Visionary Wild, LLC • 2200 19th St. NW, Ste 806, Washington, DC 20009

E-mail:    •    Tel: 1-202-558-9596 (9am to 5pm, EST).

Justin Black – Managing Director: 1-202-302-9030 • Email:

Jennifer Woolley – Director of Operations • Email:

We look forward to hearing from you!


Limit 6 spaces | $4,975* Closed
Expedition June 30 - July 8, 2016 | View other workshops

Chobe River Safari with Lou Coetzer

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This special boat-based Botswana photo safari offers a first-rate experience and an unbelievable value.

Join award-winning wildlife photographer Lou Coetzer on Botswana's spectacular Chobe River for this exciting all-inclusive boat-based safari for a small group of six participants. Lou is simply the best there is at teaching the anticipation of animal behavior, timing, and camera handling skills that empower you to capture successful "decisive moment" wildlife images.

Set in one of Africa's finest wildlife destinations at an ideal time of year, this safari focuses on the incredible biodiversity accessible via the Chobe River's various channels, islands, and wetlands, where animals congregate along the river in the dry season to drink and feed on the lush greenery on the banks and flood plain. In addition to Chobe’s population of over 50,000 Kalahari elephants, opportunities include hippos (with young at this time of year), Nile crocodiles, leopards, buffalo, waterbuck, kudu, impala, giraffes, fish eagles, lions, hyenas, baboons, and countless bird species. In fact, this safari is a bird photographer's dream, featuring the tiny and colorful Malachite Kingfisher, the largest heron in the world – the Goliath, several species of Bee-Eater, African Jacanas, and an endless array of water birds.  The concentrated displays of mammalian wildlife behavior, from battling hippos to leopards drinking at water's edge and herds of elephants looming overhead on the riverbank, ensure you will capture peak moments of exceptional behavior. The quality of light in morning and evening is wonderful on the Chobe, as the wide, open floodplain enables low-angle light at sunrise and sunset to skim over the water and bathe the animals in golden illumination.

• Includes loan of big telephotos – 600mm f/4 and 500mm f/4 AF-S Nikkor Lenses – so you don't have to travel with them. Full-frame Nikon DSLR bodies available for free loan as well.

• The best boat-based photo safari set-up in the business, complete with photographer's chairs featuring fully adjustable 360-degree revolving Wimberley camera mounts, makes it a breeze to work with big lenses and photograph dynamic wildlife behavior.

This very competitively-priced package is designed to deliver a superb overall experience, and includes excellent accommodations, all meals, beverages (including fine wine or beer at dinners), snacks and soft drinks during photography sessions, expert guides, photographic instruction, loaner Nikon telephotos and cameras, park entry fees, ground transfers, and in-Africa flights during the itinerary.

We have arranged use of Lou's custom-built photo boats with innovative features that deliver an optimal photographic experience. Each photographer will have his or her own rotating photographer's chair with fully adjustable revolving Wimberley-equiped telephoto lens mount.  Included at no additional cost is loan of Nikon super-telephoto lenses (600mm f/4 and 500mm f/4) and pro camera bodies, so there is no need to carry big glass to Africa.


Click "read more" below right for the itinerary and more information...

Our itinerary makes the most of the incredible photographic opportunities, and offers attentive hands-on photographic instruction and expert guiding throughout:

June 30th

Arrive at O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB) near Johannesburg, South Africa. You will be met at the airport and transferred to Chez Coetzer Guest House in Pretoria to rest and de-jetlag after flight.

AV presentation on Chobe safari. Dinner and Overnight at Guest House.


July 1st

Early morning breakfast at Guest House before transfer to O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB) for a South African Airways flight to Kasane Airport (BBK) near Kasane, Botswana. Quick transfer from Kasane Airport to Chobe Safari Lodge. Afternoon photography session in custom-built photography boats on the Chobe River. Return to Lodge. Dinner and overnight at Chobe Safari Lodge.


July 2nd 7th

6 am meet up for coffee, before departing for photography session on Chobe River until 10:00. Return to Lodge for a well-deserved brunch. Thereafter, we'll meet in the classroom for downloading, editing, and constructive critique of images with an eye toward improving your wildlife photography technique and optimizing your camera setup so it works best for you. At 14:30 we return to the Chobe River for an afternoon photography session until 18:00.

After freshening up, meet for sundowners and dinner. Dinner and overnight at Chobe Safari Lodge.


July 8th

6 am meet up for coffee, and depart for photography session on Chobe River until 10:00. Return to Lodge for a well-deserved brunch. Last debriefing on Chobe Safari and relaxing. Meet at reception for transfer to Kasane Airport for afternoon South African Airways flight back to O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB) near Johannesburg, South Africa. Connect to international flight back home.


The single-occupancy rate for this deluxe all-inclusive package is $4,975.00. Double-occupancy is $4,725.00 per person. 50% deposit is required upon booking, and balance is due by April 1st, 2016.

For more information, please contact Justin Black at or 202-302-9030.


Excluded: International round-trip flights from your point of origin to O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB) near Johannesburg, South Africa (currently between $1,000 to $1,800 for economy class from the U.S.), incidental personal expenses, and gratuities.

TRAVEL NOTE: A passport with at least six months of validity remaining is required. Citizens of the United States of America do not require a visa to enter Botswana. If you are not a citizen of the United States, please refer to website for the Embassy of the Republic of Botswana for additional information in case you are required to obtain a visa before entry into Botswana.

If you will have been traveling recently in areas where Yellow Fever is present, you must have a valid Yellow Fever vaccination certificate. Visitors to the Chobe National Park areas should be aware that it is considered a low-risk malaria zone, and malaria prophylaxis is recommended. Otherwise, no other immunizations are required, though it would be wise to have an updated TPD (tetanus, polio, diphtheria) vaccine, and a Hepatitis A vaccine.

Lou Coetzer

Understanding animal behaviour enabled me to predict with reasonable accuracy "what’s going to happen next," which I discovered was a wonderful asset when photography became part of my life 40 or so odd years ago.

Lou Coetzer is an award-winning professional wildlife and sports photographer and safari leader from Johannesburg, South Africa. His photographic adventure began four decades ago as a student at the then Helpmekaar Boys High School in Johannesburg. These early years in the black and white darkroom and his involvement in sports and sport photography remain major influences in his wildlife photography today.

Before becoming a full-time sports photographer, Lou was involved with The Photographic Society of South Africa for many years. As a member of PSSA, Lou won numerous National and International awards in various fields such as Wildlife, Sports, Landscape and Portraiture. In the years following his entry into the sports photography field, Lou received numerous awards in the prestigious Allied Bank South African Sport Photographer of the Year competition

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These were the days of Apartheid when South Africa was still in relative economic isolation, and a sustainable career as a sports photographer was major challenge. "If Madiba and F.W. De Klerk had gotten together one year earlier I would probably today still be a sport photographer!" says Lou. He moved to other photographic interests in the early 90's, achieving international recognition for his portrait work along the way, but it was in his love of wildlife that he found his ultimate calling.

Lou’s years of experience as a sports photographer and portraitist are revealed in his constant search for exquisitely lit wildlife subjects in high-action against clean backgrounds. "I'll be honest: only when the action is not happening will I start looking for the graphic image."

In 2010, Lou was honored by Nature’s Best magazine for his outstanding photography, and he has been recognized repeatedly for his skill at capturing animal behavior. His photographs have been published and exhibited internationally, including in the USA at the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. Lou was also the chief photographic moderator for The African Photographic Awards 2010.

"I’ve been going into the African bush to experience the animals in the wild from a very young age, and I learned early on to pay close attention and learn from wildlife behaviour. This understanding helped me to predict with reasonable accuracy "what’s going to happen next," which I discovered was a wonderful asset when photography became part of my life 40 or so odd years ago.

I have an insatiable appetite for detail, and out of that grew my love for nature’s intimate stories. As I write this, I’m at Etosha National Park in Namibia, and over the last few days I’ve had the privilege to photograph lions unsuccessfully hunting Giraffe, Kudu, Cape Turtle Dove and even little Red Billed Queleas! I can truthfully say, though, that the highlight of the week was the way the Helmeted Guinea Fowl out foxed the Tawny Eagles this morning just to have the favour returned by a Male African Shelduck this afternoon. Africa's magic is often revealed by the unexpected and not necessarily by the so-called “Big Five,” or can we rather say the “Big Seven” and include the Hippo and Nile Crocodile.

Whether on my own or with a safari group, I am adamant about choosing destinations and scenarios in nature that make for successful photography. It’s easy to get addicted to the clean blue water and sky backgrounds of the Chobe River in northern Botswana, but I also have a deeply ingrained respect and affection for Africa's animals that must struggle to survive in its desert and arid areas like Etosha.

My wife Veronica and I have been pursuing nature photography seriously for many years, and we started leading photo safaris in 2004 on a limited scale, but it was only after launching our first photographic boat on the Chobe River in 2009 that we became real “Safari Rats.” Since then, we’ve led over seventy specialized wildlife photographic safaris to African destinations, and several to Alaska as well!

–Lou Coetzer


  • Nine-day itinerary including 14 photography excursions at one of our favorite safari locations in Africa: the Chobe River.
  • Unbeatable combination of wildlife density and diversity, locations, seasonal conditions, photo and safari equipment, excellent lodging, expert guiding and photographic instruction
  • Custom photo boat on the Chobe River with revolving Wimberley camera mounts on swivel chair bases offer photo opportunities not to be found in any other type of safari boat
  • Locations on the Chobe River during the peak of migration that provide some of the best wildlife viewing opportunities anywhere
  • Experienced leader to put you in the right place at the right time to capture peak-action animal behavior in the best light
  • Professional-grade supertelephoto lenses and camera bodies to enable participants to capture the best photos possible – provided at no extra cost!
  • Small group of six participants with the attentive instruction by award-winning wildlife photographer Lou Coetzer
  • We will be unrushed at each location, to let you get to know the place and make the most of the opportunities
  • First-rate lodging and dining included throughout
  • Two in-Africa flights and all ground transfers included
  • An exceptional value, that may not be available again in the foreseeable future.

Accommodations & Travel

  • Chobe Safari Lodge, excellent accommodations and welcoming staff just steps away from our boat on the Chobe River. Rooms have the luxury of air-conditioning, large en-suite bath and shower facilities, and recent renovations.
  • Pretoria: While in the Johannesburg area after arrival, our guests will be lodged at the superb Chez Coetzer guest house, in Erasmuskloof, an upscale suburb of the capital, Pretoria.
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Fly into Johannesburg, South Africa to be met for ground transfer to our guesthouse the first night. Two in-Africa flights are included. All ground transfers and transportation are included. A best-in-class customized photo boat will be our shooting platform at Chobe National Park. This is the dry season, so rain is unlikely. Expect a mix of sunny and partly cloudy conditions with occasional overcast. At Chobe, plan for afternoon highs between 65ºF - 80ºF, and early morning lows 32ºF – 55ºF.


Feedback from past Chobe safari clients:

"The Africa trip was one of the best I have been on. I learned so much. The facilities were top-notch, vehicles and boats were specially equipped for photographers, and to top it off the dining was excellent! Thank you for putting together an interesting, educational, and fun trip for all of us. I have recommended this trip so I hope you will continue to offer it." –Ruth K.


"I highly recommend Visionary Wild for any serious photographer who wants to upgrade skills while having fun in an enriched environment with others who share that same passion." –Kathy C.


"Over the years I have been fortunate to pursue my passion for wildlife photography in North, Central and South America and sharing the experiance with others on my return.   However, this safari has without question taken my interest in wildlife photography to a whole new level.  Along with Lou Coetzer’s excellent instruction, the planning and photographic support of Justin Black, Visionary Wild, my long time friend and mentor, were invaluable. And then there is the secret sauce; the custom vehicles and boat!!  Any serious photographer interested in shooting wildlife in Africa simply owes it to themselves.

My only, and I mean only, suggestion regarding improving the experience would be to install a cappuccino machine on the boat.  Coffee machine or not I look forward to visiting again next year.

My sincere thanks for a journey I will never forget!" –David C.