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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This was truly a fantastic safari. The camping experience gave us the feel of being closer to nature as opposed to being in a lodge without really roughing it and the camp food was superior to the lodge buffets. The photographic opportunities were great throughout the safari and our time on the Chobe River was exceptional. As a veteran of 13 safaris to other locations in Africa I can say this was fantastic.
Don Getty www.dongettywildlifephotography.com, USA
We couldn’t have enjoyed our trip with Wild 4 more. We were made to feel extremely welcome right from our very first e-mail contact, something which continued throughout our trip and beyond. We’d like to thank Stu, Justyna, Ann, & John for being such wonderful and enthusiastic hosts. Being looked after by such a friendly and caring family was a delight and we were very reluctant to leave after two weeks. Stu is a very knowledgeable, hard-working and helpful guide, always on hand with useful pointers and offering us plenty of encouragement to experiment with our photography. Having a whole row each of a specially adapted safari vehicle was a real find, ensuring we didn’t miss out on any of the action. Being able to stay out in the bush all day was also a real bonus. While many other vehicles drove off after only a few minutes, we were able to spend hours observing groups of lions and other wildlife. As this was our first African safari, Stu suggested we spend the first few nights at the Big Cats reserve and this proved to be a magical experience, with some great close-up action that resulted in some beautiful shots. It is a great place to hone your existing skills & learn some new ones. Given the opportunity we would go again tomorrow without any hesitation. Simply perfect!
Arnoud & Lynsey Van Foreest, NETHERLANDS