Botswana, rebuilt Shinde in 2020, but the spacious tented suites retain some old-world charm. Each tent has an ensuite bathroom with an indoor and outdoor shower, which provides welcome relief from the heat. There are also family tents that can comfortably accommodate a family with children.

The deck at Shinde Okavango Delta, Botswana overlooks Shinde Lagoon.

The deck overlooking Shinde Lagoon.

ANIMALINFO PUBLICATIONS
DIANA ANDERSEN
Diana Andersen is a professional photographer with a Bachelor of Arts in Design. Major Australian galleries and collections hold her award-winning work. After years as a practising designer and a lecturer in design, Diana turned her attention to her other passion, animals, and became a zookeeper working in conservation. A published author, Diana initially used photography to illustrate her books, but it has since become a passion. Diana founded Animalinfo Publications in 2007.
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A Day on the Shinde Concession

The day at Shinde in the Okavango Delta begins before dawn with freshly brewed tea or coffee delivered to your tent. Most guests enjoy a light breakfast before heading out on the morning game drive. However, photographers who want to capture the remarkable Botswana sunrise amongst the wildlife can always arrange for an early departure. In addition, your guide will stop for a morning tea break with a snack in a safe location.

Back at camp, you can enjoy a delicious brunch on your return from the morning game drive before retiring to your tent for a rest. Alternatively, you can enjoy the day in the common areas overlooking the lagoon while watching the tree squirrels scampering around the elevated deck areas. Shinde is the Setswana word for tree squirrel, the namesake for the camp. High tea is served in the afternoon before you head out for your game drive. When you return, dinner is a social affair, served under the stars with all the guests and guides attending.

At Shinde, the experience continues beyond game drives. If you are fit and adventurous, you can enjoy a walking tour or experience a Mokoro ride through the swamps for a more relaxing experience. If you prefer a faster trip than the slow pace of the Mokoro poler pushing your canoe through the reeds, you can also take a motorboat ride. You can even enjoy superb views of Shinde from above on a private helicopter flight lasting from half an hour to half a day.

Shinde Concession viewed from a helicopter.

A view from a helicopter experience over Shinde Concession.

A leopard seen from a helicopter experience over Shinde Concession.

A leopard seen from a helicopter over the Shinde Concession.

Wildlife Experiences at Shinde, Botswana

As a wildlife photographer, I prefer game drives, and the open vehicles at Shinde offer an excellent opportunity to capture good images. During my two days at Shinde, my guide was the knowledgeable and experienced Robby, who always greeted me with a smile at the start of each game drive. The guides at good camps always do their best to locate the animals you are keen to see, regardless of whether you are interested in birds or large game.

The Concession is home to a variety of antelope species. Herds of red lechwe graze in the marshlands close to water, using their powerful hindquarters to leap into the lagoons to escape pursuing predators when attacked. Reedbuck, impala, and blue wildebeest are present in good numbers, as are common tsessebe, a close relative of the topi commonly seen in Kenya. It was the start of the calving season, so the females often had leggy, awkward offspring at foot. Throughout my time at Shinde, rumbling grunts and snorts of hippos never seemed far away, as the swampy lagoons provide their perfect habitat.

Big Cats at Shinde

On my second morning, we encountered giraffes and zebras before our guide spotted a young male leopard in the fork of a tree. While we were observing him, he began to call for his mother, and, in response to her reply, he quickly descended to the ground and searched for her. Also hearing his call was a large and powerful male with heavily scarred ears from past battles.

Spoiling for a fight, the male approached the youngster’s position, allowing us to witness some remarkable behaviour from the three leopards as the young male tried to avoid a confrontation. While his mother continually placed herself between the older male and her cub, the older male salivated heavily, a response commonly seen in territorial disputes between leopards. Luckily for the young leopard, his interest waned, and we moved on in search of other sightings.

It was only a short time before we encountered two male lions moving through the area. One was pitifully thin, evidence of how harsh life can be for male lions that no longer belong to a pride. With the calving season approaching, I hoped he would find enough food before it was too late, but that is the reality of life and death in Africa, and the opportunity to experience it is a privilege.

In addition to the big cats, I was fortunate to witness one of the Delta’s more elusive small cats, the Serval, in the first light of the day. Servals are one of the animals you know you might see but don’t expect to, let alone capture them in great light and a lovely setting.

Birdlife in the Delta

The birdlife in this area is outstanding, with wattled cranes, saddle-billed storks, herons, and many kingfishers, to name just a few. The sound of woodland kingfishers singing in the trees adds to the atmosphere of this remarkable place that is a haven for many bird species. A highlight for me was seeing the seasonal arrival of the southern carmine bee-eaters. These striking birds build their nests in the sandy areas of the Concession. In the late afternoon light, the red feathering on these birds as they swoop and dive, hunting for insects, is spectacular.

At this time of year, the arrival of many migratory birds in Botswana increases the number of species frequenting this area into the hundreds. If you are a bird watcher or bird photographer, Shinde and the Okavango Delta will not disappoint.

Booking Shinde in the Okavango Delta

The afternoon game drive on my second day ended with a sundowner while watching a herd of elephants meander through the grasses with the moon rising above them. This type of experience is the stuff of dreams for animal lovers and wildlife photographers. If you want to experience this magical part of Botswana, many travel agents can book an experience at the Shinde Concession.

Pangolin Photo Safaris arranged my visit to Shinde, and the Okavango Delta is a perfect add-on to several days in Chobe with Pangolin Photo Safaris. A visit to the Delta also pairs perfectly with a trip to the Kalahari to Dinaka, another of Ker and Downey’s properties in Botswana, and one with enough difference to satisfy your interest.

Two male lions at Shinde in the Okavango Delta, Botswana.
Lionesses after sunset. Shinde Okavango Delta, Botswana.

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Giraffe, a limited edition fine art print by Diana Andersen.

Leopard

A beautiful, portrait of a leopard in the grasses of Shinde by Diana Andersen. Professionally printed on premium fine art paper with archival inks, this image will look fantastic in any home or office. SHOP >

Male Kalahari black-maned lion in the late afternoon light.

BOTSWANA SAFARI 2024

Join a safari to the amazing Mashatu and Chobe in 2024, led by wildlife photographer and instructor Diana Andersen. Learn More >

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