LIONS and LEOPARDS of KRUGER photo safari trip report - Aug / Sept 2018
Posted by Wild4 Photo Safaris on 23rd Sep 2018
Here is the trip report from our second Lions & Leopards of Kruger Photo Safari of 2018.
Our stay at Jock Safari Lodge was very productive and we started with spending a full afternoon with the Lions of the Jock Pride complete with the two Thompson Male Lions. They had just finished an Impala and we caught one Lioness drinking from a pool in the Biyamiti River. The rest of the Lions moved off towards the main road and we followed the two Males as they scent marked on their way. We also had a great sighting of the same male Leopard we saw on our first trip in July. Other highlights were a massive herd of African Buffalo, a Verreaux's Eagle Owl, Chacma Baboon, White Rhino, Elephant and Waterbuck.
After 3 great nights at Jock Safari Lodge, we headed towards Satara Camp, located in central Kruger. On our way we stopped in at Nkaya Pan where we were treated to a special sighting of a resident female Leopard who came to drink. On our first morning we came across a dead Rhino at Welverdiend Waterhole on the Sweni road. There was a large pride of Lions (around 20) feeding on the carcass and after taking a few photos we continued to Shimangwaneni Dam where we photographed Giraffe, Zebra, Kudu, Elephant, Warthog and Waterbuck coming down to drink. Our second full day was spent on the S100 road near Satara where we found a small pride of Lions who tried in vain to catch Impala and Wildebeest. Other highlights were Impala, Zebra, a great Tawny Eagle and an African Wildcat in Satara Camp trying to catch little Swifts near the bungalows at Circle A.
Our final three nights in the Kruger National Park were spent at Lower Sabie Camp and in particular at Sunset Dam which is always a great place to photograph. Here we photographed Yellow Billed Storks, Egyptian Geese, Hippos, Great Egrets, Crocodiles and a Giant Kingfisher with a giant fish (too big in fact). We also found a female Leopard with a disfigured nose, an old injury perhaps from an encounter with a Crocodile ? She tried to hunt Impala but was unsuccessful and was last seen heading towards Orpen Dam. We spent some time at a very muddy Slim's Waterhole and also with a troop of Baboons on the main road North of Lower Sabie, they offered some great black & white photo opportunities.
Our final three nights were spent at Mala Mala and we started off with a great sighting of a pair of Saddle Billed Storks followed by a night photo session with the Kambula Lionesses who crossed the Sand River. On our first full morning we had an unbelievabe sighting of the Lookoout female Leopard bringing down a sub adult male Nyala. After this we spent time with the Three Rivers Female Leopard that was right outside Rattrays Camp. In the afternoon we followed up on the Lookout Female with cub and kill, only to watch as some Hyaena stole her kill from her. We did get to photograph her in a tree though at sunset. The following morning was another Leopard treat, we spent time with the Sibuye Female and her two cubs at the site of a Duiker kill. We also got to see the Piccadilli female and cub as well as the beautiful Island female making our total Leopard count at Mala Mala, an amazing 9 in three days !!
Many thanks to all the lodge staff that looked after us at each location and also to our guides and rangers, Jacob at Jock Safari Lodge and Liam at Mala Mala, thank you all for your hard work and patience and for getting us into sightings and spending quality photographic time with the animals. A massive thanks also to the Wild4 backup team (mum & dad !! ) who looked after us so well in the Kruger National Park.
Finally, thank you to the participants, Barbara, Mark and Allen, it was a pleasure to host you all and we really appreciate the long distances you travelled to join us on this Lions & Leopards of Kruger photo safari.
Please enjoy some of the photos below.
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My wife and I have been on three photo safaris with Stu. The first trip was the result of a recommendation from a friend. The second and third trips were because Stu did such a good job on the first. He is a thoroughly professional guide and offers such a terrific experience wherever he takes us. Stu shares his extensive knowledge of photography and has made it possible for us to get better photos and expand our understanding of what it takes to capture more of each photographic opportunity. It takes a special person to guide photographers around Africa, keep them comfortable, provide them with the best photo locations at the best time of the day, manage the schedules, vehicles, drivers, flights and food and still remain calmly in control. I think it would be appropriate to call Stu and ultimate professional. He is supported well by Justyna in the office and we anticipate traveling more with Wild4 in the future. You should book a trip with him as soon as you can!
Larry Jackson, USA
I have just returned from a fantastic custom safari to the Kruger with Wild4. This was my second trip in the Kruger with Wild4 and everything from start to finish was absolutely perfect. I absolutely cannot imagine doing this sort of trip there with anyone else. Things were off to a positive from way before we landed. Justyna was as helpful and patient as ever from day 1 and I must say that her suggestions were all spot on. Not only did she sort everything out for us and made it look easy (although I very much doubt it was), but the information she gave us prepared us well for the trip. As soon as we met up with Stefan after we arrived, we had nothing else to "worry" about except take pictures. He was not only great as a guide with his experience, sharp eyes, and genuine interest in wildlife becoming obvious quickly, but he was also excellent as a driver who knows what works and what doesn't photographically and was thus able to position the vehicle perfectly. It was not uncommon for one of us to just say a couple of words about what we wanted to try photographically and he'd immediatelly be on it, getting us in the perfect position while adhering to the rules and keeping the wildlife's interest as a top priority - something all members of the group I was in appreciated immensly. Thank you Stefan, Justyna, and Stu for making this trip happen for us! I look forward to being back with you guys in the future!
Matthew Scerri, Malta