Posted by Wild4 Photo Safaris on 16th Mar 2015
This years photo safari was full of surprises and fantastic photo opportunities. Amboseli in Kenya is one of the most amazing places to photograph Elephants. The amazing variety of different situations that are on offer in Amboseli is second to none. Not only did we have wonderful views of Mount Kilimanjaro, we also found the Elephants in many other different photogenic situations. In the marsh, in the early morning mist, dust bathing and walking in single file over the open savanna.. this was a wonderful way to start the safari.
Our next stop was Arusha after crossing through the Namanga Border post where we had an overnight stay before we headed off to the Serengeti. The expected "rainy season" was nowhere to be seen ! Instead we found the mega herds with their new born calves roaming around the central Serengeti where they were forced to gather along the nearly dry Seronera River. The predators in Seronera were taking real advantage of this influx of food at a time when they normally have to rely on a small number of resident animals. As a result we had many opportunities with the migration herds and with the predators. Our highlights in the Serengeti were Lions at Simba Kopjes, a female Leopard with a kill in a Sausage Tree close to our camp, three male Lions and one female near Maasai Kopjes, an exciting but unsuccessful Lion hunt, a Spotted Hyaena bringing down an adult Wildebeest on its own, a large Male Leopard with his wildebeest Kill in a tree near Lake Magadi, a Serval and two young Lions playing with a monitor lizard.
Our next stop was Ndutu where we had expected to find the large migration herds feeding on the short grass plains. Instead we found dust - a lot of it !! and plenty of predators. At the end of our stay at Ndutu we had a cheetah count of 23 different individuals, one Leopard and 14 Lions. Highlights were watching the birth of a Grant's Gazelle, magnificent sunrises and sunsets, a female Cheetah with two youngsters that let us be part of a hunting training session - the unfortunate victim was a young Grant's Gazelle. A female Cheetah with three very small cubs, a Cheetah that climbed on top of a vehicle next to us, a magnificent Leopard with a kill in a tree, amazing action at Hidden Valley where 1000's of zebra and wildebeest came to drink, two beautiful Male Lions in the Big Marsh, a male Cheetah up a tree and two cheetah chases which were amazing to watch but which were unsuccessful.
This was one of the most photo productive 6 days I have ever had on any photo safari.. we did have to endure the worst dust conditions I have ever experieinced, but we all agreed it was well worth it.
Our final stop on the safari was the Ngorongoro Crater and we entered the Seneto gate for our afternoon drive through the Crater to our overnight stay at Sopa Lodge on the rim of the Crater. On our afternoon drive we encountered a large pride of Lions and decided to head there first thing in the morning.. this proved to be a good decision. We approached the area we had last seen the lions and were greeted by the entire pride as they walked down the road towards us. In total there were 23 Lions in this pride and we had some great opportunities with them in the perfect morning light.
The remainder of the day was also very eventful with the birth of a Zebra, magnificent Male Elephants, Cape Buffalo and our first rain storm of the entire trip !
Our fantastic safari ended back at Kilimanjaro airport.
Many thanks to our excellent guides on the safari, James in Amboseli and Jeremiah and Arnold in Tanzania, we greatly appreciated your hard work and long hours behind the wheel to make the safari the great success it was.
Thanks to all the staff at the lodges and camps we stayed at and especially to the staff at Ndutu Lodge, a real gem and THE place to stay in Ndutu !
Thank you Sunworld and 4x4 for another very successful photo safari.
Finally I would like to thank John, Lorraine, Murray, Rita and Ed for joining this photo safari and making it more than just a photographic success. I was a great pleasure to have had you all on the trip and to have shared the many special experiences with such nice people.
Here are some photos from the safari
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I wanted to write this while the trip is still fresh in my mind. This was my first trip to Africa and I did as much online research into photo specific safaris as I could. I was not disappointed with choosing Wild 4. Throughout the trip Stu answered the countless questions as if there wasn't a stupid one in the bunch (and there were many) his knowledge of the wildlife is nothing short of amazing, I can't think of a single bird, mammal or reptile that he couldn't identify and give us some background on. Not to mention his uncanny ability to spot wildlife while moving. Our rangers and accommodations in Ngala and Mala Mala were first rate. While in the Kruger proper, John and Anne took exceptional care us. I would not hesitate to book another trip with Stu. Patrick
Patrick Flora, USA
Our trip was awesome....made so, in large part, by WILD4. The wildlife at Kruger was terrific. But, it was your teamwork in the field, your uncanny ability to spot wildlife and your willingness to accommodate our EVERY need that made the trip a resounding success. Stu...you are an extremely knowledgeable guide and a superb photographer. You even taught this old dog some new tricks. Justyna...you made a huge contribution to this trip, with your role as super admin guru and Ann, your wonderful meals were a pleasure to enjoy every evening. We could not have asked for a more talented, thoughtful and gracious group of folks to spend our vacation in South Africa with. We wish you the very best success in your endeavor. Please let us know how we can help to market Wild4 to folks who share our love for wildlife and photography.
Rob & Annarie Schallenberger, USA