TANZANIA and ELEPHANTS of AMBOSELI photo safari - February / March 2017
Posted by Wild4 Photo Safaris on 21st Mar 2017
This years photo safari to Amboseli in Kenya and the Serengeti, Ndutu and the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania has just ended.
These locations always provide a multitude of photo opportunities and great experiences. An image of snow capped Kilimanjaro with Elephants in the foreground is a classic and iconic photo, sadly, for the first time on our trips to Amboseli, Kilimanjaro was shrouded in a cloudy haze for our entire stay and we were unable to achieve this photo. However the other opportunties we had more than made up for this and on our first game drive, a Lioness chased and caught a baby Wildebeest, only to have it stolen by a male Lion. We had a number of large elephant herds walking in their typical long procession in rank order, this is a sight to see and Amboseli is perhaps the best place in Africa to see this. We also spent a whole morning at the Spotted Hyaena den which proved to be very entertaining as a number of Hyaena were present all trying to get their share of a Zebra carcass.
After our border crossing into Tanzania, we enjoyed a rest at the African Tulip in Arusha.
The following morning we headed straight for the Serengeti. Last year we had Lions in trees (and lots of them) this year the Serengeti offered us Lions on Kopjes and lots and lots of rain !!
Some highlights were finding Lions on the Research Kopjes, 3 different Leopards, one of which was a mother with a small cub who also dragged a large male Reedbuck past all of us in the pouring rain, then she tried to get it up a tree, only to have her prize stolen from her by Hyaenas !! A photo highlight was getting images of two of the big cats in the rain. It is tricky to accomplish such a shot, especially when expensive camera equipment is involved, but just sometimes the angle of the rain allows you too shoot out the window, and we got some great shots of a Male Lion and the Leopard with her kill, in the rain.
Next stop was Ndutu, always a favourite for everyone as off road driving is permitted and this allows one to get closer to the wildlife. The rain also decided to follow us to Ndutu and we experienced what I think was the hardest rain storm I have ever endured, the ground we were parked on turned into a shallow lake within 15 minutes !! I have never seen anything like it ! Photographically we were successful in this torrential down pour as we managed to add the 3rd Big Cat to our list of "Big Cats Photographed in the rain" - we had been following a Cheetah with 4 cubs the whole day, and after two unsuccessful hunts, it was actually one of the cubs that flushed a young Grant's Gazelle from its hiding place in the grass. Shortly after catching their prey, the rain began.
Another huge highlight this year in Ndutu was getting to see and photograph a beautiful female Lioness from the Marsh pride with her three small 5 week old cubs. She had them hidden in a small vegetated island just at the edge of the woodland. I have never known a female to be so relaxed around vehicles with such small cubs and it was a real treat to be able to get some photos of them interacting with each other.
Our final destination was the Ngorongoro Crater. No Black Rhino this year, but we had three beautiful male Lions and the pride numbering around 13, excellent Hippo interactions at the Hippo Pools, big herds of African Buffalo and great scenics of this very special Crater.
A huge thanks goes out to our very hard working Guides, Wilson, Francis & Arnold, we really appreciate all the long hours you put in and how patient you are with us photographers. Your interpretation of behaviour and where to park for great angles are exceptional.
A huge thank you must also go to the hard working staff at all the Camps and lodges we stayed at.
Many thanks to Dick & Mary, Rita and Sharon, it was fantastic to share such special moments with such enthusiastic and appreciative people !
If you are interested in joining us on the 2018 departure then please let us know as we only have 4 spaces left.
Enjoy some images from the photo safari.
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On arrival we were treated as part of the family by Stu Porter, his wife Justyna, and parents John and Ann. The conditions for finding and photographing everything from small birds to large game was perfect – a 500mm lens on hire from Stu, a specially equipped vehicle, which was referred to as a hide on wheels ( with only 3 photographers) , a dedicated and professional approach to photography and plenty of time. We would set off at sunrise, find a group of lions as they were beginning to yawn and stir from sleep, or a pair of saddle-billed storks building a nest, and quietly move our cameras into position. The initial sighting was accompanied by the rapid firing of shutters, but then we would wait as long as necessary in the hope of getting further shots. Stu was very sensitive to our needs and would only make suggestions about the best camera settings if he thought we needed his advice. His awareness of how animals behave was very useful in planning our shots. Stu’s knowledge of African Wildlife and skill as a wildlife photographer is second to none, and I have learned a lot from his expertise. I am delighted with my photos !! This was the trip of a lifetime, good accommodation, delicious food and great company. It was altogether a wonderful, challenging and thrilling experience and, if you are looking for a photo safari in Africa, I too recommend you contact Stu Porter at Wild4.
David Austwick, UK
Stu, Thank you for another wonderful safari. We were blown away by the sightings that we had. From the Lion kill to the tiny Lion Cubs, it was one great experience after another. The bird opportunities were also outstanding. I'm still sorting though the 1000's of images that we brought home. Also, thank you Justyna for setting up our 2 week private Kruger safari with Stefan. We spent over a month in Africa shooting every day except for a couple of travel days. It was our trip of a lifetime. The accommodations, food, and itinerary were as good as it gets. We can't wait to do another one!. Dick and Mary Wild Side Photographic Art
Dick Collins, USA