Pangolin Migration Safari

This year the Pangolin Migration Safari was held for the first time in the Masai Mara. The animal migration is still in full swing and so our participants experienced a fantastic time in the Masai Mara....

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Overall, eight participants per week took part in the trip and they have been looked after by Guts Swanepoel and SIGMA reference photographer Andreas Knausenberger on-site. Guts and Andreas were available as mentors for the participants during the whole time and passed on their knowledge in the field of animal photography in Africa to the participants.

Every evening, pictures of the participants were analyzed and discussed in our own photo lounge. The direct input and more information and tips could be used the next day and successfully implemented. In addition to the imagery and the technical implementation, the photographers also learned important tips on image post-processing in Adobe Lightroom.

A highlight of both groups was the one-hour helicopter flights over the Masai Mara, which was made available by Pangolin and Extract Travel GmbH. Guts ministered two customers on each flight, and could assist with helpful information and motif ideas. So unique aerial photographs above the Masai Mara could be taken. The participants were all excited about this add-on, which is offered little or not at all by other photo safari operators and currently is a unique selling proposition of our Pangolin Migration Safari.

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Overall, both groups experienced a total of eight river crossings with plenty of action. Caused by many rains the wildebeest and zebras are in constant movement from one side of the Mara to the other in the northern area of the Mara Triangle and the Mara Conservancies. The results are spectacular crossings, which in our case especially took place around the Serena Crossings. Here is the area of the largest crocodiles with specimens of up to six metres in length. Therefore the rate of wildebeest and zebras, which unfortunately did not survive the crossings, was correspondingly high.

During the first week, the participants could also photograph a spectacular lion hunting. In the early morning, Andreas spotted a zebra and a lioness in the tall grass. Soon, it became clear that the days of this zebra were numbered. A young lion male joined the hunt and the zebra noticed none of the approaching danger. Then the lion male gave up the cover and the zebra took flight, but unfortunately it was too late. The lioness on the other hand took the zebra to the ground after a short pursuit chase. Because the lioness and the lion male didn’t suffocate the zebra - for an unknown reason - a pretty brutal spectacle was played out before our eyes. Finally, the lion male had pity on himself and stifled the already strongly suffered zebra. Both were apparently so full, that it was not necessary to kill the zebra. A brutal sight, which led to one or the other tear in the vehicle.

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The cheetahs were also very cooperative in both weeks and so the participants could shoot great shots of Malaika with their two boys, which romped around especially in the early morning and late evening. The four Musiara cheetahs showed hilarious hunting and could present a kill almost every day, which also led to great motives. As usual the lions could be found in great numbers, and the second group even managed to shoot a few great pictures of approximately four-weeks-old lion cubs, which were well hidden by their mother.

Both groups could sight several leopards with the help of Andreas, Guts, GK, and James. In addition to two female leopards both groups also saw one of the region's largest male leopard. The number of big cat sightings was extremely high and shows why the Masai Mara is one of the top destinations for wildlife photographers.

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The new vehicle modifications played a crucial role for great shots during the entire two weeks. During the trip, four photographers shared the spacious interior of the all-new Toyota Landcruisers. The open side panels with bean bag equipments and the raisable roof made it possible to take photos without shooting problems in all directions. During the entire period there were enough bean bags available for all vehicles. Due to the built-in inverters the camera batteries could also be recharged during the day-trip.

We decided to go on safari all day from sunrise to sunset during both weeks. This allowed us to have enough time for the crossings, as well as finding other animals available. The breakfast as well as lunch was enjoyed among one of the many Barranight trees in the open savannah. There were also cool drinks and a fantastic view into the vast savannah. At this point, we want to once again pronounce our respect to the participants who were on safari from morning until late every day!

In the coming year, there will be a Pangolin Migration Safari again. The exact date, as well as all the details of the trip are to be announced next week!