GREAT MIGRATION photo safari KENYA - September 2017
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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My wife Joanie and I joined Wild4 for the Best of Kruger and Big Cats in August of 2014. It was our very first trip on an African safari. I’m a serious amateur photographer and my wife’s a non-photographer but both of us enjoyed the trip thoroughly ! To this day, we still regularly recall the highlights of sightings and events fondly. True to Wild4’s brand promise, Stu Porter delivers maximum photographic times spent chasing photo opportunities out in the field - out 6am as soon as the camp gate opens and back only 6pm when the gate closes. Having no more than three photographers on each of two jeeps allows every photographer immediate access to both sides of the vehicle. Stu always knows where to position the vehicle for the best vantage points. Every day has its highs – big cat chases and kills, grazers sparring, herds of elephants and buffaloes appearing from nowhere at water holes... Thanks to Stu and the enthusiasm and knowledge of experienced senior guide Mike Lentz. Camps in Kruger are basic (by first world standards) but hey this is a safari ! There’s the important benefit of being only a short drive away from dams, good spots to catch the first light when the sun rises. This is important as the gates do not open till 6am so there’s little margin for being late. I had the opportunity to experience first-hand, the Wild4 team’s dedication and commitment to a successful photo trip for guests, beyond the call of duty. The Wild4 team helped solved a major photographic equipment problem. Early afternoon on Day 5, the lens AF motor on my 400mm telephoto lens failed. This was really a disaster on a trip like this, as (like everyone else) I had a spare camera body but not a spare super telephoto lens ! The other lens I had was a medium telephoto zoom, hardly a lens to use with tele-converters. Murphy’s Law indeed ! This happened with seven more days to go ! I enquired with Stu about hiring a lens from the nearby towns. Stu sprang into action immediately whilst still on the afternoon game drive - got his back-office team to make enquiries back in Nelspruit town. This was something new to the Wild4 team as they never had to hire a lens but they found a lens on the same day, a 200-400mm that’s also ideal for safari. The lens had to be dispatched from almost 200 km away and Mr John Porter helped to drive south to collect the lens sooner. I had the use of this lens by the morning of Day 7, with one-and-half day “downtime” in a remote location. Service excellence lived by as a core value indeed. After eight nights I left Kruger National Park with the feeling that I was just warming up and was leaving too soon. I would have gladly extended a few more days if that was possible. But we were bound for the next destination. I notice Wild4 has not been static. More new trips were added. I see the enterprise is growing fast ! Joanie and I are now looking forward to a trip to Kenya, again with Stu and the Wild4 team.
Steve Seow, Singapore
We recently travelled to South Africa for a safari led by Wild 4 African Photographic Safaris. To put things simply, we were completely blown away. I had been on safari before, and had expectations that I thought were reasonable, but Wild 4 completely exceeded those expectations in so many ways. First of all, Justyna handled all of our travel and trip details with exceptional professionalism and always responded to even our most basic questions quickly and in a very detailed manner. Once we had arrived in South Africa, we were met by our guide Stu Porter, who I cannot say enough good things about. He is so organised and cordial. Stu was spotting things that we couldn’t believe that he was spotting, which almost always led to an amazing wildlife experience that we never saw coming. His knowledge and understanding of the wildlife and ecosystem was outstanding, and he went to great lengths to insure that we had the best chance of capturing a great photo, without compromising the rules of the park or the integrity of the animals and ecology within it. His understanding and respect for the wildlife and surroundings made the trip so much more than just a “drive around and look at whatever we see” kind of experience. I know that you can never predict what kind of experience you will have when you go out into the wild, and often it’s up to nature to decide what events you will be a part of, but in all honesty, I can’t imagine a better guide than Stu Porter. We will be doing our future trips to Africa with Wild 4, and cannot recommend them highly enough. Thank you so much for what a lot of people call “the trip of a lifetime”, although we feel that this is only the beginning of many trips of a lifetime. Thank you, Wild 4!!
James Smith, USA