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.
Leave a Comment
My wife Joanie and I joined Wild4 for the Best of Kruger and Big Cats in August of 2014. It was our very first trip on an African safari. I’m a serious amateur photographer and my wife’s a non-photographer but both of us enjoyed the trip thoroughly ! To this day, we still regularly recall the highlights of sightings and events fondly. True to Wild4’s brand promise, Stu Porter delivers maximum photographic times spent chasing photo opportunities out in the field - out 6am as soon as the camp gate opens and back only 6pm when the gate closes. Having no more than three photographers on each of two jeeps allows every photographer immediate access to both sides of the vehicle. Stu always knows where to position the vehicle for the best vantage points. Every day has its highs – big cat chases and kills, grazers sparring, herds of elephants and buffaloes appearing from nowhere at water holes... Thanks to Stu and the enthusiasm and knowledge of experienced senior guide Mike Lentz. Camps in Kruger are basic (by first world standards) but hey this is a safari ! There’s the important benefit of being only a short drive away from dams, good spots to catch the first light when the sun rises. This is important as the gates do not open till 6am so there’s little margin for being late. I had the opportunity to experience first-hand, the Wild4 team’s dedication and commitment to a successful photo trip for guests, beyond the call of duty. The Wild4 team helped solved a major photographic equipment problem. Early afternoon on Day 5, the lens AF motor on my 400mm telephoto lens failed. This was really a disaster on a trip like this, as (like everyone else) I had a spare camera body but not a spare super telephoto lens ! The other lens I had was a medium telephoto zoom, hardly a lens to use with tele-converters. Murphy’s Law indeed ! This happened with seven more days to go ! I enquired with Stu about hiring a lens from the nearby towns. Stu sprang into action immediately whilst still on the afternoon game drive - got his back-office team to make enquiries back in Nelspruit town. This was something new to the Wild4 team as they never had to hire a lens but they found a lens on the same day, a 200-400mm that’s also ideal for safari. The lens had to be dispatched from almost 200 km away and Mr John Porter helped to drive south to collect the lens sooner. I had the use of this lens by the morning of Day 7, with one-and-half day “downtime” in a remote location. Service excellence lived by as a core value indeed. After eight nights I left Kruger National Park with the feeling that I was just warming up and was leaving too soon. I would have gladly extended a few more days if that was possible. But we were bound for the next destination. I notice Wild4 has not been static. More new trips were added. I see the enterprise is growing fast ! Joanie and I are now looking forward to a trip to Kenya, again with Stu and the Wild4 team.
Steve Seow, Singapore
Any aspiring photographer who has not yet been on a wildlife safari should join a WILD4 with Stu and Justyna Porter. You will be guided by a graduate professional photographer who is also a highly-qualified South African field guide. Stu's knowledge of photography and his understanding of African wildlife are exceptional. He is also blessed with an amazing spotter's eyesight. I often thought to myself, how on earth did he see that! As each day begins all these talents are passed on with sincerity and quiet enthusiasm to each photographer's needs. Nothing is ever too much trouble and his positioning of the vehicle for the best light and animal profile is always his first consideration. On our tour there were times for laughter and many times when action and adrenalin ran high. Any successful safari is only as good as its backup team. This family company is most ably supported by Stu's wife Justyna who is the drive behind the scenes and efficiently arranges the accommodation and all the logistics. Stu's mother, Ann Porter provides excellent food for the day in the park and around the campfire at night. Both are qualified field guides and their spotting abilities add greatly to each day's safari. This particular trip was most rewarding in both personal and photographic terms and one of the best we have ever enjoyed. Sincere thanks to you all.
Slim & Barbara Callaghan, UK