African Photo Safari trip report / BIG CATS of the Maasai Mara Kenya February 2019 / small group photographic safari
Posted by Wild4 Photo Safaris on 26th Feb 2019
We had stunning weather and fantastic sightings on this February "Big Cats of the Mara" African Photographic Safari to Kenya's Maasai Mara.
Not only did we have some great photo opportunties with all three of the big cats, Lion, Leopard and Cheetah, but we were also very proud to roll out our second photographically modified safari Land Cruiser on its very first safari.
Splitting our 10 night stay in the Mara allowed us to explore two very different areas and to be in different places early in the morning and late in the afternoon, where we were able to take advantage of some great sightings in the good light.
We really had some great luck with Giraffe at Sunrise and Sunset. Near Lookout we spent some time with a Black Rhino, the Spotted Hyaena densite was great, we photographed some great birds, Cape Buffalo, Elephant, Black Backed Jackals, Hippos, Impala, Topi, Thompson's Gazelle and Eland.
However our main aim of the trip was to focus on the Big Cats and some of the highlights with these amazing animals were multiple sightings of 3 different female Leopards. One female in particular was very active around the Rekero Crossing area and we watched her take advantage of a short rain shower as a distraction to try and sneak up on a herd of Impala, unfortunately for the Leopard, two Spotted Hyaenas tried the same tactic and spooked the Impala in the opposite direction !
The Lions were present again in good numbers. We got to see the famous male Lion - Scar, feeding on a Hippo carcass at the Mara River. He was limping badly but actually looked in pretty good health for such an old Lion. We saw a number of other Male Lions as well as a Lioness with two small cubs in the area of Topi Plains.
We were very lucky and priveledged to see four Cheetah chases, three of them involved the 5 strong male coalition. Their first chase ended in an Impala kill, but this was stolen from them by some opportunistic Lions. Their second was rather ambitions as one male Cheetah tried to take on a full grown male Topi, which as a group of 5 they are capable of pulling down, but his 4 other team mates were a bit slow to start the game on this occasion !! It was very interesting to see how the Cheetah ran right up to the side of the Topi and physically tried to bump it off balance - a technique I had not ever witnessed before. Their third chase just sent hundreds of animals fleeing in all directions with no end result. The fourth chase was by a female Cheetah who ran right through a group of Warthogs to pursue an easier target, a baby Impala who she did end up catching.
The Mara certainly lives up to all expectations as far as good and numerous Big Cat sightings are concerned and the general wildlife is always great too !
A big thanks goes to the staff at Mara Entim Camp and Mara Intrepids for looking after us so well and a very special thanks goes to our amazing guides, Mamai and Eliud, thank you for your patience, your help and your incredibly hard work, it was a great pleasure working with you both.
Thanks so much to Linda, Ulhas, John & Jenny for joining us as much appreciated previous clients - thank you for joining another WILD4 African Photographic Safari to Kenya's Maasai Mara !!
Please enjoy a selection of photos from the trip.
Leave a Comment
Kruger North to South 16 days of photo safari gone off like a wink of an eye especially when it was fun and memorable. Like an aciton-packed movie, the opening scene at the Skukuza Airport reception by Wild4 Team : Stefan and Sandrine was delightful and the afternoon game drive was filled with excitements with shots of wildlife encountered as we travelled to our first camp in Satara. The numerous sightings we experienced over the next two weeks were nothing less than thrilling and of course capturing the Big 5 was fulfilling. The teamwork of Stefan and Sandrine was excellent giving the traveling photographers absolutely nothing to worry except to be trigger happy. Each day I shot approximately 1,500 images as each day bought new surprises. As a photographer I used the Sony A9 with the 2x teleconverter on the 100-400mm G Master zoom for distant & fast-moving subjects like eagles' flights, lions, leopards, rhinos and the smaller birds in flights while my Leica SL on a APO Vario Elmarit 90-280mm zoom for intermediate distance subjects like elephants, hippos, zebras, Impalas, Kudus and various animals within close quarters of the vehicle, and finally my Leica Q for the panoramic shots of landscape and daily point and shoot. A memorable trip ending with almost 4 TB of mobile hard disk storage. I will re-live my memories when I sort out the images and I look forward to my next trip with Stu on the Tanzania & Elephants of Amboseli and many other trips with Wild4.
Clifford Yap, Singapore
I am a Molecular Biologist by profession and a serious amateur nature photographer and have been on a number of organized trips over the last 10 years with the dual aims of enjoying nature and getting the best images possible. The organization of a two week trip with Wild 4 Photographic Safaris through Kruger National Park I shared with two other photographers and it was as good as I have ever experienced. The Porter family was friendly, knowledgeable and intuitively supportive. Stu really knows his subjects and spared no effort in getting the photographers into the best situation. He has a very pleasant, calm personality and is an accomplished nature photographer and naturalist which means he knows where the light or action is best and often what is about to happen. His vehicle is also well set-up for discriminating photographers. Justyna was just brilliant in getting things organized in the background. Having our own scout vehicle to report activity in the area while we pursued other subjects, worked well, and on a number of occasions provided photo opportunities we would have missed otherwise. In summary; rating out of 10…….no doubt a 10.
Graeme Guy, NEW ZEALAND