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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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
We just got back from our first trip to Kenya, our third trip with the Wild 4 Team. We would not consider doing an African photo safari with anyone else. As usual, Justyna did a great job with the bookings and paperwork. Stu and our drivers (James, Julius and Mamai) did a fantastic job on game sightings and positioning our trucks for the best possible photo opportunities. Members of our safari got to see and photograph animals from Aardwolf to Zebra. It was truly a trip of a lifetime. Time to start planning our 4th safari with the the Wild 4 Team!
Michael & Toni Anderson, USA