CUSTOM Photo Safari - NGALA & MALA MALA, South Africa - July 2015
Posted by Wild4 Photo Safaris on 29th Jul 2015
We have just completed a 6 night custom photographic safari which included 3 nights at Ngala Private Game Reserve followed by another 3 nights at Mala Mala Private Game Reserve.
This was the first ever WILD4 Photo Safari to experience two Wilddog den sites on the same safari. In the Kruger area these dogs number just over 200 individuals making them a highly endangered carnivore. Just to catch a fleeting glimpse of one in the wild is a fantastic priveledge. On this safari we were extremely fortunate to be able to spend time at the den site at Ngala where the Alpha female had given birth to 17 puppies !!! this is an incredible feat and we really hope that they all make it to adulthood.
The second den site at Mala Mala was a real bonus to see. At this den site two female dogs have given birth to puppies. The first set having a couple of weeks head start on the second set. Seeing two sizes of puppies at a wilddog den site is extremely rare. In other instances the Alpha female has been recording killing any other puppies that are not her own.
So it was a Wilddog extravaganza - not only did we see a total of 31 wilddogs at Ngala and 25 at Mala (TOTAL of 56 !!), we also caught the "Half Tail" pack as they are known, hunting along the banks of the Sand River at Mala Mala. The Alpha male chased a fully grown female Kudu right past our vehicle, but the rest of the pack was not there to back him up. They continued their hunt passing the swimming pool at Main Camp. Not much further on they caught a young Bushbuck. It was incredible to see Dogs running in all directions, not to mention the excitement of trying to keep up with them, expertly driven by our ranger, Jonno !!
Other amazing sightings on the tour were witnessing the Skorro pride and the Phelwane Male Lions at Ngala, resting with huge bellies after their latest feast. At night we experieinced how loud a Lions roar really is, we were 10m from one of the Phelwane males when he decided to turn up the volume to the max ! We arrived at a Buffalo carcass that was being dismantled by a group of over 13 Spotted Hyaenas. A Lioness was found at an Elephant carcass in the southern parts of Ngala and that story began to unfold just as we departed for our next destination, Mala Mala.
A huge thank you to Scott our Ngala Ranger and Ernie the expert tracker!! Thanks for all your patieince with us and getting us into some wonderful sightings. Also the the entire staff at Ngala Safari Lodge for looking after us so well.. Moses our butler was always on hand to take excellent care of us, THANK YOU !!
Next stop was Mala Mala, which at this time of year is one of the only areas with fresh flowing water - the Sand River. This river is a magnet for all the wildlife in the area and of course the predators are never far away. Some highlights at Mala Mala were seeing the Styx Lion pride with their 3 small cubs as well as the two Clarendon Male Lions who were enjoying a Buffalo Kill. Hundreds of Elephants lined the river every day. One of the Eyrefield Lioness was mating with one of the Matshipiri Males. A female Cheetah near the airstrip, a Lilac Breasted Roller eating a scorpion and of course those magnificent spotted cats; Leopards - 7 of them in total.
Massive thanks also to Jonno, our Mala Mala ranger and all the Mala Mala camp staff for another enjoyable and very photographically productive stay.
The biggest thanks go out to Doug and Susan who came all the way from California to do this 6 night custom photo safari, it was a long way but it was certainly worth it.
Enjoy some of the photos taken over the 7 days
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I am a Molecular Biologist by profession and a serious amateur nature photographer and have been on a number of organized trips over the last 10 years with the dual aims of enjoying nature and getting the best images possible. The organization of a two week trip with Wild 4 Photographic Safaris through Kruger National Park I shared with two other photographers and it was as good as I have ever experienced. The Porter family was friendly, knowledgeable and intuitively supportive. Stu really knows his subjects and spared no effort in getting the photographers into the best situation. He has a very pleasant, calm personality and is an accomplished nature photographer and naturalist which means he knows where the light or action is best and often what is about to happen. His vehicle is also well set-up for discriminating photographers. Justyna was just brilliant in getting things organized in the background. Having our own scout vehicle to report activity in the area while we pursued other subjects, worked well, and on a number of occasions provided photo opportunities we would have missed otherwise. In summary; rating out of 10…….no doubt a 10.
Graeme Guy, NEW ZEALAND
For thirty-five years I had dreamed of going on a photographic safari in South Africa. This year I finally realized that dream and it is fair to say that my hopes and expectations were surpassed in every way. I had done extensive research on African photographic safaris on the Internet before settling on Wild 4 photo safaris. What an inspired choice that turned out to be! This family company run by Stu Porter and his wife, Justyna, and aided by Stu’s parents, John and Ann, provides the perfect safari experience for photographers of every skill level. Stu is one South Africa’s finest wild-life photographers and a first-class teacher into the bargain. His knowledge of the habitat and habits of the animals and birds to be found in Kruger National Park is simply encyclopaedic. I was accompanied on the trip by my 25 year-old daughter, Amy, and we eagerly adapted to the early morning wake-up call to go off into the wilds in one of Stu’s specially fitted jeeps to photograph animals at sunrise. Every day brought its special moments whether the spectacle of lions mating just a few metres from the jeep, or leopards lying lazily in the grass digesting a meal, or elephants and hippos frolicking in a river. The days sped by and we returned home with thousands of photographs of birds and animals to sort through and cherish for the memories they bring back. A safari with Wild 4 is more than a photographic experience with a master photographer: it is an initiation into the wonders of South Africa – its wild-life and spectacular landscapes - and, above all, an experience of friendship as everyone aboard the jeep bond in common purpose. Everything about Wild 4 is first class: organization is superb, accommodations excellent, choices of locale perfect. Our safari with Stu and Wild4 was truly the experience of a life-time.
Andrew Oliver, CANADA