LIONS and LEOPARDS of KRUGER photo safari trip report - August 2016
Posted by Wild4 Photo Safaris on 19th Aug 2016
Here are the trip report photos from the second of our 2016 "Lions & Leopards of Kruger" Photo Safari. We also did the 4 night pre-tour extension for Vultures, Reptiles and the photo hides at Ndlovu River Lodge.
The Vulture shoot offered the perfect wind conditions and great light and we photographed two of the 5 vulture species at the feed. We then spent a full day at the Kinyonga Reptile Park where we photographed Green & Black Mambas, Snouted Cobra, Scorpions, Baboon Spiders, Boomslang and Geckos.
Next stop was our 2 night stay at the Indlovu River Lodge in Karongwe Game Reserve. Here we spent 4 sessions in the specially built and very comfortable photo hides. Baboons, Nyala, Kudu and a number of birds were photographed all at eye level with the water and in great lighting conditions. The Baboons were particularly good this time round as well as a nice group of Common Waterbuck.
Ngala Private Reserve was next on the itinerary for a 3 night stay and highlights were seeing the young female Leopard we saw on the first trip as well as the young male we saw on the first trip who had been feeding on the remains of a young Waterbuck. On this trip we were treated to the sighting of a lifetime when we saw this same male Leopard bring down an adult female Warthog right next to our safari vehicle. Other highlights were a great Verreaux's Eagle Owl, a big herd of African Buffalo and a large number of Giraffe.
We met the Wild4 support team at Orpen Gate where we transferred into the Open Safari Vehicle and headed off into the Kruger National Park where we spent 6 nights split between Satara camp in central Kruger and Lower Sabie in the South. Highlights in Kruger were excellent sightings of Zebra, Greater Kudu, Giraffe, Impala, Nyala, Bushbuck, Steenbok, Elephants, 2 male Cheetahs hunting Zebra and Reedbuck, Vultures & Hyaenas on a fresh Buffalo carcass, Southern Ground Hornbills, Lions, 6 different Leopards, a variety of birdlife and 4 different Honey Badgers !!
Final stop on the trip was a 3 night stay at Mala Mala Private Game reserve. On our first game drive we photographed the Male cub of the Kikilezi female Leopard as well as the Kikilezi female herself. The female cub was also present so for now the two cubs are doing well. We then spent some time on our night drive with the Eyrefield Lion Pride.
Over the next two days we spent time with the Styx Lions as well as the Marthly Lions, the "Bike" male Leopard, an unknown Leopard cub, the Wilddog pack with their puppies and a wilddog kill. Elephant numbers were excellent in the Sand River and perhaps one of the main highlights was spending two sessions with a mating pair of Leopards, the "Tamboti" female and the "Tree House" male that were around the airstrip.
Many thanks to all the lodge staff that looked after us at each location and also to our rangers, Bertjan at Moholoholo, Stefan at Indlovu River Lodge, Garth & Thomas at Ngala and Fritz at Mala Mala. Thanks also to the Wild4 back up team who looked after us in the Kruger National Park.
Finally, thank you to the participants, Barbara, Peter and Jody, it was great travelling with Barbara for the 9th time ! and to have met Peter & Jody for the first time :), we certainly did share some great experiences and photographic opportunities.
Enjoy some of the photos below.
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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
I have enjoyed photographic safaris in Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa but I cannot express how GREAT the “BEST of BOTSWANA” trip was. The different areas on the delta all had amazing animals and diversity of climate from Moremi to the river environment of Khwai and then to the sand and dryness of Savuti. But the the time spent on the Chobe River was the best experience I have ever spent in Africa. Stu, Justyna you are the best! Thanks also to Letaka, Pangolin and our great guides. I would highly recommend this safari to everyone. It's a buffet of Africa you will never forget.
Denny Donohue, USA