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.
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I wanted to write this while the trip is still fresh in my mind. This was my first trip to Africa and I did as much online research into photo specific safaris as I could. I was not disappointed with choosing Wild 4. Throughout the trip Stu answered the countless questions as if there wasn't a stupid one in the bunch (and there were many) his knowledge of the wildlife is nothing short of amazing, I can't think of a single bird, mammal or reptile that he couldn't identify and give us some background on. Not to mention his uncanny ability to spot wildlife while moving. Our rangers and accommodations in Ngala and Mala Mala were first rate. While in the Kruger proper, John and Anne took exceptional care us. I would not hesitate to book another trip with Stu. Patrick
Patrick Flora, USA
This was simply an outstanding photographic safari all round – by far the best that I have been on! As a keen enthusiast photographer, looking to step up a level with view to entering 2 competitions later in the year, I could not have hoped for more. Excellent ! The family based Wild4 team is personable and friendly and went the extra mile all the way through. They are very well organized and their prompt and helpful responses to queries pre-trip ensured they were easy and a pleasure to deal with. Stu Porter can pitch his photographic tuition at any level and his attention to detail and enthusiasm was spot on throughout this trip. I was surprised by just how much I learn’t because I was quite comfortable with my photo technique on arrival. I have easily adopted his full-on manual approach, every bit of which he was able to justify - a revelation! I am quite picky, but I cannot praise these guys enough and I will be back. Very many thanks to the whole team.