Posted by Wild4 Photo Safaris on 30th Nov 2016
The November "Best of Kenya" photo safari always produces a lot of excellent photo opportunities and experiences, and this years trip was no different. The rains were late this year and Samburu and the Mara were quite dry compared with last years trip.
Samburu was our first destination and some of the special highlights were the Lions (including 2 males with their unusual short manes), a beautiful young male Leopard with a Waterbuck kill, a female Cheetah with 2 cubs, excellent Elephants, the unusual Gerenuk, Grevy's Zebra, Beisa Oryx, Martial Eagles, Reticulated Giraffe, a Palmnut Vulture and the beautiful Rosy-breasted Bushshrike.
On our way out of Samburu we were treated to a very clear view of Mount Kenya which is usually covered in thick cloud.
Our next stop was Lake Nakuru where we got to spend a good amount of time near the edge of the lake photographing a group of Flamingos and many other waterbirds. Five White Rhinos were also close by. African Buffalo were plentiful and we photographed a large group of Rothschild Giraffes in the open with the Yellow Bark Acacias in the background.
Our final destination was the Maasai Mara where we spent time on both sides of the river.
The Mara never dissapoints and we had an unbelievable amount of special sightings which included Lions chasing a Hippo, a Leopard with two small cubs, one of which had the most amazing blue eyes ! We saw Musiara, the female Cheetah with her 3 large cubs. A Lioness with a fresh warthog kill that was trying to run away from the pride male who was determined to steal her food (and did manage to do so in the end) We had a very special sighting of a Lioness carrying a very small cub in her mouth. We saw Malaika the female Cheetah with her two small cubs. We even got to see a river crossing which is unusual for November in the Mara, but there were still 1000's of Wildebeest around the lookout hill area and we had a unique river crossing where two groups on different sides of the river decided to cross at the same time. A Lion cub entertained us by trying to protect a shoe that he had found and we saw a very serious fight between two dominant male Giraffes.
There were many other great photo opportunities and mother nature really spolied us on this trip.
Many thanks to all the lodge staff for looking after us so well, and a special thanks must go to our excellent driver guides, Silas, Julius and Mamai who worked tirelessly to get us into the best positions for great photos.
Thank you also to the participants on the trip, Mark, Jeff, Ed, Diane, Rita and Murray, it was a great pleaure having you on the team for this safari and we are very much looking forward to the next one.
Please enjoy a selection of photos from the trip.
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I found Wild4 through an article in Popular Photography magazine about how to choose a photo safari. They were one of five recommended in the article. After checking them all out, I saw that Stu and Wild4 offered the kind of experience that I wanted: 1) Small groups of dedicated photographers 2) Variety in wildlife viewing 3) Tuition on photography and wildlife behavior 4) Good communication and organisation. I can say that Wild4 met and exceeded all expectations on all points (and then some). 1) We used one vehicle for three photographers. Stu is a trained photographer himself, so his goal was always to get us into the best position with the best light. Having only three on the tour meant plenty of room for equipment and the ability to shoot from either side of the vehicle when surrounded by a herd of elephants! It also gave us the flexibility to be patient and wait for the shot. 2) The three places we visited each provided a unique experience and wonderful variety in scenery and wildlife viewing. 3) Stu's tuition was excellent. It was there if we needed it but never pushed. Tips, reminders, anecdotes on wildlife behavior. All given with patience and good humor. 4) From the first email, the communication was timely & clear. Justyna was a joy to work with and handled the back-office part of the tour seamlessly. It can't be as easy as she makes it seem. Wild4 didn't provide the wildlife or the spectacular sunsets that we experienced, but they put us in position to enjoy and capture a little piece of it in our cameras and in our memories. Our Safari was amazing and I would not have changed a thing...well, maybe I would have eaten a little less. If you're looking for a Photo Safari, there is nothing to consider. Just go ahead and contact Wild4 Photographic Safaris. You will not be sorry.
Doug Croft, USA
It has always been a dream of mine to travel to Africa and take a photo safari. Although I am not a professional photographer, it has been a hobby of mine and I had been wanting to make the trip for many years. Last year, I went on a safari through a different agency, and was disappointed. It was too generic and commercialized. It left me unsatisfied and wanting more. After a year, I still had an urge to go back to Africa and get the experience that I felt I had missed out on. After doing some research I came upon Wild 4 African Photographic Safaris. I was excited that this time I would really get the experience I was hoping for, and it did not fail. Upon arrival at the park, I met Stu. He was extremely helpful, even months before the trip. Justyna helped me prepare and made sure I was well equipped for the safari. Before arriving, I could already tell that this would be an adventure of a lifetime. During the safari, Stu’s knowledge continued to surprise me. Not only does he know about photography, but his familiarity of the animals and their environment is unbelievable. He could spot a rhino from miles away that we would only see once he drove 5 minutes towards it. He understands the environment and how to get great shots. He never let us miss an opportunity. Stu was patient and didn’t rush us. His tips were useful and will help with all of my future photography endeavours. The Wild 4 Safari at went above and beyond all of my expectations. It really was a dream come true.
Ulhas Mayekar, USA