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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Shopping for a travel adventure on the Web is somewhat risky, but when I wanted to go on an African photo safari, I really had no choice. I looked around and finally picked Wild4 Photographic Safaris for one reason: the vehicle. It was obvious that this was an outfit that understood photographic details and the needs of serious wildlife photographers. With a capacity for 10 passengers, the vehicle takes just three photographers. The three photographers' benches feature platforms to steady big lenses on both sides of the vehicle, and loads of storage space and pockets for lenses, bodies, accessories, binoculars, field guides, water, etc. I can not imagine a better platform for photography in the bush veldt. What is not as obvious in the on-line description is that the vehicle comes equipped with Stu Porter, the Wild4 owner and guide. Stu, who bears a striking resemblance to movie actor Matt Damon, is a deceptively shy young man with an encyclopaedic knowledge of Kruger National Park, its animals, geography, geology, climate, seasons, and, of course, rules. He also has the eyes of an eagle and is the best leopard spotter in South Africa. Stu's knowledge and patience are seemingly infinite, and he somehow manages to be aware both of his passengers' needs and everything around us. He does everything humanly possible to give you the opportunity to get the best shot. And if you need more than just the opportunity, he can instruct even the most seasoned photographer on technique. Stu grew up next to Kruger National Park, and his mother (who does the meal preparation for the safari) started taking him there as soon as he was old enough. He has been accumulating his knowledge of the park and its animals all his life, and that comes in very handy when you need to know something about animal behavior. In short, Wild4 Photographic Safaris is all about the vehicle, with spacious seats, shooting platforms and Stu Porter as standard equipment. You can't do better. Thank you, Stu!
George Cathcart, USA
This was my first trip to Africa after a lot of research. Although I spent over 30 days in Africa, my Botswana component was among the most productive and is my favorite country visited. I must say Stu and Justyna's planning and direction for our entire trip is unparalleled and can't thank them enough. Our guides were incredible and the crew that helped us were indispensable. The food during our trip was the best for all of the places visited including South Africa. I still don't know how Pula managed to make his wonderful cuisine with so little resources! Our camp crew, Philemon and Ghoms were delightful and truly made me feel cared for and welcome. I have learned much from Stu and only wish I could have had more time learning from him in the field. Stu made our trip fun by pairing us with Mark, a like minded gentleman who was a joy to photograph with and talented. The entire experience was amazing with many high quality photo opportunities and think I have captured some magical moments and truly feel enriched by the experience. Thank you so much Stu, Justyna and all involved and I will try to one day do another marvelous adventure with Wild4 African Photographic Safaris !.
Georges McNeil, USA