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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For thirty-five years I had dreamed of going on a photographic safari in South Africa. This year I finally realized that dream and it is fair to say that my hopes and expectations were surpassed in every way. I had done extensive research on African photographic safaris on the Internet before settling on Wild 4 photo safaris. What an inspired choice that turned out to be! This family company run by Stu Porter and his wife, Justyna, and aided by Stu’s parents, John and Ann, provides the perfect safari experience for photographers of every skill level. Stu is one South Africa’s finest wild-life photographers and a first-class teacher into the bargain. His knowledge of the habitat and habits of the animals and birds to be found in Kruger National Park is simply encyclopaedic. I was accompanied on the trip by my 25 year-old daughter, Amy, and we eagerly adapted to the early morning wake-up call to go off into the wilds in one of Stu’s specially fitted jeeps to photograph animals at sunrise. Every day brought its special moments whether the spectacle of lions mating just a few metres from the jeep, or leopards lying lazily in the grass digesting a meal, or elephants and hippos frolicking in a river. The days sped by and we returned home with thousands of photographs of birds and animals to sort through and cherish for the memories they bring back. A safari with Wild 4 is more than a photographic experience with a master photographer: it is an initiation into the wonders of South Africa – its wild-life and spectacular landscapes - and, above all, an experience of friendship as everyone aboard the jeep bond in common purpose. Everything about Wild 4 is first class: organization is superb, accommodations excellent, choices of locale perfect. Our safari with Stu and Wild4 was truly the experience of a life-time.
Andrew Oliver, CANADA
Bastian and I enjoyed the Migration photo safari very much. We realize that we have been very fortunate to see so many crossings and animals in such a short period of time. The safari was well organized, all accomondations were first class and the food certainly a nice surprise. One could not have expected such good food in the wilderness! James and Julius took good care of us and were one reason that we saw so much different and exciting wildlife. You picked a great support team for this safari! Bastian and I learned a lot of new photo techniques from you, which we will use in the future to improve our photographic results. Bastian for sure got hooked on time lapse, I'm sure he will be back in touch with you, sharing some of the work I expect he will create soon. Thanks to you and all your preparation, your guidance and support, this was a once in a life time experience. We will never forget these fantastic sights and animals and our photographs will always remind us of you and the great time we spent together. Now we have the difficult task to sort through thousands of images. One day it will be done and I hope my DVD will do justice reflecting the beauty of Masai Mara. Not an easy task but a welcomed challenge.
Bastian & Matthias Freund, USA