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Wild4 African Photo Safaris

Specialist small group photo safaris to South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana and Namibia

BIG CATS of the Serengeti African wildlife photography TRIP REPORT Sept / Oct 2019

Posted by Wild4 Photo Safaris on 4th Feb 2020

Our very first "Big Cats of the Serengeti" photographic safari was a great success and proved once again that the Serengeti is one of the top places in Africa to photograph Lions and Cheetah.

The trip was split into two different locations with time being spent in the central Serengeti around the Research Kopjes area and from there we moved to the magical "Ndutu" area near Lake Ndutu in the Ngorongoro Conservation area.

The Serengeti is known as a vast place and you always feel very privileged seeing and photographing the Big Cats in this enormous area. We spent a morning making photos of two magnificent male Lions as they patrolled their territory, and also had a good photography session with a Lioness and her two sub-adult cubs up on one of the iconic "Kopjes" or rocky outcrops that are synonymous with the Serengeti National Park.

Along with other Lion sightings we had one of the very best Cheetah sightings I have ever experienced. Our guide, Jeremia spotted a mother with four very small cubs, in that special early morning light. We followed this family as the mother led them from one termite mound to the next, surveying the area for something to eat. Finally, she made a run at a young Thompson's Gazelle and brought it down. Shen then took her prize back to her hungry cubs.

The amazing photographic opportunities we had with some of the Lions and Cheetah in the Serengeti were then taken to the next level, when we came across a very rare Black or Melanistic Serval Cat. wow, what a way to start the trip!

On the following morning, our other amazing guide, Arnold, spotted an African Porcupine! this usually very secretive and nocturnal creature was walking about in the glorious morning. We were very lucky to get a few photos of it before it disappeared down a hole.

With some great shots from the Serengeti under our belt, we headed South via the Gol Kopjes to that very special and magical place, Ndutu. This area lies along the border of the Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Conservation area. Here you are permitted to drive off-road which allows you to spend quality time with the animals and have the flexibility to position the vehicle with the best light on your subject.

During February and March, Ndutu is the area where the Great Migration herds of Wildebeest and Zebra give birth to their young. The short grass plains provide excellent grazing and good visibility provides safety from predators. September, however, is the dry season and the mega herds have long departed the area. The remaining resident and territorial animals that call this area “home” are all that are left. Territorial Lion prides lurk around the marshy areas, hoping to catch animals that come down to drink the only remaining water.

Cheetahs also favour the Ndutu area as it has a good resident stock of Gazelle and Impala.

Some Ndutu Highlights included spending time with the Marsh Pride who were up to 17 members, photographing the small marsh pride of two females and a male, Black-Backed Jackal puppies, Bat-Eared Foxes, 4 different Serval Cats, a Caracal hunting Guineafowl and one of Africa’s rarest animals, a Pangolin or Scaly Ant-eater.

The Cheetah encounters were exceptional with three kills and a total count of 12 individuals.

This safari exceeded my expectations, not only was it great for photography, but it also provided a wonderful feeling of the true African wilderness. There were very few other vehicles, and a lot of the time we were totally on our own. We managed to follow up on the Cheetahs and Lions each day and got to know their characters and spent lots of time observing them. It is wonderful to share a part of these animals lives with them and get to understand just a little of what they have to go through to survive in this harsh environment.

There is no other place I have been to that offers such quality Big Cat sightings, observations and photographic opportunities.

We will definitely be adding this location to our photographic safari list of destinations, and I am already looking forward to the 2020 “Big Cats of the Serengeti” Photo Safari.

I would like to thank all the staff at both Mawe Tented Camp in the Serengeti and Ndutu Safari Lodge in Ndutu for looking after us so well.

Then a very big special thanks must go to the two amazing guides that we had for this trip. Arnold & Jeremia !! it is always a great pleasure working with you guys and thank you for getting us into those amazing sightings and for positioning the vehicle so professionally by respecting both the animals comfort levels and the need for a good photograph.

Thank you, Linda, Bernice and Frank for joining us again on another WILD4 Tour and the first “Big Cats of Tanzania” Photographic Safari.

Please enjoy a selection of images from this photo safari.

Best wishes

Stu

The sighting of a lifetime, a rare Melanistic Serval Cat. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Wildlife photography Africa.
The sighting of a lifetime, a rare Melanistic Serval Cat. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Wildlife photography Africa.
Male Lion at sunrise. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Big Cats wildlife photographic safari.
Male Lion at sunrise. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Big Cats wildlife photographic safari.
Male Lion on patrol. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Small Group Specialist Photographic Tours.
Male Lion on patrol. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Small Group Specialist Photographic Tours.
The Lioness and her two subadult cubs up on a Granite rocky outcrop known as "kopjes". Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Wildlife Panorama.
The Lioness and her two subadult cubs up on a Granite rocky outcrop known as "kopjes". Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Wildlife Panorama.
Subadult Lion near Maasai Kopjes. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Wild4 African Photo Safaris with Stu Porter.  Wildlife Panorama.
Subadult Lion near Maasai Kopjes. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Wild4 African Photo Safaris with Stu Porter. Wildlife Panorama.
Cheetah cub running. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Wildlife photography Africa.
Cheetah cub running. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Wildlife photography Africa.
Cheetah mum with her four young cubs. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Wild4 African Photo Safaris with Stu Porter.
Cheetah mum with her four young cubs. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Wild4 African Photo Safaris with Stu Porter.
Up on another termite, the Cheetah mum with her cubs. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Wildlife photography Africa. Wildlife Panorama & Composite.
Up on another termite, the Cheetah mum with her cubs. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Wildlife photography Africa. Wildlife Panorama & Composite.
Cheetah with kill. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Wildlife photography Africa.
Cheetah with kill. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Wildlife photography Africa.
Cheetah mum with her young Thompson's Gazelle kill. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Big Cats wildlife photographic safari.
Cheetah mum with her young Thompson's Gazelle kill. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Big Cats wildlife photographic safari.
African Porcupine in the daylight. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Small Group Specialist Photographic Tours.
African Porcupine in the daylight. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Small Group Specialist Photographic Tours.
The adult female Elephant that stayed with a dead member of the herd. This female could possibly have been the mother or the matriarch of the herd. She remained close to the body for the entire day and night. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Small
The adult female Elephant that stayed with a dead member of the herd. This female could possibly have been the mother or the matriarch of the herd. She remained close to the body for the entire day and night. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Small
The rest of the herd seemingly in "mourning" over their fellow dead herd member. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Big Cats wildlife photographic safari.
The rest of the herd seemingly in "mourning" over their fellow dead herd member. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Big Cats wildlife photographic safari.
Sunrise and Hartebeest. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Wildlife photography Africa. Wildlife Panorama.
Sunrise and Hartebeest. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Wildlife photography Africa. Wildlife Panorama.
Lion cub. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania Small Group Specialist Photographic Tours. Wildlife Panorama.
Lion cub. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania Small Group Specialist Photographic Tours. Wildlife Panorama.
Nightjar, a nocturnal bird specializing in catching flying insects. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Wild4 African Photo Safaris with Stu Porter.
Nightjar, a nocturnal bird specializing in catching flying insects. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Wild4 African Photo Safaris with Stu Porter.
Two Thompson Gazelle males. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Wild4 African Photo Safaris with Stu Porter.
Two Thompson Gazelle males. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Wild4 African Photo Safaris with Stu Porter.
Tawny Eagle. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Big Cats wildlife photographic safari.
Tawny Eagle. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Big Cats wildlife photographic safari.
Serval Cat. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Small Group Specialist Photographic Tours.
Serval Cat. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Small Group Specialist Photographic Tours.
Sunrise tree. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Small Group Specialist Photographic Tours. Panorama.
Sunrise tree. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Small Group Specialist Photographic Tours. Panorama.
Panning shot of a Grant's gazelle taken from our moving vehicle. Ndutu, Tanzania. Wildlife photography Africa.
Panning shot of a Grant's gazelle taken from our moving vehicle. Ndutu, Tanzania. Wildlife photography Africa.
Foggy morning at the Big Marsh. Ndutu, Tanzania. Small Group Specialist Photographic Tours. Panorama.
Foggy morning at the Big Marsh. Ndutu, Tanzania. Small Group Specialist Photographic Tours. Panorama.
Pair of Bat-eared Foxes. Ndutu, Tanzania. Wildlife photography Africa.
Pair of Bat-eared Foxes. Ndutu, Tanzania. Wildlife photography Africa.
Caracal stalking. Ndutu, Tanzania. Wild4 African Photo Safaris with Stu Porter.
Caracal stalking. Ndutu, Tanzania. Wild4 African Photo Safaris with Stu Porter.
Broad-billed Roller. Ndutu, Tanzania. Big Cats wildlife photographic safari.
Broad-billed Roller. Ndutu, Tanzania. Big Cats wildlife photographic safari.
Bright red Blood Lily at Ndutu Safari Lodge. Ndutu, Tanzania. Small Group Specialist Photographic Tours.
Bright red Blood Lily at Ndutu Safari Lodge. Ndutu, Tanzania. Small Group Specialist Photographic Tours.
Breakfast stop at the Big Marsh. Ndutu, Tanzania. Big Cats wildlife photographic safari. Panorama.
Breakfast stop at the Big Marsh. Ndutu, Tanzania. Big Cats wildlife photographic safari. Panorama.
Male Lion showing a dislike to the mud on his feet. Ndutu, Tanzania. Wild4 African Photo Safaris with Stu Porter.
Male Lion showing a dislike to the mud on his feet. Ndutu, Tanzania. Wild4 African Photo Safaris with Stu Porter.
Male Lion in the early morning fog. Ndutu, Tanzania. Wild4 African Photo Safaris with Stu Porter. Black & White.
Male Lion in the early morning fog. Ndutu, Tanzania. Wild4 African Photo Safaris with Stu Porter. Black & White.
Cheetahs on a fallen tree getting a good look at their surroundings. Ndutu, Tanzania. Small Group Specialist Photographic Tours. Wildlife Panorama & Composite.
Cheetahs on a fallen tree getting a good look at their surroundings. Ndutu, Tanzania. Small Group Specialist Photographic Tours. Wildlife Panorama & Composite.
Cheetah female in a tree. Ndutu, Tanzania. Wild4 African Photo Safaris with Stu Porter.
Cheetah female in a tree. Ndutu, Tanzania. Wild4 African Photo Safaris with Stu Porter.
Cheetah at sunrise. Ndutu, Tanzania. Big Cats wildlife photographic safari. Wildlife Panorama.
Cheetah at sunrise. Ndutu, Tanzania. Big Cats wildlife photographic safari. Wildlife Panorama.
Cheetah cubs with the Cape Hare that they eventuall caught. Ndutu, Tanzania. Small Group Specialist Photographic Tours.
Cheetah cubs with the Cape Hare that they eventuall caught. Ndutu, Tanzania. Small Group Specialist Photographic Tours.
Cheetah cubs playing. Ndutu, Tanzania. Big Cats wildlife photographic safari.
Cheetah cubs playing. Ndutu, Tanzania. Big Cats wildlife photographic safari.
Cheetah female with a Grant's Gazelle kill. Ndutu, Tanzania. Wild4 African Photo Safaris with Stu Porter.
Cheetah female with a Grant's Gazelle kill. Ndutu, Tanzania. Wild4 African Photo Safaris with Stu Porter.
Cheetah and cub with an adult female Grant's Gazelle. Ndutu, Tanzania. Small Group Specialist Photographic Tours.
Cheetah and cub with an adult female Grant's Gazelle. Ndutu, Tanzania. Small Group Specialist Photographic Tours.
Female Cheetah. Ndutu, Tanzania. Wild4 African Photo Safaris with Stu Porter.
Female Cheetah. Ndutu, Tanzania. Wild4 African Photo Safaris with Stu Porter.
Fischer's Lovebirds at Ndutu Safari Lodge. Ndutu, Tanzania. Wildlife photography Africa.
Fischer's Lovebirds at Ndutu Safari Lodge. Ndutu, Tanzania. Wildlife photography Africa.
Fischer's Lovebird in flight. Ndutu, Tanzania. Small Group Specialist Photographic Tours.
Fischer's Lovebird in flight. Ndutu, Tanzania. Small Group Specialist Photographic Tours.
Herd of Giraffe in the marsh at one of the remaining sources of water. Ndutu, Tanzania. Big Cats wildlife photographic safari. Wildlife Panorama.
Herd of Giraffe in the marsh at one of the remaining sources of water. Ndutu, Tanzania. Big Cats wildlife photographic safari. Wildlife Panorama.
Two male Cheetahs at Miti mi tatu. Ndutu, Tanzania. Wildlife photography Africa. Wildlife Panorama.
Two male Cheetahs at Miti mi tatu. Ndutu, Tanzania. Wildlife photography Africa. Wildlife Panorama.
Male Grant's Gazelle. Ndutu, Tanzania. Small Group Specialist Photographic Tours.
Male Grant's Gazelle. Ndutu, Tanzania. Small Group Specialist Photographic Tours.
Three Balck Backed Jackal puppies. Ndutu, Tanzania. Big Cats wildlife photographic safari.
Three Balck Backed Jackal puppies. Ndutu, Tanzania. Big Cats wildlife photographic safari.
Kirk's Dik Dik. Ndutu, Tanzania. Wild4 African Photo Safaris with Stu Porter.
Kirk's Dik Dik. Ndutu, Tanzania. Wild4 African Photo Safaris with Stu Porter.
Lilac Breasted Roller. Ndutu, Tanzania. Wildlife photography Africa.
Lilac Breasted Roller. Ndutu, Tanzania. Wildlife photography Africa.
One of the weaker looking small cubs of the marsh pride. Ndutu, Tanzania. Big Cats wildlife photographic safari.
One of the weaker looking small cubs of the marsh pride. Ndutu, Tanzania. Big Cats wildlife photographic safari.
Lion pair. Ndutu, Tanzania. Wild4 African Photo Safaris with Stu Porter.
Lion pair. Ndutu, Tanzania. Wild4 African Photo Safaris with Stu Porter.
The Marsh Lion Pride. Ndutu, Tanzania. Wildlife photography Africa.
The Marsh Lion Pride. Ndutu, Tanzania. Wildlife photography Africa.
Some members of the Marsh pride. Ndutu, Tanzania. Small Group Specialist Photographic Tours.
Some members of the Marsh pride. Ndutu, Tanzania. Small Group Specialist Photographic Tours.
Lioness from the Marsh pride with a cub suckling from her. Ndutu, Tanzania. Wildlife photography Africa.
Lioness from the Marsh pride with a cub suckling from her. Ndutu, Tanzania. Wildlife photography Africa.
Lioness of the Marsh Pride. Ndutu, Tanzania. Small Group Specialist Photographic Tours. Wildlife Panorama & Composite.
Lioness of the Marsh Pride. Ndutu, Tanzania. Small Group Specialist Photographic Tours. Wildlife Panorama & Composite.
One of the two Lionesses from the small Marsh pride. Ndutu, Tanzania. Big Cats wildlife photographic safari.
One of the two Lionesses from the small Marsh pride. Ndutu, Tanzania. Big Cats wildlife photographic safari.
Member of the Marsh pride. Ndutu, Tanzania. Wild4 African Photo Safaris with Stu Porter.
Member of the Marsh pride. Ndutu, Tanzania. Wild4 African Photo Safaris with Stu Porter.
The two Lionesses from the small marsh pride. Ndutu, Tanzania. Wildlife photography Africa. Composite.
The two Lionesses from the small marsh pride. Ndutu, Tanzania. Wildlife photography Africa. Composite.
The small marsh pride Lionesses and a big male. Ndutu, Tanzania. Small Group Specialist Photographic Tours. Wildlife Panorama.
The small marsh pride Lionesses and a big male. Ndutu, Tanzania. Small Group Specialist Photographic Tours. Wildlife Panorama.
The Marsh pride leaving the Big marsh to go out hunting. Ndutu, Tanzania. Wild4 African Photo Safaris with Stu Porter. Wildlife Panorama & Composite.
The Marsh pride leaving the Big marsh to go out hunting. Ndutu, Tanzania. Wild4 African Photo Safaris with Stu Porter. Wildlife Panorama & Composite.
Grooming time in the Marsh pride. Ndutu, Tanzania. Wildlife photography Africa.
Grooming time in the Marsh pride. Ndutu, Tanzania. Wildlife photography Africa.
Male Lion. Ndutu, Tanzania. Small Group Specialist Photographic Tours.
Male Lion. Ndutu, Tanzania. Small Group Specialist Photographic Tours.
Ostrich in the foggy morning in the Marsh. Ndutu, Tanzania. Wildlife photography Africa.
Ostrich in the foggy morning in the Marsh. Ndutu, Tanzania. Wildlife photography Africa.
Members of the Marsh pride returning from the short grass plains, back to the Marsh. Ndutu, Tanzania. Big Cats wildlife photographic safari.
Members of the Marsh pride returning from the short grass plains, back to the Marsh. Ndutu, Tanzania. Big Cats wildlife photographic safari.
Amazing rainbow on our final morning in Ndutu. Wild4 African Photo Safaris with Stu Porter.
Amazing rainbow on our final morning in Ndutu. Wild4 African Photo Safaris with Stu Porter.
One of a number of Servals seen on this trip. Ndutu, Tanzania. Wild4 African Photo Safaris with Stu Porter.
One of a number of Servals seen on this trip. Ndutu, Tanzania. Wild4 African Photo Safaris with Stu Porter.
A very rare sighting of a Cape or Temminck's Ground Pangolin, also known as a Scaly Ant-eater out in the short grass plains. Ndutu, Tanzania. Wildlife photography Africa.
A very rare sighting of a Cape or Temminck's Ground Pangolin, also known as a Scaly Ant-eater out in the short grass plains. Ndutu, Tanzania. Wildlife photography Africa.

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1 Comment

  • Outstanding stuff Stu!

    Leon Marais - February 05th, 2020 at 12:31pm

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Testimonials My wife and I have been on three photo safaris with Stu. The first trip was the result of a recommendation from a friend. The second and third trips were because Stu did such a good job on the first. He is a thoroughly professional guide and offers such a terrific experience wherever he takes us. Stu shares his extensive knowledge of photography and has made it possible for us to get better photos and expand our understanding of what it takes to capture more of each photographic opportunity. It takes a special person to guide photographers around Africa, keep them comfortable, provide them with the best photo locations at the best time of the day, manage the schedules, vehicles, drivers, flights and food and still remain calmly in control. I think it would be appropriate to call Stu and ultimate professional. He is supported well by Justyna in the office and we anticipate traveling more with Wild4 in the future. You should book a trip with him as soon as you can!

Larry Jackson, USA

Testimonials I have just returned from a fantastic custom safari to the Kruger with Wild4. This was my second trip in the Kruger with Wild4 and everything from start to finish was absolutely perfect. I absolutely cannot imagine doing this sort of trip there with anyone else. Things were off to a positive from way before we landed. Justyna was as helpful and patient as ever from day 1 and I must say that her suggestions were all spot on. Not only did she sort everything out for us and made it look easy (although I very much doubt it was), but the information she gave us prepared us well for the trip. As soon as we met up with Stefan after we arrived, we had nothing else to "worry" about except take pictures. He was not only great as a guide with his experience, sharp eyes, and genuine interest in wildlife becoming obvious quickly, but he was also excellent as a driver who knows what works and what doesn't photographically and was thus able to position the vehicle perfectly. It was not uncommon for one of us to just say a couple of words about what we wanted to try photographically and he'd immediatelly be on it, getting us in the perfect position while adhering to the rules and keeping the wildlife's interest as a top priority - something all members of the group I was in appreciated immensly. Thank you Stefan, Justyna, and Stu for making this trip happen for us! I look forward to being back with you guys in the future!

Matthew Scerri, Malta