Stu Porter leads photographic Safari Tours throughout Africa, and has made many visits to MalaMala Game Reserve. During his most recent visit, we were able to capture various special moments. The following photographs are just a small portion of the quality frames we captured while on safari at MalaMala Game Reserve.
“The first afternoon kicked off with a large herd of elephants crossing the river in front of main camp. It was a good start to the days ahead, and a great way to relax the tense fingers of four very keen photographers.
The morning presented early luck when tracks of a large male leopard lead us to the Newington male only several hundred metres down the road. Sunrise was minutes before we found him, providing perfect light to capture great images. While lying in short dry grass, the Newington male called out a low rasping roar. Seconds later, his call was answered by another male leopard not far away. While the Newington male continued to pose for our cameras, Stu spotted a larger male leopard approaching. It was the Princess Alice Pans male. The Newington male took fright and moved off swiftly. There was no further aggression as he was quick to submit to his more dominant father. The two leopards lay forty meters apart, not phased by each other’s presence. The Princess Alice Pans male climbed an old termite mound where he enjoyed the early morning rays.
Upon following up on the last of the Eyrefield pride’s buffalo kill, we stumbled across two hyenas each holding pieces of the buffalo carcass. Both seemed very excited and ran around Matshipiri Open Area, thrilled with their good fortune.
After a short breakfast on the run, we found the Fourways Pride at Buffalo Bush Dam. It seemed they had made a kill the night before as their stomachs were swollen. The young male lion, who recently joined the pride, was the only lion to look into the camera.
We then passed a small herd of buffalo while on route to Clarendon Open Area, where a male cheetah lay on a termite mound, seemingly waiting to be photographed.
The open area was a good place to photograph some plains game. Wildebeest, warthog, zebra, jackal and ostrich were abundant.
Later on, we decided on a plan to find lions. The ideal setting in mind was a pride on a river bank, soaking up the afternoon sun. Well, luck continued on our side when the full compliment of the Eyrefield Pride was found on the eastern bank of the Sand River. With the light almost over, we still managed to photograph the pride. The lions had their heads up, anticipating what the night would have to offer.
That wouldn’t be the last time we would see the Eyrefield Pride, in fact, the next afternoon we had all ten members of the pride feeding on the remains of a wildebeest which they managed to kill alongside the airstrip. The late afternoon light created another opportunity to capture the lions aggressively feeding on what remained.
Action continued when we bumped into a young female leopard who seemed intent on mating with the West Street male.
Another morning came with a pleasant surprise. After thinking we had seen it all from the leopard side of things, we discovered that we were in fact very wrong! Ranger Pieter van Wyk had been following the tracks of a female leopard and her two young cubs. Drag-marks led him down to the river bank, where he located the Tamboti female and her two four-month old cubs feeding on a male impala kill. We were lucky to capture rare interaction between them on two different occasions. (A video of this sighting will soon be available to view on the website).
A further highlight of Stu’s stay was the last morning watching the Eyrefield pride after they killed a young buffalo in the Sand River just north of Rattrays Camp. The seven cubs were extremely excited at this prospect. The three mothers left the dead buffalo untouched for the cubs to play with. Watching the cubs playing with the dead calf in the middle of the watercourse was simply spectacular from a photographer’s perspective.
Four days were over in a heartbeat, but it won’t be long before Stu returns for more classic photographic opportunities.
*For more photos of Stu’s visit to MalaMala, please visit our Facebook page.
Ranger – MalaMala Game Reserve