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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Many thanks to Wild 4 for a truly memorable trip . Stu’s guidance and photography skills provided excellent opportunities to get some great shots. His professionalism and commitment to the trip made the safari ‘special’. Having only 3 photographers per vehicle made an incredible difference. Committed time to ‘get the shot’ was very rewarding. Time to just observe animal behaviour was of great joy for me too. Watching the many elephant families in Kruger their social interactions and sometimes zany behaviour….those memories will stay forever. The accommodations and meals were excellent .Many thanks to Justyna for her wonderful help on the admin side making my booking a dream I have been on trips before but none quite so enjoyable as this one. Would I go again ? definitely yes…… spaces allowing ! Would I recommend to friends ? A big yes to that one….. in fact I already have ! Sincere thanks again to you all
Sue Green, UK
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