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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Dear WILD4 Team, thanks a lot for making our anniversary holiday so special. The sightings were superb and your company was very enjoyable. We cannot wait for the next trip to arrive. All the best. Graham & Caroline
Graham & Caroline, UK
Our 14 days with Wild4 Safaris will always be remembered as the best learning experience we have ever embarked on. Not only for the improvement in photographic skills and knowledge, but also the animal behavioural knowledge that we gained. We were totally immersed in the world of wildlife photography in the best place in the world with one of the best pro photographers around. Stu genuinely enjoys sharing his knowledge and passion for wildlife and photography. More than a holiday, it was an unbelievably rewarding learning experience and has taken our skill level up significantly. Stu and his team were able to help us learn about our equipment and coach us to apply these new skills quickly. Their sharing of knowledge, expertise in photography, and being able to read wildlife behaviour along with the excellent booklet (which became Marie's bible) are world class. This ensured we got to places that others didn't and that we were always in the best position to shoot. We also booked the extension and were most impressed with the "behind the scenes" access we gained at each Reserve. Stu didn't disappoint and was able to put together some memorable opportunities for us to get many excellent shots. The whole package was first class, from the pick up at Nelspruit, accommodation, food and day trips, to the people (now friends) who we met on the trip. This is one of those bucket list adventures that we will be doing again with WILD4.
John and Marie, AUSTRALIA