TANZANIA and ELEPHANTS of AMBOSELI photo safari - March 2018
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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I am a Molecular Biologist by profession and a serious amateur nature photographer and have been on a number of organized trips over the last 10 years with the dual aims of enjoying nature and getting the best images possible. The organization of a two week trip with Wild 4 Photographic Safaris through Kruger National Park I shared with two other photographers and it was as good as I have ever experienced. The Porter family was friendly, knowledgeable and intuitively supportive. Stu really knows his subjects and spared no effort in getting the photographers into the best situation. He has a very pleasant, calm personality and is an accomplished nature photographer and naturalist which means he knows where the light or action is best and often what is about to happen. His vehicle is also well set-up for discriminating photographers. Justyna was just brilliant in getting things organized in the background. Having our own scout vehicle to report activity in the area while we pursued other subjects, worked well, and on a number of occasions provided photo opportunities we would have missed otherwise. In summary; rating out of 10…….no doubt a 10.
Graeme Guy, NEW ZEALAND
Shopping for a travel adventure on the Web is somewhat risky, but when I wanted to go on an African photo safari, I really had no choice. I looked around and finally picked Wild4 Photographic Safaris for one reason: the vehicle. It was obvious that this was an outfit that understood photographic details and the needs of serious wildlife photographers. With a capacity for 10 passengers, the vehicle takes just three photographers. The three photographers' benches feature platforms to steady big lenses on both sides of the vehicle, and loads of storage space and pockets for lenses, bodies, accessories, binoculars, field guides, water, etc. I can not imagine a better platform for photography in the bush veldt. What is not as obvious in the on-line description is that the vehicle comes equipped with Stu Porter, the Wild4 owner and guide. Stu, who bears a striking resemblance to movie actor Matt Damon, is a deceptively shy young man with an encyclopaedic knowledge of Kruger National Park, its animals, geography, geology, climate, seasons, and, of course, rules. He also has the eyes of an eagle and is the best leopard spotter in South Africa. Stu's knowledge and patience are seemingly infinite, and he somehow manages to be aware both of his passengers' needs and everything around us. He does everything humanly possible to give you the opportunity to get the best shot. And if you need more than just the opportunity, he can instruct even the most seasoned photographer on technique. Stu grew up next to Kruger National Park, and his mother (who does the meal preparation for the safari) started taking him there as soon as he was old enough. He has been accumulating his knowledge of the park and its animals all his life, and that comes in very handy when you need to know something about animal behavior. In short, Wild4 Photographic Safaris is all about the vehicle, with spacious seats, shooting platforms and Stu Porter as standard equipment. You can't do better. Thank you, Stu!
George Cathcart, USA