BEST of KENYA photo safari TRIP REPORT Nov 2016
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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The Wild 4 team made my trip to South Africa a truly memorable experience. Photographing some of the orphaned captive animals at the private game reserve on the extension was a great way to start the holiday, and Stu's tuition on techniques, composition and familiarity with your gear was the foundation for the rest of the trip. In Kruger we had some wonderful sightings - including the 'Big 5' all in one day on two consecutive days! The highlights were spending 20 minutes with a leopard cub in a tree no more than 30 metres away, and on the last day watching a pride of 14 lions stalking a herd of zebra for more than an hour - just wonderful experiences! I'm sure the quality of the shots I took was infinitely better than if I'd gone on a regular safari, as the whole focus of the experience is expertly designed to maximise photographic opportunities - including only 3 photographers in the specially designed vehicle. Stu's knowledge, enthusiasm and patience were boundless, and Ann's spotting and catering skills were also priceless! I hope to visit Africa again soon, and without doubt Wild 4 will be my first option.
Greg Morgan, UK
We were very lucky to have found the Wild 4 Team when we were able to take a short photographic safari as part of a business trip to Cape Town. So when we could plan a photography trip overseas, naturally we contacted Stu and Justyna. We brought along a good friend who wanted to do her first photo safari. To say the three of us had a blast would be to underestimate the experience. I wonder how many other photographers have been a few feet from a cheetah taking down an impala only to share the kill with a caracal. Other highlights included a rare king cheetah, mating leopards, a den of wild dogs with their pups, photographing and touching a boomslang, green mamba and black mamba, and being surrounded by a herd of elephants. But perhaps the best part of all was being back with friends whom we know and trust. We know a good thing when we experience it. When we are ready for our next African adventure, you can bet we will contact the Wild 4 Team.
Michael & Toni Anderson, USA