CUSTOM photo safari NGALA, MALA MALA and BIG CAT RESERVE - August 2014
Posted by Wild4 Photo Safaris on 1st Aug 2014
This was a bespoke photo safari that took in some of the most productive private reserves in South Africa. All locations were very good - Lions, Leopards and Cheetahs as well as the African Wilddog and a great Spotted Hyaena den !! were some of the predator highlights.
The "Big Cat Reserve" - (Tshukudu Game Reserve) was once again very productive as far as getting off to a good start regarding photo techniques, night photography, off camera flash and star photography. The final morning was spent observing the two cheetah boys, Floppy and Hunters on their Impala kill.
Thanks very much to the Tshukudu staff and Deon our ranger for looking after us.
Ngala Private Game Reserve was up next, a 4 night stay at this reserve produced a good variety of sightings, Buffalo, Hippo, Elephant, Giraffe, Impala, Greater Kudu and some wonderful bird life. We had two great Leopard sightings, we observed a young leopard get rather close to a pair of Black Mambas, and the young Leadwood Tom passed through the Timbavati river. The Skoro pride had a Male Lion in tow and the Birmingham pride showed off their young cubs in a beautiful open area. The Spotted Hyaena den was very active with a number of youngsters, my personal favourite being a rather dark coloured and very inquisitive individual. The highlight however had to be three sightings of the African Wilddogs, two were without the puppies, and one with them in tow, what a great opportunity to see these endangered carnivores and to be able to spend some time photographing them, resulting in the best Wilddog puppy photos yet !
Thanks very much to all the Ngala staff and to Steve our tracker and Amy our ranger.
Final stop on the tour was a three night stay at Mala Mala Private Game Reserve. Our stay started with a bang when we got to spend some of the afternoon with a pair of male elephants fighting for dominance, these were not fully grown adults and thus it was not too serious but a great experience to watch and photograph. We then spent some time with the Kikilezi female leopard and her two youngsters - good news that the second youngster had not been killed by another Leopard as we had feared on the previous trip. We managed to have a good view of them drinking before they moved off into a thick drainage line. Before heading back to camp we came across the Eyrefield pride on the hunt but left them and turned in for the night.
Things from here got more interesting - in the morning we found the Eyrefield pride in front of camp on a fresh Buffalo kill. This was followed up by a sighting of the Princess Alice Pans male Leopard (PAP) and his son the Newington Male Leopard, both at a Sausage tree with a fresh Bushbuck Kill. Not more than a Kilometer away we found two more Leopards, the River Rocks male and the Tamboti female, also near the remains of a Kill - this time an Impala.
Over the next two days we returned to watch and observe these stories unfold, but we also managed to bump into the Airstrip Male leopard and the Ostrich Koppies female leopard who had two very small cubs with her, taking our total Leopard count to 11 !! On top of this the Marthly pride took over the Buffalo kill from the Eyrefield pride and we got to see the Styx pride too. A single Cheetah male was also seen on our final afternoon.
Thanks also to the Mala Mala staff and to Jonno our ranger for looking after us so well.
Top notch sightings at all places and a very successful safari !!
Thanks also to Rob & Sue for making their 4th safari with us, it was an absolute pleasure to have had you back again - looking forward to the next one.
Best wishes to all.
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Many thanks for a fantastically organised photo safari. The attention to detail, not to mention your patience & enthusiasm (and humour) has made the trip superb. We're delighted we chose Wild4. Kind regards.
Dom & Jules, UK
On arrival we were treated as part of the family by Stu Porter, his wife Justyna, and parents John and Ann. The conditions for finding and photographing everything from small birds to large game was perfect – a 500mm lens on hire from Stu, a specially equipped vehicle, which was referred to as a hide on wheels ( with only 3 photographers) , a dedicated and professional approach to photography and plenty of time. We would set off at sunrise, find a group of lions as they were beginning to yawn and stir from sleep, or a pair of saddle-billed storks building a nest, and quietly move our cameras into position. The initial sighting was accompanied by the rapid firing of shutters, but then we would wait as long as necessary in the hope of getting further shots. Stu was very sensitive to our needs and would only make suggestions about the best camera settings if he thought we needed his advice. His awareness of how animals behave was very useful in planning our shots. Stu’s knowledge of African Wildlife and skill as a wildlife photographer is second to none, and I have learned a lot from his expertise. I am delighted with my photos !! This was the trip of a lifetime, good accommodation, delicious food and great company. It was altogether a wonderful, challenging and thrilling experience and, if you are looking for a photo safari in Africa, I too recommend you contact Stu Porter at Wild4.
David Austwick, UK