LIONS and LEOPARDS of KRUGER photo safari trip report - July 2019
Posted by Wild4 Photo Safaris on 12th Jan 2020
The first of our 2019 Lions & Leopards of Kruger photo safaris was spent at Jock Safari Lodge, Kruger National Park and Mala Mala.
Jock safari lodge proved a great place for Black & White Rhino, Lion and Leopard and the beautiful Biyamiti River was our playground for the first 3 nights of our safari. The location of the camp right on the river is really beautiful and as usual, we were well looked after by the lodge staff and our fantastic head ranger, Laz !!
After 3 great nights at Jock Safari Lodge, we headed towards Satara Camp, located in central Kruger. Here we spent full days out in the park. We also enjoyed sitting and waiting for the wildlife to come to us at Nkaya Pan and Shimangwaneni Dam. Both full days were very productive and we spent time photographing Giraffe, Elephant, Zebra and were treated to a late afternoon sighting of a pack of endangered African Wild dogs.
Our next stop inside the Kruger National Park was a Lower Sabie Camp. This is always a very productive area, and again we spent many hours at the waterholes, particularly Clyde's Pan and the famous Sunset Dam, located right outside the camp. Being so close to camp allows you to get to this dam for the sunrise and also stay right until sunset. We were treated to a very rare sighting (in the Kruger) of an African Skimmer, which proceeded to chase a Grey Heron. The usual groups of Hippos, Crocodiles and many water birds were all photographed here.
Our final 3 nights were spent at Mala Mala. Our first drive took us down to the beautiful Sand River where we found the Kambula Lionesses resting in the shade of the reeds. One Gowrie Male Lion was with them too. This was a great start to our stay. Over the next two days, we saw and photographed some beautiful Leopards and the highlight was watching the new cubs of one of the Lionesses being introduced to the pride.
Many thanks to all the lodge staff that looked after us at each location and also to our guides and rangers, Lazarus at Jock Safari Lodge and Cam 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, David, Francoise and Helen, it was really great to meet you Helen and to have David & Francoise back on another trip with us. Thank you all for joining this Lions & Leopards of Kruger photo safari.
Please enjoy some of the photos below.
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On arrival we were treated as part of the family by Stu Porter, his wife Justyna, and parents John and Ann. The conditions for finding and photographing everything from small birds to large game was perfect – a 500mm lens on hire from Stu, a specially equipped vehicle, which was referred to as a hide on wheels ( with only 3 photographers) , a dedicated and professional approach to photography and plenty of time. We would set off at sunrise, find a group of lions as they were beginning to yawn and stir from sleep, or a pair of saddle-billed storks building a nest, and quietly move our cameras into position. The initial sighting was accompanied by the rapid firing of shutters, but then we would wait as long as necessary in the hope of getting further shots. Stu was very sensitive to our needs and would only make suggestions about the best camera settings if he thought we needed his advice. His awareness of how animals behave was very useful in planning our shots. Stu’s knowledge of African Wildlife and skill as a wildlife photographer is second to none, and I have learned a lot from his expertise. I am delighted with my photos !! This was the trip of a lifetime, good accommodation, delicious food and great company. It was altogether a wonderful, challenging and thrilling experience and, if you are looking for a photo safari in Africa, I too recommend you contact Stu Porter at Wild4.
David Austwick, UK
My 3rd trip with Wild 4 was one to remember (well, they all are !!). The wildlife in Tanzania put on a show for us from dawn till dusk. Cheetah's, lion prides, leopards, the birth of a gazelle and zebra. Migrating herds of wildebeest and zebra's - this trip had it all !, Superb locations, great accommodation, amazing food and unique scenery. I'll definitely be going back with Wild 4 ! What sets Wild 4 apart is their attention to detail to support photographers and videographers. Small groups, very well selected locations, high quality camps/lodges and well trained guides makes for a very well organised and intimate photographic safari experience. They provide not just a beanbag, but a beanbag 'system' for each photographer !. They provide panning plates, a unique custom designed photo/video support system for their vehicles in South Africa that includes support for Wimberley heads for large lenses and other features designed by an experienced wildlife photographer. The Wild 4 team understand the needs of photographers on safari, I can't recommend them highly enough for your African wildlife photographic experience.
Murray Richards, Australia