HOME Blog Going Green

Going Green

On his most recent visit, budding photographer and regular guest, Sam Bailyn, walks away with a different appreciation for a new time of year
Above: A quiet moment between brothers

Every year, from July to October the Maasai Mara has its ‘peak season’ — this is the time of year when the rains stop, the weather cools and migrating wildebeest and zebra arrive in the millions. Over the last few years, I have visited Angama during this time, but last year I arrived before the Migration during the 'Green Season'. Beginning in April, the rains turn the savanna into hues of green and when I arrived in June, as the rains started to shorten and the landscape started to dry, I was blown away that the wildlife viewing was as awe-inspiring as during the Migration. The fresh green grass offers a lush environment and a beautiful setting for guests to view the animals.

There is lots to eat, especially for the new-born ellies

As well as the aesthetic aspect of the change, this time of year leads to a multitude of changes in animal behaviour. As Angama Guide, Ekai, explained, ‘The Mara is generally fertile because it's not disturbed for a long while. The onset of rains brings about new shoots, especially in the burnt areas where the black ash propels the quick growth of grass. This attracts a lot of grazers in the form of antelope, buffalo, zebra and others.’ This change in grass gives way to a high concentration of life around the Mara before the Migration has even begun.

The new grass also means good cover for cheetahs, like Risasi

Of course, this plethora of prey does not go unnoticed by the predators around the ecosystem as they have new opportunities to hunt. ‘The Mara Conservancy does random controlled burns, which rejuvenates new short grass and thus attracts gazelles, hence, a good hunting ground for the cheetah,’ says Kenneth, another Guide at Angama.

The chase begins, and the short grass gives her the advantage

Action at its best — cheetah hunts on the open plains make for great viewing and with the famous cheetah, Risasi, and her cubs around there was no shortage of cheetah sightings. But these moments of action do not outshine the other memorable wildlife encounters that can be observed during this time of year. Without the stress of mega herds of wildebeest and zebra, animals are relaxed and daily life is uninterrupted. These sightings are amazing in a different way, seeing nature take course on the ‘smaller side’ of what happens around the Mara.

Having the time and space to catch small moments — like a lion having a snack
Or the complicated male-female lion dynamics

While the huge groups prepare to arrive, sightings are calmer as most lodges are less busy. This allows for more personal viewing experiences — less cars, less noise, more wildlife. This is one of the main reasons I loved coming before the Migration. The sense of calm gives wildlife viewing a more natural feeling; often it is just you and the animals with no one else around.

Up close and personal with the wildlife

Providing a different landscape, with quiet game viewing and new things to see, I found that pre-Migration season is truly a great time to come and experience the Mara. While unique in their own way, the seasons in the Mara have some things in common — fantastic sightings. The constant flow of beauty and life is why coming to the Maasai Mara is a trip of a lifetime, no matter the time of year.

Filed under: The Mara

Tagged with:

Green Season , Mara Landscapes , Wildlife Photography

About: Guest Author

Members of the broader Angama family — be it guests, agents, suppliers, friends — contribute to the blog from time to time. We love to share their stories, too.

Browse all articles by Guest Author Meet the angama team

Keep Reading

This Week At Angama #160 26 February 2021 After being away for a week, Adam returns to the Mara Triangle, delighted to be back in familiar territory, exploring the subtle changes and nuances which make this landscape so appealing By Adam Bannister
This Week At Angama #55 21 February 2019 Hot and sultry days make for tranquil and idyllic mornings with golden sunrises, velvety mist, and magical photographic opportunities – if you can find your subject. And if you can’t, get creative By Tyler Davis
This Week At Angama #15 18 May 2018 After a month away from the Mara, Adam is bursting to get back behind the camera By Adam Bannister
Adventures in the Aberdare National Park 3 May 2019 Shannon and Tyler Davis share some of the highlights of their visit to the Aberdare National Park where they spent a very happy weekend By Shannon Davis
Join the Conversation (2 comments)

Comments (2):

Sam Bailyn

27 January 2024

Thank you so much Charlotte, Ryan and everyone who helped put this together. It’s always an honor to contribute!

    Charlotte Ross Stewart

    7 February 2024

    Dear Sam, it was our great pleasure. Karibu tena!

Leave a Comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*