LIONS and LEOPARDS of KRUGER photo safari trip report - July 2016
Posted by Wild4 Photo Safaris on 31st Jul 2016
Here are the trip report photos from the Lions & Leopards of Kruger Photo Safari as well as some images from the African Reptile workshop and Photo Hides at Indlovu River Lodge. Altogether we visited 5 different locations on this photo safari which offers the best variety that the Kruger area can offer.
The trip started off with the Vulture photo shoot at Moholoholo and a good number of birds responded despite all the food that is currently available for them in the Kruger National Park as a result of the drought that the park has been experiencing. 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.
Ngala Private Reserve was next on the itinerary for a 3 night stay and highlights were seeing the Wilddog Den and the 11 puppies, two different Leopards, two Honey Badgers and three Lions trailing behind a herd of Buffalo.
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 finding 4 Cheetahs, a Lioness with a freshly killed Wildebeest, a pride of Lions on a Buffalo Kill, a large Male Lion walking in the main road near Lower Sabie, 3 distant leopards and lots of good bird life especially near Lower Sabie.
Final stop on the trip was a 3 night stay at Mala Mala Private Game reserve. On our first game drive we photographed a Pangolin, expertly spotted by our ranger, Roan !, it just got better and better from there on, we spent many hours over the next few days with the Kikelezi female leopard and her two cubs. We also had two sightings of the two Matshipiri Male Lions, as well as an exciting interaction between the Bicycle Crossing Male leopard, a second unknown male Leopard and two Spotted Hyaenas who all wanted a piece of a warthog kill.
We also visited the Hyaena den site and photographed the young cubs.
We spent our final morning with the Leopard cubs and were surprised to see another leopard arrive, the mother of the cubs immediately climbed into the tree to protect her Impala kill, and the young male cub ventured out to investigate the newly arrived Leopard who snarled at it as it approached. However the Leopard turned out to be the older daughter from the same mother who had become independant about a year ago (their step sister).
There was no serious aggression shown but they did keep their distance from each other.
Many thanks to all the lodge staff that looked after us at each location and also to our rangers, Yuko at Moholoholo, Stefan at Indlovu River Lodge, Bernhard & Thomas at Ngala and Roan 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, Marc, Sue and Rita, it was great travelling with you all and sharing many special experiences and photographic opportunities with you.
Enjoy the photos
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When two photo trips organised by my tour operator were cancelled. I looked around and found Wild4. Justyna was extremely helpful in putting together a tailor made tour just for me. I opted for 8 nights Kruger, 2 nights Big Cats & the Reptile extension. Some emails later and all was booked and paid for. I tend to shy away from flash but as we were doing a night shoot at the Big Cat Reserve, I quickly learned a great new technique and the photographs turned out wonderful. In short, Wild4 Photographic Safaris is the one you want to book with to get the best opportunities. This is not the last time I will make use of their services. Thank you Justyna & Stu for a wonderful time.
Rob Pelle, NETHERLANDS
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