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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I found Wild4 through an article in Popular Photography magazine about how to choose a photo safari. They were one of five recommended in the article. After checking them all out, I saw that Stu and Wild4 offered the kind of experience that I wanted: 1) Small groups of dedicated photographers 2) Variety in wildlife viewing 3) Tuition on photography and wildlife behavior 4) Good communication and organisation. I can say that Wild4 met and exceeded all expectations on all points (and then some). 1) We used one vehicle for three photographers. Stu is a trained photographer himself, so his goal was always to get us into the best position with the best light. Having only three on the tour meant plenty of room for equipment and the ability to shoot from either side of the vehicle when surrounded by a herd of elephants! It also gave us the flexibility to be patient and wait for the shot. 2) The three places we visited each provided a unique experience and wonderful variety in scenery and wildlife viewing. 3) Stu's tuition was excellent. It was there if we needed it but never pushed. Tips, reminders, anecdotes on wildlife behavior. All given with patience and good humor. 4) From the first email, the communication was timely & clear. Justyna was a joy to work with and handled the back-office part of the tour seamlessly. It can't be as easy as she makes it seem. Wild4 didn't provide the wildlife or the spectacular sunsets that we experienced, but they put us in position to enjoy and capture a little piece of it in our cameras and in our memories. Our Safari was amazing and I would not have changed a thing...well, maybe I would have eaten a little less. If you're looking for a Photo Safari, there is nothing to consider. Just go ahead and contact Wild4 Photographic Safaris. You will not be sorry.
Doug Croft, USA
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