Posted by Wild4 Photo Safaris on 10th Apr 2018
The 2018 WILD4 photo safari to Amboseli in Kenya and the Serengeti, Ndutu and the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania produced some very different photo opportunities thanks to the unusual amount of rain that fell during the safari.
Amboseli National Park in Kenya was our first stop and mother nature decided to open up the heavens on us !. An incredible amount of rain fell during our stay and the usually dry dust bowl that Amboseli is renowned for, turned into one massive lake. On numerous occasions, the road we were driving on ended abruptly at the edge of a massive expanse of water, forcing us to turn back the way we had come.
As we have witnessed before, whenever there is an unusual occurrence in nature, it always provides the photographer with some special shooting conditions which if taken advantage of, can produce some very different looking photographs. Amboseli certainly provided that for us on this trip. We also had a wonderful view of mount Kilimanjaro with an unusual amount of snow, reflected in the massive pools of rain water.
After our border crossing into Tanzania, we headed for the Ngorongoro Crater for an overnight stop. This proved to be a good change to our usual logistics, as it allowed us to have a great morning photo shoot down in the crater when the animals are usually more active. We got to spend some time with a magnificent male Lion with the biggest mane I have ever seen !. We left the crater in the late morning and headed to the Seronera area of the Serengeti.
Following on from last years trip, we found a big pride of Lions, numbering around 20 members out near the Research Kopjes. The group included 3 big males and from this point on the male Lion sightings on this trip just got better and better. We finally ended up seeing 21 different male Lions.
Some other highlights were finding 3 different Leopards, Lions on an Elephant carcass, Elephants, Zebra and Wildebeest in big numbers, a Cheetah and some fantastic Giraffe at the stunningly beautiful Moru Kopjes.
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 as it did in 2017. We got to see a number of different Cheetah, including a mother with two large cubs who hunted in the pouring rain, taking advantage of the wet conditions to sneak up on prey that was trying to take shelter. There was a mating pair of Lions out in the plains and on one occasion the male charged at another male who was lying nearby. We made a trip out to "Hidden Valley" and spent some time with a beautiful young female Cheetah. Ndutu provided us with multiple sightings of the new 4 member strong Lion coalition, one of which has the most magnificent multi coloured mane. Our final afternoon in Ndutu provided a massive rain storm that caused the rivers to swell and flood towards Lake Ndutu. We stayed with the males after the rain had stopped and got some wonderful photos of two of them as they walked alongside the new "Ndutu River"
Other highlights were finding two Lionesses with tiny cubs, who were very well hidden in thickets, a lonely bull Elephant with one massive long tusk, and many Wildebeest with their new borns.
Our final destination was the Ngorongoro Crater. Highlights here were a fantastic sighting of a Black Rhino crossing Lake Magadi, and a multitude of wonderful photographic opportunities of different species in the rain. A clan of around 50 Spotted Hyaenas brought down and devoured an adult Wildebeest. At the end of the day we reached our lodge and experienced one of the most beautiful sunsets over the Crater that I have ever seen.
A huge thanks goes out to our very hard working Guides, Julius & 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 photos are exceptional, it is always a pleasure to work with you both.
A huge thank you must also go to the hard working staff at all the Camps and lodges we stayed at.
Many thanks to our clients, Linda, Bernice and Cliff, it was fantastic to share such a different photo safari with you all, looking forward to the next one already !!
Enjoy some images from the photo tour.
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This was our first out of country photography trip. We were very excited and nervous. We did our research. Could this be for real? Was it too good to be true? Where was the catch? Let us give you a clue…there was no catch! We were treated in a warm and friendly manner from our first inquiry to our final wave goodbye at the airport. Everything was handled totally professionally! It was like a dream come true….days spent on wildlife photography…and being tutored by someone who really knows how to do it. Obviously Stu, Justyna, Ann and John love what they do. The only downside is sorting out several thousand photos in Lightroom ! . There are just some tasks you don't mind doing. It will be a labor of love. Will we go on photo safari again? Only with Wild 4 folks!!!
Michael & Toni Anderson, 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