TANZANIA and ELEPHANTS of AMBOSELI photo safari - February / March 2015
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 was fortunate to be on Wild4's "Best of Botswana" trip in May 2014. It could well be the Best of Africa. This trip featured two expert guides (Stu Porter himself and Nkosi from Letaka Safaris) and the abundant wildlife of four different Botswanan hot spots, with relatively few other vehicles around. Those features alone are worth the price of admission, particularly since they include Stu's vehicle modifications that ensure the best possible photographic experience. But if that isn't enough, we spent the first ten nights in expedition style mobile camps, roughing it with bucket showers and drop toilets, and listening to the leopards, elephants and hyenas wandering in and around the camps at night. But don't worry about the "roughing it" part. The expert staff prepares perfect meals, including fresh baked breads and cakes, and ensures that the camp is safe and clean. We finished the 12-night trip in a luxury lodge on the Chobe River, where we photographed from a boat customised to accommodate serious photographers (i.e. people with lenses bigger than their legs) and a waterway full of hippos and elephants and lined with Africa's most iconic birds. If you can only go once to Africa, go to Botswana with Wild4 Photographic Safaris. They will take care of every detail of your safari to ensure that everything is just right. If you are an old Africa veteran, ditto. You just can't go wrong with Wild4.
George Cathcart, USA
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