WILD 4 PHOTO Pty Ltd

Wild4 African Photo Safaris

Specialist small group photo safaris to South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana and Namibia

African Photographic Safaris since 2003

PHOTO TRIP REPORT | Big Cats of the Masai Mara | Feb 2019

Posted by Wild4 Photo Safaris on 1st Jan 2020

We had stunning weather and fantastic sightings on this February "Big Cats of the Mara" African Photographic Safari to Kenya's Maasai Mara.

Not only did we have some great photo opportunties with all three of the big cats, Lion, Leopard and Cheetah, but we were also very proud to roll out our second photographically modified safari Land Cruiser on its very first safari.

Splitting our 10 night stay in the Mara allowed us to explore two very different areas and to be in different places early in the morning and late in the afternoon, where we were able to take advantage of some great sightings in the good light.

We really had some great luck with Giraffe at Sunrise and Sunset. Near Lookout we spent some time with a Black Rhino, the Spotted Hyaena densite was great, we photographed some great birds, Cape Buffalo, Elephant, Black Backed Jackals, Hippos, Impala, Topi, Thompson's Gazelle and Eland.

However our main aim of the trip was to focus on the Big Cats and some of the highlights with these amazing animals were multiple sightings of 3 different female Leopards. One female in particular was very active around the Rekero Crossing area and we watched her take advantage of a short rain shower as a distraction to try and sneak up on a herd of Impala, unfortunately for the Leopard, two Spotted Hyaenas tried the same tactic and spooked the Impala in the opposite direction !

The Lions were present again in good numbers. We got to see the famous male Lion - Scar, feeding on a Hippo carcass at the Mara River. He was limping badly but actually looked in pretty good health for such an old Lion. We saw a number of other Male Lions as well as a Lioness with two small cubs in the area of Topi Plains.

We were very lucky and priveledged to see four Cheetah chases, three of them involved the 5 strong male coalition. Their first chase ended in an Impala kill, but this was stolen from them by some opportunistic Lions. Their second was rather ambitions as one male Cheetah tried to take on a full grown male Topi, which as a group of 5 they are capable of pulling down, but his 4 other team mates were a bit slow to start the game on this occasion !! It was very interesting to see how the Cheetah ran right up to the side of the Topi and physically tried to bump it off balance - a technique I had not ever witnessed before. Their third chase just sent hundreds of animals fleeing in all directions with no end result. The fourth chase was by a female Cheetah who ran right through a group of Warthogs to pursue an easier target, a baby Impala who she did end up catching.

The Mara certainly lives up to all expectations as far as good and numerous Big Cat sightings are concerned and the general wildlife is always great too !

A big thanks goes to the staff at Mara Entim Camp and Mara Intrepids for looking after us so well and a very special thanks goes to our amazing guides, Mamai and Eliud, thank you for your patience, your help and your incredibly hard work, it was a great pleasure working with you both.

Thanks so much to Linda, Ulhas, John & Jenny for joining us as much appreciated previous clients - thank you for joining another WILD4 African Photographic Safari to Kenya's Maasai Mara !!

Please enjoy a selection of photos from the trip.

Best wishes 

Stu

Wild4 African Photographic Safaris, specially modified Photo Safari Land Cruiser, Maasai Mara, Kenya, Big Cats Photo Tour
Wild4 African Photographic Safaris, specially modified Photo Safari Land Cruiser, Maasai Mara, Kenya, Big Cats Photo Tour
Giraffe at Sunrise, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya
Giraffe at Sunrise, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya
Giraffe at Sunrise near Mara Intrepids Camp, Maasai Mara African Photographic Safari
Giraffe at Sunrise near Mara Intrepids Camp, Maasai Mara African Photographic Safari
Black Rhino near Lookout, Maasai Mara Kenya
Black Rhino near Lookout, Maasai Mara Kenya
Spotted Hyaena at densite, Maasai Mara Photo Tour, Kenya
Spotted Hyaena at densite, Maasai Mara Photo Tour, Kenya
Spotted Hyaena on the move, Kenya, Wild4 African Photographic Safari
Spotted Hyaena on the move, Kenya, Wild4 African Photographic Safari
Grey Backed Fiscal Shrike, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya
Grey Backed Fiscal Shrike, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya
Pied Kingfisher, Maasai Mara African Photographic Safari
Pied Kingfisher, Maasai Mara African Photographic Safari
Maasai Giraffe, Maasai Mara Kenya - WildlifePanorama
Maasai Giraffe, Maasai Mara Kenya - WildlifePanorama
Cape Buffalo, Maasai Mara Photo Tour, Kenya
Cape Buffalo, Maasai Mara Photo Tour, Kenya
Giraffe composite, Kenya, Wild4 African Photographic Safari
Giraffe composite, Kenya, Wild4 African Photographic Safari
Secretary Bird at Sunrise, Maasai Mara African Photographic Safari
Secretary Bird at Sunrise, Maasai Mara African Photographic Safari
Superb Starling take off, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya
Superb Starling take off, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya
Black Backed Jackals with kill, Maasai Mara African Photographic Safari
Black Backed Jackals with kill, Maasai Mara African Photographic Safari
Hippo yawning at the Mara River, Maasai Mara Kenya
Hippo yawning at the Mara River, Maasai Mara Kenya
Male Impala with stormy skies in the background, Maasai Mara Photo Tour, Kenya
Male Impala with stormy skies in the background, Maasai Mara Photo Tour, Kenya
Maasai Giraffe with stormy skies, Kenya, Wild4 African Photographic Safari, Wildlife Panorama
Maasai Giraffe with stormy skies, Kenya, Wild4 African Photographic Safari, Wildlife Panorama
Two Male Topi on Alert, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya
Two Male Topi on Alert, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya
Eland Antelope Composite, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya
Eland Antelope Composite, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya
A Tower of Giraffe feeding on a large Gardenia Tree, Maasai Mara African Photographic Safari
A Tower of Giraffe feeding on a large Gardenia Tree, Maasai Mara African Photographic Safari
Bee Eater tossing an insect, Maasai Mara Kenya
Bee Eater tossing an insect, Maasai Mara Kenya
Sunset near Entim Camp, Maasai Mara Photo Tour, Kenya
Sunset near Entim Camp, Maasai Mara Photo Tour, Kenya
Female Leopard on the move, Kenya, Wild4 African Photographic Safari
Female Leopard on the move, Kenya, Wild4 African Photographic Safari
Giraffe Composite, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya
Giraffe Composite, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya
Topi on termite mound, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya
Topi on termite mound, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya
Impala herd at Sunset, Maasai Mara African Photographic Safari, Wildlife Panorama
Impala herd at Sunset, Maasai Mara African Photographic Safari, Wildlife Panorama
Maasai Giraffe, Maasai Mara Kenya
Maasai Giraffe, Maasai Mara Kenya
Giraffe at Sunset, Maasai Mara Photo Tour, Kenya
Giraffe at Sunset, Maasai Mara Photo Tour, Kenya
Female Leopard drinking, Kenya, Wild4 African Photographic Safari
Female Leopard drinking, Kenya, Wild4 African Photographic Safari
Young male Cheetah, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya
Young male Cheetah, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya
Female Leopard, Maasai Mara African Photographic Safari
Female Leopard, Maasai Mara African Photographic Safari
Pregnant Spotted Hyaena, Maasai Mara African Photographic Safari
Pregnant Spotted Hyaena, Maasai Mara African Photographic Safari
Male Cheetah, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya
Male Cheetah, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya
Leopard stalking Impala, Maasai Mara African Photographic Safari
Leopard stalking Impala, Maasai Mara African Photographic Safari
Leopard trying to get closer to Impala herd, using the rain as a distraction, Maasai Mara Kenya
Leopard trying to get closer to Impala herd, using the rain as a distraction, Maasai Mara Kenya
Giraffe at Sunrise near the Ol Kiombo Airstrip, Maasai Mara Photo Tour, Kenya, Wildlife Panorama
Giraffe at Sunrise near the Ol Kiombo Airstrip, Maasai Mara Photo Tour, Kenya, Wildlife Panorama
The legendary Male Lion Scar, with an injured back right leg, Kenya, Wild4 African Photographic Safari
The legendary Male Lion Scar, with an injured back right leg, Kenya, Wild4 African Photographic Safari
Scar at the Hippo carcass at the Mara River, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya
Scar at the Hippo carcass at the Mara River, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya
Scar, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya
Scar, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya
Young Male Cheetah, Maasai Mara African Photographic Safari
Young Male Cheetah, Maasai Mara African Photographic Safari
Mating pair of Lions, Maasai Mara Kenya
Mating pair of Lions, Maasai Mara Kenya
Young female Leopard near Double Cross area, Maasai Mara Photo Tour, Kenya
Young female Leopard near Double Cross area, Maasai Mara Photo Tour, Kenya
Herd of Topi watching the 5 male Cheetahs, Kenya, Wild4 African Photographic Safari, Wildlife Panorama
Herd of Topi watching the 5 male Cheetahs, Kenya, Wild4 African Photographic Safari, Wildlife Panorama
Male Lion near Ol Kiombo Airstrip, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya
Male Lion near Ol Kiombo Airstrip, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya
An opportunistic Lioness charges towards the 5 male Cheetah and their Impala kill, Maasai Mara African Photographic Safari
An opportunistic Lioness charges towards the 5 male Cheetah and their Impala kill, Maasai Mara African Photographic Safari
The Cheetah reacting to the in coming Lioness, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya
The Cheetah reacting to the in coming Lioness, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya
The Lioness steals the Impala kill and runs off with it as other members of her pride follow, Maasai Mara African Photographic Safari
The Lioness steals the Impala kill and runs off with it as other members of her pride follow, Maasai Mara African Photographic Safari
Lions near the Mara River, Maasai Mara Kenya
Lions near the Mara River, Maasai Mara Kenya
Lioness, Maasai Mara Photo Tour, Kenya, Wildlife Panorama
Lioness, Maasai Mara Photo Tour, Kenya, Wildlife Panorama
Two of the male Cheetahs, Kenya, Wild4 African Photographic Safari
Two of the male Cheetahs, Kenya, Wild4 African Photographic Safari
Young Leopard, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya
Young Leopard, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya
5 Male Cheetah Coalition, Maasai Mara African Photographic Safari
5 Male Cheetah Coalition, Maasai Mara African Photographic Safari
The 5 male Cheetahs in the Mara, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya
The 5 male Cheetahs in the Mara, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya
Female Leopard hiding close to the Impala, Maasai Mara African Photographic Safari
Female Leopard hiding close to the Impala, Maasai Mara African Photographic Safari
Leopard on the move, Maasai Mara Kenya
Leopard on the move, Maasai Mara Kenya
Young female Leopard in the early morning hiding out in some rocks, Maasai Mara Photo Tour, Kenya
Young female Leopard in the early morning hiding out in some rocks, Maasai Mara Photo Tour, Kenya
Young Leopard on the move in the afternoon, Kenya, Wild4 African Photographic Safari
Young Leopard on the move in the afternoon, Kenya, Wild4 African Photographic Safari
Leopard, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya
Leopard, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya
Lioness with the small cubs near Topi Plains, Maasai Mara African Photographic Safari
Lioness with the small cubs near Topi Plains, Maasai Mara African Photographic Safari
Male Lion near Topi Plains, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya
Male Lion near Topi Plains, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya
Lioness with cubs, Maasai Mara African Photographic Safari
Lioness with cubs, Maasai Mara African Photographic Safari
Leopard crossing a rocky river, Maasai Mara Kenya
Leopard crossing a rocky river, Maasai Mara Kenya
Lioness on a Termite mound, Maasai Mara Photo Tour, Kenya, Wildlife Panorama
Lioness on a Termite mound, Maasai Mara Photo Tour, Kenya, Wildlife Panorama
one of the male Cheetah running toward prey, Kenya, Wild4 African Photographic Safari
one of the male Cheetah running toward prey, Kenya, Wild4 African Photographic Safari
Male Cheetah and vehicles, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya, Wildlife Panorama
Male Cheetah and vehicles, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya, Wildlife Panorama
The female Cheetah that ran through the middle of a group of Warthogs to catch a baby Impala, Maasai Mara African Photographic Safari
The female Cheetah that ran through the middle of a group of Warthogs to catch a baby Impala, Maasai Mara African Photographic Safari
Three out of four Thompsons Gazelle watching the approaching Cheetah, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya, Wildlife Panorama
Three out of four Thompsons Gazelle watching the approaching Cheetah, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya, Wildlife Panorama
An Impala running early from the approaching Cheetah, Maasai Mara African Photographic Safari
An Impala running early from the approaching Cheetah, Maasai Mara African Photographic Safari
The chase begins !, Maasai Mara Kenya
The chase begins !, Maasai Mara Kenya
The Cheetah getting up along side the Topi - both were at full speed, Maasai Mara Photo Tour, Kenya
The Cheetah getting up along side the Topi - both were at full speed, Maasai Mara Photo Tour, Kenya
The moment when the Cheetah tried to bump the Topi off balance, Kenya, Wild4 African Photographic Safari
The moment when the Cheetah tried to bump the Topi off balance, Kenya, Wild4 African Photographic Safari
Another attempt at the "bump" technique, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya
Another attempt at the "bump" technique, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya
Still on his own with no backup - the male Cheetah tries to wrestle with the Topi, Maasai Mara African Photographic Safari
Still on his own with no backup - the male Cheetah tries to wrestle with the Topi, Maasai Mara African Photographic Safari
Backup has arrived ! but not enough, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya
Backup has arrived ! but not enough, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya
The Topi still at full speed - slowly pulling away from the Cheetahs, Maasai Mara African Photographic Safari
The Topi still at full speed - slowly pulling away from the Cheetahs, Maasai Mara African Photographic Safari
The Topi makes it into a bigger herd of general game animals, Maasai Mara Kenya
The Topi makes it into a bigger herd of general game animals, Maasai Mara Kenya
Zebra and Topi running from the same Cheetahs, Maasai Mara Photo Tour, Kenya
Zebra and Topi running from the same Cheetahs, Maasai Mara Photo Tour, Kenya
The 5 "boys" in the late afternoon, still empty handed, Kenya, Wild4 African Photographic Safari
The 5 "boys" in the late afternoon, still empty handed, Kenya, Wild4 African Photographic Safari
Sunset Composite, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya
Sunset Composite, Maasai Mara Photo Safari, Kenya

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7 Comments

  • Excellent photos
    I had a good time on the trip
    Both guides were excellent

    Ulhas Mayekar - February 26th, 2019 at 2:28pm

  • Loved the images - if I get one even half as good I will be happy next year.  Particularly tickled by the stalking leopard that had even the ears down flat.  Please keep them coming.

    stellabain45@gmail.com - February 28th, 2019 at 7:04pm

  • Brilliant photos as always, Stu. I hope you will put out a book series one of these days…

    Best,

    Andrew

    Andrew Oliver - February 28th, 2019 at 7:42pm

  • These are just stunning Stu, what a brilliant collection, - I remember the 5 cheetahs well, you are a wonderful photographer Stu, I really like your pics, you seem to get to the heart of the matter and don’t miss the essence.  You are now so familiar with your equipment that it shows in the fluidity of your work.  Great composition, great shots, wish I could afford to join you more often!

    Silva - February 28th, 2019 at 9:41pm

  • Magical photographs Stu, great that your customised fleet is expanding.
    All the best
    Alan and Linda

    Alan Wilson - March 01st, 2019 at 11:56pm

  • Jaw dropping pictures

    Jonathan kaelo - March 02nd, 2019 at 6:11pm

  • Amazing shots!

    Alind Srivastava - April 01st, 2019 at 9:21pm

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Testimonials The Wild 4 team made my trip to South Africa a truly memorable experience. Photographing some of the orphaned captive animals at the private game reserve on the extension was a great way to start the holiday, and Stu's tuition on techniques, composition and familiarity with your gear was the foundation for the rest of the trip.  In Kruger we had some wonderful sightings - including the 'Big 5' all in one day on two consecutive days! The highlights were spending 20 minutes with a leopard cub in a tree no more than 30 metres away, and on the last day watching a pride of 14 lions stalking a herd of zebra for more than an hour - just wonderful experiences! I'm sure the quality of the shots I took was infinitely better than if I'd gone on a regular safari, as the whole focus of the experience is expertly designed to maximise photographic opportunities - including only 3 photographers in the specially designed vehicle.  Stu's knowledge, enthusiasm and patience were boundless, and Ann's spotting and catering skills were also priceless! I hope to visit Africa again soon, and without doubt Wild 4 will be my first option.

Greg Morgan, UK

Testimonials 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