2014, 11 Newsletter, African Photo Safaris

Renner Safaris

Dream, Explore, Discover

Our photo safari to Tanzania and Kenya last July exceeded all of our expectations! In Ngorongoro Crater we watched in awe as two lionesses viciously attacked a large male lion. (See the exciting video by Sue Baden in the newsletter below).

Male Lion-4659

Male Lion Walking

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

 

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We were enjoying a game drive in Ngorongoro Crater when we came on some cars stopped in the road. Milling around on the right side of the road was a herd of about five hundred Cape buffalo. About fifty yards to the left of the road, two lioness and three cubs were laying together in the grass soaking up the warm sunlight. It was a beautiful morning, about 70 degrees, and the sunlight must have felt warm on their bodies. Seventy five yards away from them was a large male lion doing what lions do so well, sleeping. Suddenly three large buffalo bulls that had circled around the vehicles, charged the lions! They ran past the lionesses and at the male lion who jumped up and escaped between the vehicles only to encounter the huge herd of buffalo. He then ran back between the cars and stopped to wake up and figure out what had just happened!  Lion in Crater-5164

Male Lion

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

He was standing there looking beautiful when suddenly all hell broke loose for him! Without warning both lionesses charged the lion and viciously attacked him. Overpowered and fearing for his life he made his get away up the side of the crater!

Lion in Crater-5175

Charging Lioness

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

Video of lions fighting

Be sure to click here or on the photo or link below. It is a link to an exciting video of the lionesses attacking the lion! It will play through once and then replay in slow motion.   A big thank you to Sue Baden for letting me use her video on my website.

Lioness Attacks Male

http://vimeo.com/111119240

 Lioness Attacking Male

Photo copyright: Carmi Standish, 2014

Why did the lionesses attack the male? When the buffalo charged the lions, two of the cubs ran with the mothers and one ran the opposite direction and got lost.  Possibly the females thought the lion was trying to kill the third cub or simply thought the male should have done a better job protecting them from the buffalo. A game warden had seen all that went on and drove his vehicle around the far side of the lost cub and herded it slowly back to the mother to a happy reunion. Fortunately, the only injury was to the pride of the soundly spanked male lion!

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Lioness and Cub-5424

Reunion

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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Kenya’s Masai Mara was loaded with wildebeest that were moving ever closer to the Mara River. My anticipation of seeing a river crossing by the great migration was building by the minute! But I knew that I needed to be patient! They were, after all, wildebeest, and with good reason, afraid to cross the river.  The first day in the Mara we saw a good crossing where a lioness hid herself in the bushes. As the wildebeest came rushing uphill out of the river she made a quick kill, then another and another. She had killed three wildebeest and was still unnoticed by the animals frantically scrambling up the river bank. Suddenly she was in danger of being trampled to death by so many animals that she retreated to safety behind a large rock where she could watch the procession streaming by.

Hot Air Balloon in Mara-8616

Hot Air Ballooning Over Great Migration

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

Early the  next morning, while driving across the plains we encountered thousands of wildebeest  running towards and then gathering along the banks of the Mara River. When we arrived at the river by 7:00 am we were surrounded by wildebeest!  “Surely they would cross soon,” I thought.  Wrong!

Wildebeest-9065

Wildebeest

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

We waited an hour and a half until we heard by radio that thousands of animals were also gathering on the far side of the river a couple of miles downstream. That meant that if they crossed, they would be in good light and facing us as they entered the river. Thousands of them! “Let’s go” I said. Upon entering the theater I could see many long lines of wildebeest running, weaving their way toward the river. They were streaming in from miles away. Along the river bank they were were building in massive numbers. There were far more than I had ever seen together at the river! They began making their way up and down the river looking for a good place to cross. Indecision amongst the herd. Where to cross? After all, again they are wildebeest drawn by their migratory instinct, but not really knowing what to do or where to cross the river safely. They don’t have a leader so they just follow the one ahead of them.  We watched them move back and forth along the river until they made their way to the highest and most dangerous cliffs along the river.

Scrambeling Down Mara River Bank 2-9202

Descending to the Mara River

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

It was here that around 1:30 P.M. one wildebeest decided he needed a drink and managed to make his way down a steep trail to the river to quench his thirst. When he turned to climb back up he slipped and scrambled in the loose, soft dirt creating some dust. The  commotion led animals at the top to think the crossing was on and in an instant they started streaming over the edge of the river bank, dropping some twenty feet to the water!

Scrambeling Down Mara River Bank-9192

Wildebeest Dropping In

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

Video of Massive River Crossing

Click here or on the photo and/or the link below to watch my short video (taken with a Canon 7D) of an amazing river crossing!  Unbelievable and it sounds, as far as I could tell, other that the one caught by the crocodile, no animals were seriously hurt in the crossing of the river.

River Crossing-9147

https://vimeo.com/111574332

Video copyright: Paul Renner 2014

They continued leaping over and down the cliffs for about thirty minutes until a crocodile swimming upstream caught one of the animals instantly stopping the crossing. Thousands of animals still remained on the far bank but they were now even more afraid and moved off in search of a safer place to cross the river. It was one of the most amazing events I have witnessed in my lifetime!

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African Photo Safaris In 2015

Feast your eyes our upcoming 2015 safaris.

Openings have just become available on our extremely popular February safari to Tanzania and Kenya for the birthing season of the great migration. If you book now you can still join us on this amazing trip.

Leopard Eyes-0796

Botswana is a wildlife photographer’s paradise!  We have only six spaces available so I hope you will be able join us on this always spectacular photo safari  May 12-24, 2015.

Tanzania and Kenya – 18 days – Birthing Season with the Great Migration (four spaces available) Feb 1-18, 2015 Itinerary and Pricing
Botswana – Photograph in four of Africa’s most exciting wildlife viewing locations. Enjoy three nights in spectacular lodges at each location.  ( 4 spaces available) May 12-24, 2015 Itinerary and Pricing
Tanzania and Kenya-17-Days – Season for Great Migration Crossings at the Mara River (Sold Out) July 16 – Aug.2, 2015 Itinerary and Pricing
Tanzania and Kenya-17-Days – Season for Great Migration Crossings at the Mara River ( 3 spaces available ) Aug. 28 – Sept. 13, 2015 Itinerary and Pricing
Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Trek (Sold Out) Sept. 13 – 17, 2015 Itinerary and Pricing
South Africa Photo Safari ~ We have space available for one woman willing to share a room with a very nice woman to save the cost of the single supplement.   ( one space available ) Sept 17-Oct 3, 2015 Itinerary and Pricing
 Namibia Photo Safari (Sold Out)  October 3-19, 2015 Itinerary and Pricing

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I just love the humor provided by nature. Although zebras are often entertaining to watch this one was actually checking the scent to verify whether or not a nearby female was ready for mating.

Zebra Showing Teeth-6621

Check Out These Choppers

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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Go-Away birds are well known for warning wildlife of approaching danger. Their loud, raucous call sounds as though they are saying go way, go way. Hence the name.

Bare-Faced Go-Away-Bird-4289

Bare-Faced Go-Away Birds

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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We watched this black-headed heron hunting near a small pond at Lake Nakuru. For a few moments it appeared frozen then suddenly its head darted down into the grass.  It quickly came up with a snake in its bill. Instantly, the snake wrapped itself around the bird’s bill and I wondered if the snake would win this battle.  Eventually the bird succeeded in unwrapping the snake and was able to eat it.  We see very few snakes on safari so this was a rare treat.

Black-Headed Heron Eating Snake-6877

Black-Headed Heron Eating Snake

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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Little Bee-Eaters like to sit on low perches from where they can scan the sky above them.  Their heads move quickly back and forth as they look for bees, wasps, hornets and other flying bugs they like to eat.  When they see one they want, they fly up into the sky and catch the bug in their bill and bring it back to a branch where they bang the bug until it  the stinger is dislodged and they can eat it safely without getting stung. Quite fascinating!

Little Bee Eater-4013

Little Bee Eater

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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White-Browed Coucals are birds considered to be brood parasitic meaning that lay their eggs in other birds nest and let the other birds raise their chicks for them.  This one is a juvenile and has not yet developed the white eyebrow.

Juvenile White Browed Coucal-3989

Juvenile White-Browed Coucal

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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Even hippos can be cute!Hippos-6323

Mother and Baby Hippo

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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One evening in the Serengeti, while circling around a granite rock kopje, we noticed a herd of elephants climbing up into the rocks and were feeding on bushes and trees.  This was the first time I have seen elephants climbing rocks. What I love about our safaris is that every game drive can bring something I have never seen before and each drive is always different, especially when watching the behavior of the wildlife.

Elephants in Rock Kopje-6243

Rock Climbing Elephants

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014


Elephant in Rock Kopje-0941

Big Strech

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

Elephant Up Close-5483

Elephant’s Eye

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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This cute little antelope is a baby impala, probably less than a week old.

Baby Impala-6513

Baby Impala

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

Male Impala attempt to gather as many females as they are able to collect into their harem. They are continuously on the lookout for challengers and the job of keeping the females in line seems to never end for him. The male is so active in protecting his harem that he doesn’t get much time to eat and wears himself out chasing competitors away.  He often loses his harem to impala males that continually challenge him.  Impala-3598

Male Impala

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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One of our vehicles got into the perfect location to photograph the lions hunting the buffalo. It is best to photograph the animals as they are running toward you. This was a lucky morning for the buffalo because they spotted the lions and moved to what they felt was a safe distance away.

In Position for the Hunt-9899

Hungry Lionesses

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

These impala males were very intent on watching the same lions and often sounded warning calls to alert the herd of impending danger.  Note the large set of horns on the big male in the center.

Impala Watching Lions-9930

Vigilant Impala

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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 Late one evening in Tarangire National Park we watched as these lions climbed up the fallen tree trunk.  The cub seemed to particularly enjoy the climbing.

Liioness and Cub on Log-4435

 Lioness and Cub Climbing Log

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

Cute little cubs are always a big hit with photographers. They are just so cute! The cubs, that is.

Lion Cub-8033

Cute Cub

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

Very early one morning we found a pride of lions.  I enjoyed photographing this back-lit cub.  By underexposing the photo I was able to darken the shadows which accentuated the rim lighting surrounding the cub.  Backlit Lion Cub-9772

Cub with Rim Lighting

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

It was before sunrise in the Mara when we spotted this lion holding his nose up to the wind apparently searching for the scent of his pride. You may have heard of a lion named Notch on the “Big Cat Diary” television show produced by BBC. This lion is one of Notch’s four large, powerful sons that now rule a large part of the Masai Mara.

Nose to the Wind-7795

Nose to the Wind

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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Renner Safaris is one of the few safari companies that supplies you with a freshly cooked hot barbecue lunch on your full day game drive in Ngorongoro Crater. During the heat of the day when the light is harsh, we have found it is a very enjoyable way to rest, relax and enjoy the ambiance of the crater.

 
Bush Lunch Barbeque-5304

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Important information about our safaris:

Prices for our safaris to Kenya & Tanzania, and South Africa include international airfare from LAX – most other companies do not include airfare.
We have only three passengers per nine passenger 4×4 safari Land Cruiser so you will enjoy plenty of space for you and your equipment.
We stay in luxury safari lodges and tented camps.
You do not have to be a photographer but you must enjoy watching the wildlife because that is what we do!
I will be there to photograph with you and available to answer your questions.
 Parks we visit on our African safaris.

On our Tanzania/Kenya safaris we have only three passengers per nine passenger vehicle giving you plenty of space for you and your photo equipment. You can photograph through windows on BOTH sides of the vehicle and also from the top, which pops up to create shade so you are protected from the hot, equatorial sun. Compared to other tours that pack the vans with up to eight people, this is a huge deal.  When using six great guides, you will hardly believe all of the wildlife they find. We have trained them to understand lighting, composition and what we are trying to achieve. Our guides are awesome! As we leave the lodges on our game drives to hunt for animals, the vehicles separate and spread out. This allows us to have up to six guides each looking for wildlife. They each have radios to share what they find so no one misses out. Our safaris are designed for the ultimate photographic experience, however please don’t be intimidated from enjoying one my photo safaris just because you are not a photographer or you don’t use a “great camera.” If you enjoy wildlife you will love these safaris and more than likely you’ll come home with your own great photos too! I will be photographing on our game drives too, but I am available to answer your questions and am happy let you know how I am photographing each subject so you can learn more about photography and bring home your own great photos too. To avoid disappointment, make your reservations today. To reserve your space on our photo safaris, please call Paul Renner at (949) 295-3136, or email him at: paulrenner3@cox.net or call Prem Sharma at Best Safaris (800) 757-6625 ———————————————————————————————

When we stay in permanent tented camps, on our safaris, they are very nice accommodations. Each unit includes an attached bathroom with hot and cold running water, sink and tub or shower. The tents are set in beautiful locations often along rivers or overlooking scenic valleys.  Tented Camp-1020877

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Thrilling Experiences Create Lifelong Memories

Masai Mara, Kenya

Canon EOS 1D Mark lll, Lens: Canon EF100-400mm, f4.5-5.6 IS USM 

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2013

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 Sunrise on the Mara-8534

  Sunrise in the Mara

Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF-S18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS

Copyright: Paul Renner, 2014

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Each of our safaris has been a tremendous photographic experience!  I can hardly wait to go back in again this year!  Why not join us on one of our safaris for the excitement of taking your own photos in the wilds of Africa!

Please feel free to forward the newsletter on to friends that might enjoy it.

For more safari information, prices and itineraries click here.

I hope that you will be able to join us on one of our safaris in the not so distant future. It will be your trip of a lifetime! Enjoy each day. Paul Renner paulrenner3@cox.net www.rennersafaris.com (949) 295-3136 Read more about what our clients have to say about our safaris

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