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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If anyone is contemplating a photo trip to Africa, then we would have absolutely no hesitation in recomending Stu Porter and Wild4 Photographic Safaris. It doesn't really matter what your level of skill is you will get as much or as little help and advice as you wish to receive. Nothing is thrust down your throat and Stu doesn't spend all his time taking his own photographs as some do. Stu has taken a huge amount of time and trouble in customising and setting up his safari vehicle and the effort he's put in makes the whole experience so much more enjoyable. Tethered bean bags are provided and secure plate mounts on the side of the vehicle will also take your tripod head ensuring a rock steady platform and Stu most certainly knows where the animals are. Particularly enjoyable was the time we spent at the Big Cat Reserve (part of the 4 night extension) which is an unbelieveable photographic experience. Many thanks WILD4 !
Rob & Sue Brookes, UK
It has always been a dream of mine to travel to Africa and take a photo safari. Although I am not a professional photographer, it has been a hobby of mine and I had been wanting to make the trip for many years. Last year, I went on a safari through a different agency, and was disappointed. It was too generic and commercialized. It left me unsatisfied and wanting more. After a year, I still had an urge to go back to Africa and get the experience that I felt I had missed out on. After doing some research I came upon Wild 4 African Photographic Safaris. I was excited that this time I would really get the experience I was hoping for, and it did not fail. Upon arrival at the park, I met Stu. He was extremely helpful, even months before the trip. Justyna helped me prepare and made sure I was well equipped for the safari. Before arriving, I could already tell that this would be an adventure of a lifetime. During the safari, Stu’s knowledge continued to surprise me. Not only does he know about photography, but his familiarity of the animals and their environment is unbelievable. He could spot a rhino from miles away that we would only see once he drove 5 minutes towards it. He understands the environment and how to get great shots. He never let us miss an opportunity. Stu was patient and didn’t rush us. His tips were useful and will help with all of my future photography endeavours. The Wild 4 Safari at went above and beyond all of my expectations. It really was a dream come true.
Ulhas Mayekar, USA