SAMBURU, LAKE NAKURU & MIGRATION photo safari KENYA - August 2015
Posted by Wild4 Photo Safaris on 22nd Aug 2015
This safari to Kenya offers the best diversity of all our photo safaris. Not only are there diverse species at all three locations visited, there are also very different landscapes and habitats to explore.
Our first stop was Samburu Reserve north of Nairobi. We spent 4 nights at this location and went in search of the unusuall species that are found here. We managed to observe and photograph all of the “specials” that Samburu has to offer, these included the Beisa Oryx, Reticulated Giraffe, Gerenuk, Grevy's Zebra and the beautifully marked Vulturine Guinea fowl. Dik Dik, Elephant, Somali Ostrich, Leopard and Cheetah were also seen and photographed.
The Ewaso Nyiro River that flows through the reserve was lower than usual and this meant that the animals were frequently crossing the river. We saw Zebra, Elephant and Giraffe all crossing and the Lions evaded us this time by crossing the river at night to the Buffalo Springs side.
We enjoyed watching a real story unfold in front of us after a Cheetah had caught and eaten an Impala. Once she left the kill, the scavengers made their way in. This included Black Backed Jackals and no less than 5 different Vulture species, together with Bateleur and Tawny Eagles.
Our next stop on the tour was a two night stay at Lake Nakuru. This year revealed that the high water level in the Lake was a bit lower than last year, but a number of the roads are still under water. Despite this we got to spend most of our time with a good sized flock of Flamingos and Pelicans. Cape Buffalo, Black and White Rhino and the Rothschild Giraffe were also seen and photographed.
We continued on to our final 8 nights in the masai Mara, first staying at Ashnil Camp close to the main crossing points below lookout hill. Despite the migration being very late to arrive this year, there was still a lot going on in the Mara. The traditional areas where one would expect to see the mega herds were totally devoid of Wildebeest, but instead were covered with Zebra. We decided to go in search of the mega herds and found them to be close to the Sand River in the east of the reserve. We spent two days in this area and were rewarded with great sightings of the mega herds as they crossed the Sand River and we saw a number of members of the Sand River Lion Pride who entertained us with a number of unsuccessful hunts. We also photographed a rare Black Rhino as it moved through the herds.
We still spent a lot of time around Lookout Hill as here we found a large number of Lions including a total of 4 large Males. One morning the Lions were on a Thompsons Gazelle Kill, another afternoon they attacked and badly injured a Baboon.
We also managed to spend a few photo sessions with the local female Cheetah known as Malaika. We photographed Malaika and her 5 cubs in September last year, when we found her this year she had only 4 cubs, all doing well. Seeing 5 cheetahs at the same time is a real treat and we watched Malaika run in on a herd of Wildebeest.
We also spotted a second female Cheetah whom we thought was heavily pregnant. Despite this she managed to chase and catch a Scrub Hare. After finishing her meal and having a drink of water, she walked a long distance back to a drainage line where we assumed she might have her cubs.
Our second location was Mara Bush Camp where we spent our final 4 nights. This area of the Mara was again rather empty of the mega herds, but we spent a good deal of time with a local Leopard who caught a young Wildebeest and dragged it for nearly 300m to a good hiding place before going to fetch her two cubs and then brought them back to the kill.
We found a number of Lions on the Paradise Plains which we followed hoping they would make a kill.
On one of the afternoons James, our guide, spotted a build up of vehicles at the Mara River's “Main Crossing” point. On closer inspection we found they were waiting for a number of Zebra to cross the River. After a relatively short wait the Zebra decided to cross despite a huge number of Crocodile waiting right in front of them. Needless to say a number of Zebras were caught by the hungry crocodiles bring home the ferocity and raw power of these massive reptiles.
It is always exciting to watch a river crossing and although it was not the traditional huge numbers of wildebeest, this group of nearly 2000 zebras burned up the memory cards in our cameras and gave us all a clear idea of what the Great Migration and the dramatic River Crossing is all about.
I would really like to thank our guides, James and Julius for looking after us so well and for being so patient with us and all our photographic requests.
Thanks also to all the lodge staff at the different locations that looked after us so well, especially the warm and friendly staff at the Mara Bush Camp - thanks again for a great stay.
Thank you David, Bernice, Graham and Rita for joining us on another WILD4 photo safari, it was a great pleasure to have hosted all of you in Kenya and we look forward to the next safari with you.
Here are a few photos from the safari - enjoy !
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I could not imagine a more competent and friendly company to take us on a photo safari of Kruger. This was my first visit to Africa, but I never had to worry about anything while on the Wild4 Photo safari. Everything was well planned, including the lodging, meals and “drives” into the game park. Your safari vehicle had lots of room to spread out and it was easy to get photos from both sides. The elevation of the pickup bed is well above ground, so you have the feeling of security and also a good vantage point and angle to shoot photos. I had hundreds of photo opportunities, even with my limited zoom lens and other small cameras. Our guide, Kosie was extremely knowledgeable on the wildlife, birds, trees and even had handy info on his ipad. We certainly had all the “big 5”, the “ugly 7” and other categories in the bag after just a few days. We enjoyed seeing several camps and met many fine, helpful people along the way. By the way, the African coffee is excellent, and we took many enjoyable “coffee breaks” during our 10-days in the Kruger. If you want to see the animals…WILD4 Photo Safaris will definitely make that dream come true. Thanks to all. Dave Truax
Dave Truax, USA
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