Photographing the big cats from Porini Mara and Porini Lion camps
June 2022 | Jim Coda
I’m a wildlife photographer and last month I spent eight nights (seven full days and two half days) at Gamewatchers’ Porini Mara and Porini Lion Camps.
I came to photograph the big cats. With respect to the seven full days, I saw and photographed lions and cheetahs on six of those days and leopards on four of those days. As to the two half days, I saw and photographed lions and cheetahs both times. On three of the four days that I photographed leopards, I also photographed cheetahs and lions. I had high expectations for this trip and, to my delight, they were exceeded. This is in contrast to four years ago when I went on a photo safari to Tarangire and Serengeti National Parks in Tanzania where I got a few useable lion photos, but virtually no cheetah or leopard photos.
One big benefit to these camps is that they are located in the Mara Conservancies just outside the Maasai Mara National Reserve and, unlike the Reserve and Serengeti National Park to the south of the Reserve, you don’t have to stay on the roads. There are also a lot less visitors in the conservancies because they are private. I’m also a big supporter of the conservancy concept because it has greatly increased the lands available for wildlife habitat.
I should also mention that I hired a vehicle with camera rests just for myself so I could control what we did each drive. I also was fortunate to have two fantastic guides in George Letoluo at Mara and Nelson Keiwua at Porini Lion. At Lion, I also had the benefit of eagle-eyed spotter, John Tompoi. I think I’m pretty good at spotting wildlife, but these guys are in another league.
I also can’t say enough about how great the camps were. The staffs went out of their way to see to your every need and the food was great. The food at Lion was beyond great, it was fantastic.
For any serious wildlife photographer, I don’t think you can do better in Kenya or Tanzania than the Porini Mara and Lion Camps for the big cats. I understand other Porini Camps are great for other wildlife subjects, like elephants and rhinos. I’m heading back to Porini Mara, Porini Lion and maybe one more camp.