BIG CATS of the Maasai Mara Kenya photo safari TRIP REPORT Feb 2018
Posted by Wild4 Photo Safaris on 24th Mar 2018
Not only did the wonderful Mara produce excellent Big Cat sightings which was our main aim on this photo safari, it also produced a number of other great photo opportunities, as it always does. The Maasai Mara is truly one of the very best wildlife photographic destinations in Africa !
We split our 10 nights in the Mara into two different locations to make the most of different areas of the Mara. Only a week before we arrived, it had been raining in the Mara (quite unseasonal for this time of year). Parts of the Mara had tall grass and the animals avoid these areas as they feel more comfortable grazing out in the open where the cats can't sneak up on them.
A lot of our time was spent around the double-cross area where there were Lion, Cheetah and Kaboso the Leopard.
Some of the trip highlights were watching the Rhino Ridge lion pride feeding on a cow, Blackie the large resident male Lion on patrol, two female Leopards, Kaboso and Bahati were both seen and photographed. We found the 5 male Cheetahs, along with Malaika, making up a rare sighting of 6 Cheetahs together !!. Unfortunately they hid in thick bush for 2 days whilst they were in mating mode !
In the Musiara Marsh area we found a Lioness with very small cubs that unfortunately were very well hidden from us. The Lioness caught a Warthog just as we left camp one afternoon and managed to finally kill and eat it as two hungry Hyaenas watched. Other highlights were a Martial Eagle feeding on a Cape Hare, many Elephants, Giraffe, Waterbuck, Dik Dik, fighting Topi, amazing Hyaena action, Crowned Cranes at sunrise, Olive baboons, a male Impala with a piece or horn embedded in his neck (from a fight with another male), Saddle Billed Storks, Black Chested Snake Eagle, a Lioness in a tree and a beautiful young male Leopard with blue eyes !!
The weather was very good to us with only a brief shower one afternoon.
Looking forward to next years trip already !!
A big thanks goes to the staff at Mara Entim Camp and Sentinel Camp for looking after us so well and a very special thanks goes to our amazing guides, Mamai and James, always patient, courteous, helpful and incredibly hard working, it is a great pleasure to work with you both as always !
I also wanted to thank everyone for joining this Big Cats of the Mara Photo Safari, Rita, Willie, Bernice, Sharon, Peter and Armand. Thanks so much for a fantastic safari !!
Please enjoy a selection of photos from the trip.
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Shopping for a travel adventure on the Web is somewhat risky, but when I wanted to go on an African photo safari, I really had no choice. I looked around and finally picked Wild4 Photographic Safaris for one reason: the vehicle. It was obvious that this was an outfit that understood photographic details and the needs of serious wildlife photographers. With a capacity for 10 passengers, the vehicle takes just three photographers. The three photographers' benches feature platforms to steady big lenses on both sides of the vehicle, and loads of storage space and pockets for lenses, bodies, accessories, binoculars, field guides, water, etc. I can not imagine a better platform for photography in the bush veldt. What is not as obvious in the on-line description is that the vehicle comes equipped with Stu Porter, the Wild4 owner and guide. Stu, who bears a striking resemblance to movie actor Matt Damon, is a deceptively shy young man with an encyclopaedic knowledge of Kruger National Park, its animals, geography, geology, climate, seasons, and, of course, rules. He also has the eyes of an eagle and is the best leopard spotter in South Africa. Stu's knowledge and patience are seemingly infinite, and he somehow manages to be aware both of his passengers' needs and everything around us. He does everything humanly possible to give you the opportunity to get the best shot. And if you need more than just the opportunity, he can instruct even the most seasoned photographer on technique. Stu grew up next to Kruger National Park, and his mother (who does the meal preparation for the safari) started taking him there as soon as he was old enough. He has been accumulating his knowledge of the park and its animals all his life, and that comes in very handy when you need to know something about animal behavior. In short, Wild4 Photographic Safaris is all about the vehicle, with spacious seats, shooting platforms and Stu Porter as standard equipment. You can't do better. Thank you, Stu!
George Cathcart, USA
We couldn’t have enjoyed our trip with Wild 4 more. We were made to feel extremely welcome right from our very first e-mail contact, something which continued throughout our trip and beyond. We’d like to thank Stu, Justyna, Ann, & John for being such wonderful and enthusiastic hosts. Being looked after by such a friendly and caring family was a delight and we were very reluctant to leave after two weeks. Stu is a very knowledgeable, hard-working and helpful guide, always on hand with useful pointers and offering us plenty of encouragement to experiment with our photography. Having a whole row each of a specially adapted safari vehicle was a real find, ensuring we didn’t miss out on any of the action. Being able to stay out in the bush all day was also a real bonus. While many other vehicles drove off after only a few minutes, we were able to spend hours observing groups of lions and other wildlife. As this was our first African safari, Stu suggested we spend the first few nights at the Big Cats reserve and this proved to be a magical experience, with some great close-up action that resulted in some beautiful shots. It is a great place to hone your existing skills & learn some new ones. Given the opportunity we would go again tomorrow without any hesitation. Simply perfect!
Arnoud & Lynsey Van Foreest, NETHERLANDS