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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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
Dear WILD4 Team, thanks a lot for making our anniversary holiday so special. The sightings were superb and your company was very enjoyable. We cannot wait for the next trip to arrive. All the best. Graham & Caroline
Graham & Caroline, UK