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Wild4 African Photo Safaris

Specialist small group photo safaris to South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana and Namibia

FOCUS on the KRUGER photo safari trip report May 2019

Posted by Wild4 Photo Safaris on 9th Jul 2019

Photos & Text by Leon Marais

Guiding in the Kruger is always a privilege, and to have the opportunity to host three keen photographers for 11 days under almost flawless winter weather conditions was a true treat. And the incredible luck we had just made it that much better! This Focus on Kruger itinerary offers the chance to settle down for five nights in each of Kruger’s two best game viewing areas – Lower Sabie in the south-east and Satara in the south/central part of the park (and one of the participants came out a couple of days early and got to experience the Skukuza area as well). With packed breakfasts and lunches we had the flexibility to stay out for long periods, averaging around 10 hours on game drive per day, and this no doubt contributed to our success – the more time one spends looking, the more one finds! 

Our luck kicked in not far out of the airport on day 1 with our first leopard find, the first of seven that we found ourselves, out of 8 individuals seen in total. Starting off at Lower Sabie we had a few wonderful photo sessions at Sunset Dam, a superb spot where one can easily rattle off several hundred shots during a morning or afternoon session, with plenty of birds, hippos and crocodiles as subjects. Other highlights in the Lower Sabie area included numerous Lion sightings, including a full hunt and kill sequence when a young male Lion killed a Porcupine – a heart-wrenching experience made all the more so when we realized that there was a baby Porcupine involved, which thankfully made an escape, though the adult Porcupine wasn’t so lucky. We bagged the other big cats too with an unbelievable sighting of four Cheetahs on the S28 south of the camp; a great find of a Leopard pair resting on a rock in the shadow of Muntshe Ridge early one morning; and two other Leopards on one morning drive up to Jones’ Dam. 

Up at Satara, we started to shift focus to Wild Dogs, but unfortunately, they eluded us, despite a lot of effort put in. We did, however, see plenty to keep us entertained, with many long sessions spent photographing the more common species such as Zebra (for some of the participants the Zebras were an absolute highlight), Southern Giraffe, Elephant, African Buffalo, Kudu, Impala and so forth. We had a second Cheetah sighting too, with a pair of males that had killed a Zebra foal not long before we arrived in the area. Another guide gave us third-hand info about Cheetah seen along the H6 towards the Nwanetsi Picnic Site, and as luck would have it one popped its head up out of the long grass just as we were passing by. Pretty soon the Vultures began arriving at the kill site, eventually gathering in big enough numbers to push the cats off their kill. The Vultures however also attracted the attention of the local Spotted Hyena clan, and several of them came charging in to claim the remains, sending vultures flying in all directions. They soon picked up on the Cheetahs, which had been resting out of sight under a tree, and harassed them enough that they walked towards us, crossing the road in front of us to give us some great views. 

Our last day provided two highlights: Lions killing a Buffalo, although this wasn’t really photographable, taking place behind some thick bushes, but providing an insight into how raw nature can be in the world of big predators; followed soon after by a great sighting of a big male Leopard walking down the road, totally unperturbed by the vehicles following him – a great way to end an incredibly successful Focus on Kruger photo safari!  

Many thanks to the participants, Al, Char and Claire, for joining us on this Wild4 Photo Safari and to John and Ann for providing the great food for our packed breakfasts and lunches. 

Enjoy some photos from the trip,

Regards,

Leon

African Spoonbills. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
African Spoonbills. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Black-winged Stilt. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Black-winged Stilt. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Yellow Billed Stork juvenile. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Yellow Billed Stork juvenile. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Adult Yellow Billed Stork. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Adult Yellow Billed Stork. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Male Lions. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Male Lions. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Hyaena chasing Vultures. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Hyaena chasing Vultures. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Lappet Faced Vulture. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Lappet Faced Vulture. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Juvenile Bateleur Eagle. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Juvenile Bateleur Eagle. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Brown Snake Eagle. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Brown Snake Eagle. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Young Male Lion. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Young Male Lion. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Young Lion with Porcupine. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Young Lion with Porcupine. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
The baby Porcupine left to fend for itself. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
The baby Porcupine left to fend for itself. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Leopards. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Leopards. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Zebra fighting. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Zebra fighting. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Cheetahs. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Cheetahs. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Cheetah on mound. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Cheetah on mound. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Cheetah climbing tree. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Cheetah climbing tree. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Yellow Billed Hornbill. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Yellow Billed Hornbill. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Leopard stalking. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Leopard stalking. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Female Leopard. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Female Leopard. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Grey Go-away Bird. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Grey Go-away Bird. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Buffalo and Ox-pecker drinking. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Buffalo and Ox-pecker drinking. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Vultures chasing the Cheetah off their kill. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Vultures chasing the Cheetah off their kill. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Cheetah. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Cheetah. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Zebra. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Zebra. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Spotted Hyaena. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Spotted Hyaena. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Giraffe drinking. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Giraffe drinking. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Sunset. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Sunset. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Elephants. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Elephants. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Zebra fighting. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Zebra fighting. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Kruger Landscape. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Kruger Landscape. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Yellow Throated Longclaw. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Yellow Throated Longclaw. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Martial Eagle. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Martial Eagle. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Yellow Billed Ox-pecker. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Yellow Billed Ox-pecker. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Large male Leopard. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa
Large male Leopard. Focus on the Kruger Photo Safari, South Africa

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1 Comment

  • Brilliant

    John Hunt - July 17th, 2019 at 4:58pm

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Testimonials 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

Testimonials I've recently returned from a "Wild 4 Photo Safari" and can recommend them without reservation. Their skill, professionalism and expertise is excelled only by the standard of excellence shown in every aspect of the trip. From the logistics to the accommodation, the food to the transportation, their inside knowledge of African wildlife to their passion for what they do, every aspect SUPERB!! If you are looking for the ultimate "Photo Safari", this is it! I will definitely book again!!!

Del Hunter, UK