CUSTOM Photo Safari - MALA MALA, South Africa - March 2015
Posted by Wild4 Photo Safaris on 28th Mar 2015
A short three night custom photo safari at the famous MALA MALA Private Game Reserve in South Africa proved once again that this is the best place in Africa to photograph wild Leopards. During our 6 game drives we encountered 10 different Leopards and got to spend a lot of time with some of them where we were treated to some excellent photo opportunities. Along with the Leopard sightings we also got to spend time with some of the Lions that are also found in the reserve.
On our first afternoon we encountered the “Kikelezi” female Leopard who has managed to bring up both of her cubs who are now close to becoming independant.
Our first morning drive produced a great sighting of the “Styx” Pride in the Sand River right in front of main camp. Whilst at the Lions we could see three different Leopards, the “Airstrip Male”, the “Island female” and the “Princess Alice Pans Male” or “PAP” who sadly seems to be nearing the end of his reign as one of the dominant Male leopards in the area. He had some serious wounds from a fight with either Lions or another Leopard.
A real highlight was seeing the Matshipiri female and her cub of about 5 weeks.
On a drive to the south of the reserve we encountered an unknown female Leopard excellently spotted by Sean !! we then found the two “Jakkalsdraai” Male Lions resting in the Sand River. On our way back we spent some more time with the newly named “Island” female Leopard (the daughter of the “Tamboti female” Leopard) She is just as beautiful as her mother. We photographed her in a Marula tree where she had been chased by the Kikilezi female Leopard - a territorial dispute !
On our final afternoon it was wonderful to see the two “Styx” male Lions who I have personally not seen for a while. One of the Males has a magnificent mane and in a couple of years time he will be one of the most striking Male Lions in the area.
On our final morning we spent time with the “Kikilezi” female Leopard as she stalked up to a herd of Impala in long grass but was unsuccessful. Just before we had to return to camp we had one last encounter with the “Styx” Pride - expertly tracked and found by Roan, our Ranger.
Thank you to Frank, Martha and Sean for coming on the safari, it was a pleasure to have hosted you.
A massive thank you also to Roan, our Ranger, thanks for all the hard driving and getting us into the best positions for some excellent photographs !!.
Thank you to all the staff at Mala Mala for looking after us so well as always…
Enjoy some of the photos !!
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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
This was truly a fantastic safari. The camping experience gave us the feel of being closer to nature as opposed to being in a lodge without really roughing it and the camp food was superior to the lodge buffets. The photographic opportunities were great throughout the safari and our time on the Chobe River was exceptional. As a veteran of 13 safaris to other locations in Africa I can say this was fantastic.
Don Getty www.dongettywildlifephotography.com, USA