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 recently did a trip with Wild4 which far outweighed any expectations that I had! Wow what a trip. There was a great variety of animals, Stu has extensive knowledge of the animals and their habitat and was always mindful of us getting the best shots possible. My friend and I had our own bench seats in all the vehicles, which was great as we both had 2 DSLRs with numerous lenses, each vehicle is equipped with beanbags to steady your camera / lens, pockets and enough room to take a camera bag. We had fantastic opportunities to watch the cats for a good period of time and learn a little bit about their life, rather than taking a photo and moving on. I loved that we could sit and watch the lions at Mala Mala play in the Sand River, it was a fantastic opportunity. Stu provided us with some great tuition, I certainly learnt a lot of new photo techniques which I look forward to using back home. I hired a Canon 500mm lens from Stu which was great, I think I used that about 85% of the time and used a 70-200mm for the rest. We had many opportunities for night photography, silhouettes, time lapse, low light etc At the end of our trip we did the reptile extension at Khamai Reptile Centre. We went behind the scenes at the centre and had one of Africa's leading reptile specialist spend the day talking about the reptiles, spiders, scorpions we were about to take pictures of. Donald and his team certainly made for a very safe photo shoot, they were extremely patient positioning some of the reptiles for better light or different background. I learnt a lot from Donald, living in Australia we do have some venomous snakes, the day certainly gave me a renewed appreciation for the reptiles. I would highly recommend the Wild4 team for your next photographic safari you will not be disappointed.
Linda Cappello, AUSTRALIA
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