Posted by Wild4 Photo Safaris on 25th Sep 2017
Not only was this a very successful and productive migration photo safari, it was also a very speical trip for WILD4 as our newly refurbished photographic vehicle was put to the test on its first official safari. We were very pleased with how the photographic modifications performed and are looking forward to adding more vehicles to our fleet of uniquely designed photo safari vehicles, which offer a level of comfort to photographers unlike any other vehicle in East Africa.
As with every Great Migration season, timing is everything, you need to be lucky and you need to be patient, this years trip was a lucky one as we managed to see 8 river crossings and there was some good Crocodile action too. The mega herds usually start to move after rain, and we were lucky that rain fell on our second day. This seems to mobilize the herds and they gathered at the Mara River to cross from the Mara Triangle side over to the Lookout hill side of the reserve. This section of the river has the steepest river banks and the Wildebeest decided to cross here. The drama was amazing with Wildebeest leaping 12 meters from the top of the bank straight into the river. To add to the drama, a pride of Lions had set up in ambush right near one of the exit points and a single Lioness took down three Wildebeest calves in quick succession.
With a few good crossings under our belts we had the luxury of spending a lot of our time away from the river in search of some of the Mara's other resident animals. We had wonderful sightings of Lions, Malaika the Cheetah and her two sub adult cubs, and a beautiful Leopard that had made a kill very close to our camp. Birdlife is always very good in the Mara and an unusual sighting of a Ground Hornbill eating the eggs from a live Terrapin was observed and photographed. We had a good photo opportunity with a beautiful Serval Cat, a tiny baby Elephant and her mother, Eland, Impala, Zebra, Waterbuck, Black Rhino, Hippo and a pair of mating Thompson's Gazelle !
A massive thank you goes out to our guides, Mamai, James and Silas who's long days out in the field allowed us to take advantage of all that the Mara had to offer during our 7 night stay.
Thank you also to the camp staff at Mara Serena Lodge and Entim Camp who all looked after us so well, and to Thomas from Fact Safaris for arranging all the tour logistics.
Finally, thank you so much to Mark, Stephanie, Larry, Debbie, Rita and Bernice for joining us on this very productive Great Migratio photo safari.
Enjoy some photos from the safari
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Any aspiring photographer who has not yet been on a wildlife safari should join a WILD4 with Stu and Justyna Porter. You will be guided by a graduate professional photographer who is also a highly-qualified South African field guide. Stu's knowledge of photography and his understanding of African wildlife are exceptional. He is also blessed with an amazing spotter's eyesight. I often thought to myself, how on earth did he see that! As each day begins all these talents are passed on with sincerity and quiet enthusiasm to each photographer's needs. Nothing is ever too much trouble and his positioning of the vehicle for the best light and animal profile is always his first consideration. On our tour there were times for laughter and many times when action and adrenalin ran high. Any successful safari is only as good as its backup team. This family company is most ably supported by Stu's wife Justyna who is the drive behind the scenes and efficiently arranges the accommodation and all the logistics. Stu's mother, Ann Porter provides excellent food for the day in the park and around the campfire at night. Both are qualified field guides and their spotting abilities add greatly to each day's safari. This particular trip was most rewarding in both personal and photographic terms and one of the best we have ever enjoyed. Sincere thanks to you all.
Slim & Barbara Callaghan, UK
The Wild 4 team made my trip to South Africa a truly memorable experience. Photographing some of the orphaned captive animals at the private game reserve on the extension was a great way to start the holiday, and Stu's tuition on techniques, composition and familiarity with your gear was the foundation for the rest of the trip. In Kruger we had some wonderful sightings - including the 'Big 5' all in one day on two consecutive days! The highlights were spending 20 minutes with a leopard cub in a tree no more than 30 metres away, and on the last day watching a pride of 14 lions stalking a herd of zebra for more than an hour - just wonderful experiences! I'm sure the quality of the shots I took was infinitely better than if I'd gone on a regular safari, as the whole focus of the experience is expertly designed to maximise photographic opportunities - including only 3 photographers in the specially designed vehicle. Stu's knowledge, enthusiasm and patience were boundless, and Ann's spotting and catering skills were also priceless! I hope to visit Africa again soon, and without doubt Wild 4 will be my first option.
Greg Morgan, UK