LIONS and LEOPARDS of KRUGER photo safari - June 2014
Posted by Wild4 Photo Safaris on 15th Jun 2014
The first Lions and Leopards photo safari has just ended. We also did the two night Forest Camp extension for African Reptile and Vulture Photography.
Our three nights at the Big Cat Reserve was very eventful with the Lions on a Buffalo kill and the two Cheetah brothers, Floppy and Hunters bringing down a young Waterbuck. The two seasoned Leopards, Jabula and Bagheera were still on form for the night photo shoot.
Then it was off to the Kruger National Park and 4 nights at Satara in central Kruger.
We spent a lot of time sitting patiently at the remaining waterholes and Girivana and Nkaya pan were both very productive. We spent the entire day at Nkaya pan and animals came and went like clock work. A Saddle Billed Stork kept us entertained in the quiet times as she continuously hunted in the pan for Platanas (african Clawed Frogs) Special treats were a beautiful Male Lion with one of the biggest manes I have seen in the Kruger, Rhino, Elephant, Impala, Zebra, Warthog, Wildebeest and Kudu, to name just a few.
The Sweni Bird hide was productive too with a Goliath Heron that showed off his hunting skills right in front of the hide.
Our final stop was three nights at Mala Mala. We began with a sighting of a Leopard and her cub in a tree with a kill. Later on that evening a male leopard arrived and stole the kill.
The Eyrefield pride successfully caught a young male Nyala on one of the night drives. Great bird photography, a rare Sable Antelope and the Newington and the Airstrip Male leopards were some other highlights.
On our final night we witnessed the Bicycle Crossing Male Leopard chase another male leopard at full speed through the sand river where they briefly fought, the “Bike” was the clear victor and chased his counterpart, off into the night !
On our final morning drive we soon found the Eyrefield pride on the airstrip, we followed them on a brief unsuccessful hunt and then they made their way down to the river and crossed at the perfect place for us to get some Lions in the river photos !! what a great ending to a magical safari..
Many thanks to the staff at Forest Camp, Tshukudu and Mala Mala and to Stefan our guide at Forest Camp, Deon and Matt, our rangers at Tshukudu and to Brendan, our ranger at Mala Mala for looking after us and getting us into great positions for some wonderful photo opportunities.
Thanks also to mum - great food again in the Kruger and a huge thanks to Becky, all the way from Whidbey Island - Washington State - for joining us on this photo safari, it was a fantastic trip !
Here are some of the photos - enjoy !!
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We have a particular affinity for bird photography, but also enjoy the African game animals. I'm pleased to say we are all thrilled with the entire trip. Stu met us at the airport on day 1, and what was to have been a quick couple hour drive to camp, took all afternoon until sunset, we found so many things to shoot. Then we wanted to do something slightly off the itinerary on day 2, and Stu again accommodated us. It was like that throughout the entire trip, the Porter family was very accommodating. Even though we were in a big national park using public facilities, the Porter family made us feel like we were in our own private game reserve, and the animals were there just for us. Stu's local knowledge of the birds and game is just great, he's a walking guide book. And because he's in Kruger so often, he knows where the best spots are. Also he knows all the other guides, and they share information. And most importantly if you are considering a photo safari, Stu is an accomplished nature photographer himself. He knows the light and how to position and approach for the best shot. He knows what photographers want and how to get it. The experience might be quite different if just any guide were to drive you around. And having a spotting vehicle out searching for game really helped us see some extra animals we wouldn't have seen. The results were outstanding. We saw and photographed all the of the big five, and several seldom seen animals totaling 33 mammal species and 164 bird species. All in all, the trip was great!! highly recommended!
Con Foley, USA
Stu ... Cannot say enough great things about Wild4. The entire Porter family is #1 in my book. I shall recommend you to friends as often as possible. You made my trip the very best and one that I'll always remember. Thanks again
Dan Dimaggio, USA