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 did a photo safari in and around Kruger National Park with Wild4. At the end of the trip I could not think of one significant thing that I would have changed to make the experience better. I have travelled to various parts of East and Southern Africa many times to photograph wildlife and I have to say that this was THE most photographically productive trip of them all. Not simply the volume of pictures, but the quality and variety of images that I returned home with was simply awesome. Key to this was Stu’s knowledge, enthusiasm and patience. Most days we were photographing from first light until sunset, and beyond on some occasions. I quickly learned not to worry about getting the vehicle into the best position for background, light, etc. We would see an animal and I'd start to assess where I would like to be for a shot, no sooner would I have done this I would realise that Stu was already getting us into that very position. The man is a first class guide AND an excellent photographer. Perfect. The whole trip, from start to finish, ran like clockwork. The camps were comfortable, the food was great and the company delightful. Going on Safari with Stu and Justyna was like being with friends, I had a truly unforgettable time. Photographic safaris do not come any better than this.
Mike Needham, UK
As a return customer I can't recommend enough the experience of these trips as well as photographic opportunities that surpass all expectations. In addition I have now visited the reptile centre, as part of the extension, twice. Both times I have been delighted with the skill and expertise of the rangers there. The opportunities set up for photography are exceptional and that coupled with Stu's masterclass in close up and macro provides a day to remember. If you get the opportunity to do the extension, take it as it's worth every minute.
Sharron Franks, UK