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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Our trip was awesome....made so, in large part, by WILD4. The wildlife at Kruger was terrific. But, it was your teamwork in the field, your uncanny ability to spot wildlife and your willingness to accommodate our EVERY need that made the trip a resounding success. Stu...you are an extremely knowledgeable guide and a superb photographer. You even taught this old dog some new tricks. Justyna...you made a huge contribution to this trip, with your role as super admin guru and Ann, your wonderful meals were a pleasure to enjoy every evening. We could not have asked for a more talented, thoughtful and gracious group of folks to spend our vacation in South Africa with. We wish you the very best success in your endeavor. Please let us know how we can help to market Wild4 to folks who share our love for wildlife and photography.
Rob & Annarie Schallenberger, USA
This was my first photography trip to Africa after a lot of research. Although I spent over 30 days in Africa, my Botswana component was among the most productive and is my favorite country visited. I must say Stu and Justyna's planning and direction for our entire trip is unparalleled and can't thank them enough. Our guides were incredible and the crew that helped us were indispensable. The food during our photo safari was the best for all of the places visited including South Africa. I still don't know how Pula managed to make his wonderful cuisine with so little resources! Our camp crew, Philemon and Ghoms were delightful and truly made me feel cared for and welcome. I have learned much from Stu and only wish I could have had more time learning from him in the field. Stu made our photo safari fun by pairing us with Mark, a like minded gentleman who was a joy to photograph with and talented. The entire experience was amazing with many high quality photo opportunities and think I have captured some magical moments and truly feel enriched by the experience. Thank you so much Stu, Justyna and all involved and I will try to one day do another marvelous adventure with Wild4 African Photographic Safaris !.
Georges McNeil, USA