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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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
This was the second trip I have booked through Wild4 and one of the most memorable and pleasurable trips I have ever been on in my life. We were blessed with incredible sightings from a frenzy of feeding wild dog to mating black mambas. The list is endless and the memories will linger for ever in the form of some great images shot from the customised vehicles driven by expert drivers. The camps chosen were great and there was a real and genuine feeling of being a part of your surroundings. A truly African experience. Botswana certainly came up trumps when delivering us such great sightings. From the bush to the Chobe river and the specially adapted photographic boats, you could not have asked for more. I must extend an enormous thank you to you Stu, for your endless patience and professionalism in everything you did for us. Thank you. Also a big thank you to Justyna who’s meticulous planning ensured a seamless trip to and in between each of our camps and destinations. Good job!
Stephen Tattersall, UK