Botswana: Land of Giants

Botswana remains one of the greatest countries on the continent of Africa for wildlife photography. It’s remote, seemingly limitless wilderness is vast and untrammeled by the hand of man. Lions, leopards, cheetah, zebra, giraffe, and herds of African elephants roam the expansive plains of this land-locked country situated between South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Namibia. Explore the wilds of an Africa that remains in a time gone by.

Our ‘Botswana: Land of Giants’ tour will take us to Mashatu, a picturesque and privately owned 72,000-acre game reserve, where we’ll spend six days photographing a wide-array of wildlife found inside the preserved wilderness. Mashatu means “land of the giants,” which is a reference to the huge trees that dominate the landscape.

Mashatu will provide Backcountry Journeys photographers a more serene and exclusive experience as we enjoy its sanctuary to the largest herds of elephant on the continent. Picture yourself, and your camera, so close to those elephants that you feel as if they might be breathing down your neck.

While on our game drives we’ll have the opportunity to photograph the world’s tallest mammal, the giraffe; the world’s largest antelope, the eland; the world’s largest bird, the ostrich. The biodiversity of wildlife here is incredible. Three members of the ‘Big Five,’ namely the leopard, the lion, and the elephant are found here, and are complemented by some lesser well-known, but interesting, species, including the aardwolf (or “earth wolf”), the bat-eared fox, the African wildcat, the honey badger, the spotted hyena, and the black-backed jackal. Cheetah’s roam far and wide on the landscape of Mashatu and this is likely the best safari on the planet for big cat photography.

Birders will delight as Mashatu is home to more than 350 bird species including the enchanting lilac-breasted roller, and the Kori Bustard, which is not only the largest flying bird native to Africa, it is also the national bird of Botswana.

Return each night to your choice of either a luxurious safari-style “camp,” where you’ll find comradery with your fellow photographers under the starry African skies, or, to your lodge room designed for absolute privacy.

Either choice will offer luxurious amenities and incredible accommodations. If your idea of becoming “one with nature” is an outdoor shower under the stars, the Tent Camp is for you. If the luxury of air conditioning is something you can’t live without, choose dates with lodge availability.

If wildlife photography is your passion then a trip to ‘The Land of Giants’ with Backcountry Journeys needs to be on your list. Our meticulous scouting, camp selection, and world-class logistics leave no stone unturned in creating the most memorable travel experience to the continent of Africa.


  • Best Big Cat Photography in Africa
  • Huge herds of African Elephants
  • Photographic safari via custom 4×4 vehicles
  • Massive variety of African Wildlife
  • Small Groups
  • Top-notch meals, luxurious safari “camps”
  • Learn from & shoot alongside a seasoned pro

Botswana: Land of Giants

8 Days


from $6995 double occupancy (Tented Camp)
+$1100 single occupancy

from $7995 double occupancy (Mashatu Lodge)
+$1400 single occupancy

Deposit: $2500

Fitness Level: Easy. Standard Trip with light walks

Meals: Most meals included (see itinerary)

Lodging: 7 nights lodging

Fly In/Out: Johannesburg, South Africa

Hours: Mon-Fri 8am to 4pm Mountain Time


*trip difficulty ratings

Trip Details

Physical Requirements 
All participants must be in good physical condition and have the ability to walk a day-pack.

Group Size
We keep groups small to maximize your one on one time with the guide / instructor.

Included throughout the trip.

Most meals are included during the trip dates (please see itinerary)

Price Includes
Most Meals, ground transportation, in-country flights, accommodation during the trip dates, expert local guides, professional photography instruction.

Price Does Not Include
Airfare, alcoholic beverages, accommodations before or after the trip dates, guide / trip leader gratuities

Departure City
Johannesburg, South Africa


Please note: This is a “standard” tour so there is little to no hiking on this trip. Most of the excursion is by 4×4 safari vehicle.

Most meals included – (B,L,D) denotes Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day One (Travel Day) (D)

Arrive in Johannesburg in the evening. After clearing customs, you will be met by our tour representative and transferred to your hotel. Meet and greet dinner along with orientation this evening.

Day Two (B,L,D)

Today we will transfer to Mashatu, a privately-owned preserve that will be our home for this trip! Mashatu is a true hidden gem, a throwback to Africa of yesteryear yet combined with luxury. The diverse landscape of the preserve includes wide open plains, grassland, riverine forests, rocky hills, marshland, and majestic sandstone ridges. Perfect for safari! This afternoon we will have our first game-drive in Mashatu.

Days Three through Six (B,L,D)

The next four full-days will be dedicated to game drives in Mashatu – which features some of the best big cat photography in Africa as well as massive elephant herds & unique photographic blinds. Aside from game drives we will have access to world-class wildlife “hides” which allow for incredible up-close photography of most of the species found in the region.

Afternoons and evenings in-between drives will be spent at our stunning safari camp or luxurious lodge.

Day Seven (B,L,D)

We’ll awake early on our final morning at Mashatu and take advantage of the soft light of morning to make some final images on one final game drive. Following our game drive, we’ll pack up and depart for our hotel in Johannesburg.

We’ll have a farewell dinner in Johannesburg, South Africa before departing either late this evening or the next morning. Flights can be booked anytime after 6pm tonight although we will have “day rooms” as many flights don’t leave until later in the evening.

Day Eight

International flights home.

Please note that the exact sequence of the itineraries on all photography trips will be based on weather and lighting conditions. The goal on these trips is to make sure we are at the right place at the right time for the perfect light on our subjects. Also, itineraries can change for a variety of other circumstances including floods, forest fires, national park closures, road closures and more. Due to the nature of wildlife and nature photography we do not guarantee any specific sightings or specific compositions regarding wildlife or natural phenomena. 

“Wonderful trip to a beautiful place! This is my third Backcountry Journeys trip and each trip is better than the last. This was the first trip I took with Matt and Chris and they were terrific. Also, this a new format – non hiker – which worked out great. I missed nothing in the opportunities to take fabulous photos.”

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