Wildlife Portraits: Safari Photography by Hugh Urbantke

There’s nothing like that feeling of being on safari. So while tying up travel details can be stressful at times, we know that incredible experiences await at our favourite lodges and wildlife reserves. And afterwards, when our clients return home, we love opening an email to find safari stories and photographs from journeys that we put together.

These photos, however, are too good not to share. Hugh Urbantke has travelled with Giltedge Africa several times, and his growing collection of wildlife photographs just keeps getting better and better! Here are 10 of his photographs, captured on safaris in Southern and East Africa.

Londolozi Game Reserve, Sabi Sands (South Africa)

Londolozi, in South Africa’s Sabi Sands, is known for its extraordinary leopard sightings. In many reserves, you’re lucky if you catch a brief glimpse of this elusive big cat as it slinks silently away. Which makes these photos all the more wonderful. Just look at how relaxed the Tamboti 4:3 Female is and how incredible to see that leopard cub in a tree.

Female leopard at Londolozi Game Reserve
Tamboti 4:3 Female – Londolozi Private Reserve
Leopard cub in Londolozi in the Sabi Sands
Cub of Vombo 3:2 Female – Londolozi Private Reserve

Tortilis Camp, Amboseli National Park (Kenya)

Hugh’s photograph below perfectly captures Amboseli National Park. One of Kenya’s smaller reserves, Amboseli covers a diverse range of landscapes but the most dramatic scenery of all is the view of Kilimanjaro. Although in Tanzania, Mount Kili can clearly be seen in the background as a herd of elephant wander across the sun-soaked plains.

Elephant in Amboseli National Park, Kenya
Elephants with Mount Kilimanjaro in the background – Tortilis Camp
Close-up of an elephant tusk, photographed in Amboseli
Elephant – Tortilis Camp

Amboseli’s speciality is elephants. The park protects over 1,500 elephants including some of Africa’s largest tuskers. These open plains are also classic cheetah country, and in the photo below you can see two cheetah brothers climbing a fallen tree for a better view out over the grasslands. Photographed at Tortilis Camp.

Two cheetah seen in Amboseli National Park
Cheetah brothers – Tortilis Camp

Entim Camp, Masai Mara (Kenya)

Entim Camp has a prime location overlooking the Mara River. When the great migration is passing through the northern Masai Mara (around August to October) this tented camp is about as close to the action as you can get! Hugh’s wildlife photographs include action-packed river crossings, but I just love this pic (and comical caption) of the zebra and wildebeest herds grazing the plains.

Zebra on the Masai Mara plains in Kenya
“Hey, look at the geeky new kid …” – Entim Camp
Lionesses in the long grass of the Masai Mara
Lionesses – Entim Camp

The Masai Mara offers great year-round game viewing, but wildlife numbers swell with the arrival of the migration. Along with the herds, you’re sure to have good sightings of predators and scavengers too (there’s plenty of food about!). The above photo of two lionesses has that beautiful soft lighting that really gives the feeling of being on safari. And I can sense the story behind these vultures, sitting on the sidelines waiting for their turn to feast.

Vultures in the Masai Mara during the migration
Ruppell’s Vulture. Lappet-faced Vultures – Entim Camp

Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, Virunga Volcanoes (Rwanda)

Spending time with mountain gorillas is one of those bucket list wildlife experiences. The hour spent in their company is an hour you’ll always remember. Just take a look at the expressions captured in these photographs: the protective gaze of the great silverback male and wide-eyed curiosity of a gorilla youngster. Photographed while staying at Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge.

Silverback gorilla in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
Silverback mountain gorilla – Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge
Baby mountain gorilla in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
Infant mountain gorilla – Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge

Serengeti Pioneer Camp, South Central Serengeti (Tanzania)

I struggled to keep this photography post to just 10 images, as I kept discovering new favourites. So yes, for anyone counting, this is number 11. But I had to end off with this cute little cub and his ‘Fierceness in the making’ caption – photographed at Serengeti Pioneer Camp.

Lion cub in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Fierceness in the making – Serengeti Pioneer Camp

Banner image: “Plains zebra” – Serengeti Pioneer Camp
Photography by: Hugh Urbantke
Written by: Sandra Mallinson
Giltedge Travel Consultant: Rhynhardt Naurattel

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