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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Thank you again Stu for your trip report of our Botswana trip. It has been very useful to me as I go through my photographs and try to identify the birds especially. It has also given me ideas on how to treat some of my photographs of similar subjects, Also a big thank you in general for the technique guidance you have give me this year and for your fantastic decisions about anticipating animal behavior. My resulting photographs are largely due to your help and to travelling with you. You have had a significant impact on the quality of my photographs and I am very appreciative. Looking forward to hearing about your Tsavo trip. Regards
Sharon Thorp, Canada
It has always been a dream of mine to travel to Africa and take a photo safari. Although I am not a professional photographer, it has been a hobby of mine and I had been wanting to make the trip for many years. Last year, I went on a safari through a different agency, and was disappointed. It was too generic and commercialized. It left me unsatisfied and wanting more. After a year, I still had an urge to go back to Africa and get the experience that I felt I had missed out on. After doing some research I came upon Wild 4 African Photographic Safaris. I was excited that this time I would really get the experience I was hoping for, and it did not fail. Upon arrival at the park, I met Stu. He was extremely helpful, even months before the trip. Justyna helped me prepare and made sure I was well equipped for the safari. Before arriving, I could already tell that this would be an adventure of a lifetime. During the safari, Stu’s knowledge continued to surprise me. Not only does he know about photography, but his familiarity of the animals and their environment is unbelievable. He could spot a rhino from miles away that we would only see once he drove 5 minutes towards it. He understands the environment and how to get great shots. He never let us miss an opportunity. Stu was patient and didn’t rush us. His tips were useful and will help with all of my future photography endeavours. The Wild 4 Safari at went above and beyond all of my expectations. It really was a dream come true.
Ulhas Mayekar, USA