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Keep Calm and Come When It’s Green (& Gorgeous)

Nicky Fitzgerald shares her safari-savvy thoughts on the often-tremulous question, ‘Is it ok to travel to the Mara in the rainy season?’
Above: Looking down on the verdant carpet of the Mara

Before Toto’s lyrics take up permanent residence in that space between your ears let’s focus on the facts about rain in Africa in general, and the Mara in particular. What is it about intrepid travellers planning on coming to our continent claiming not to be afraid of wounded buffaloes, creatures that growl in the night or even a friendly bat or two, but anxiously asking ‘Is it ok to travel to the Mara in the rainy season?’ Rain doesn’t bite, it doesn’t sting, it doesn’t give you the African version of Delhi Belly – it simply makes you a little wet. And does it ever make the world look lovely again. ‘And what about the animals – will we see anything?’ they earnestly ask. Well, there’s no patient answer to that.

With the rain comes adundant food, meaning happy wildlife and happy safari-goers

I have to admit that after 25 years of working in the Mara I am getting just a teensy bit weary of extolling the beauty of the Mara during the rainy seasons and trying to explain once and for all that ‘long rains’ and ‘short rains’ are farming terms (it rains over a longer period in April and May and for just a few weeks in November, give or take the odd El Niño or two) I thought I would let these images tell the story of the Indescribable Magnificence of the Mara in The Rain.

The sky becomes an ever-changing canvas that you can watch from your personal viewing deck
The very definition of lush
No need to take cover under a tree, our safari vehicles are well equipped for the rain

As Hemingway wrote in his Green Hills of Africa:

“Now, being in Africa, I was hungry for more of it, the changes of the seasons, the rains with no need to travel, the discomforts that you paid to make it real, the names of the trees, of the small animals, and all the birds, to know the language and have time to be in it and to move slowly.”

The light in particular makes this time of year a hit with photographers

Last April the talented photographer Stevie Mann spent some time shooting the lodge and this is how described what he saw and captured on film:

“There’s something about the light in an African wilderness.
The clarity, the freshness, the crispness, brings with it a sense of peace. If you are there during the rainy season, the skies are likely to be full of texture and drama. Add to that an elevation over your surroundings, and it is almost as if you can see forever.

Take all of these elements, and place yourself atop an escarpment with the most breathtaking view over the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem and you have an intoxicating set of ingredients for landscape photography. Angama Mara sits in such a place, and it has about the best view in all of Africa”.

Afternoon showers come and go before you know it, leaving a dramatic Mara sky

Some fast facts about the wet season in the Mara: dramatic late afternoon early evening isolated thundershowers, boom bam and it’s over often leaving a glorious rainbow as a farewell gift; the temperature hardly ever drops to below 20°C so no soggy shivers; guests pretty much have the Reserve all to themselves; other than gazillions of wildebeest the abundance of wildlife is overwhelming; and no dust.

Read more about the Mara landscapes during the early months of the year.

The long green grass is the perfect home for serval
It's also the perfect cover in which to hide

And the last word from a guest who shared on TripAdvisor her April stay:

We traveled to Angama in low season which is supposedly the rainy season although the only rain we experienced was in the middle of the night rain on our last night. From the escarpment we could see rain showers but they are 20 – 30 minute episodes that roll through followed by full-on sun. And in the evenings we were treated to lighting shows in the distance. Despite missing the migration I would recommend an off season visit as the weather is great and the crowds are considerably lessened not to mention the room rates in all of East Africa would be meaningfully discounted as well. Don’t let the label “rainy season on the Mara” keep you away. If I go back I would probably choose the same month.

Toto driven you crazy yet?

Notes from the Editor:

For photographic evidence of the game viewing in the Mara in Aril, May, October and November please browse through our This Week at Angama wildlife stories dating from 2018 – you will be astonished.

Filed under: The Mara

Tagged with:

Birds , Cats , Maasai Mara , Photography , Rain in the Mara , Safari , Travel , Wildlife

About: Nicky Fitzgerald

After more than 30 years in hospitality, starting with a small hotel at the foot of Africa and followed by a further couple of Cape hotels, most notably The Bay, and sixty plus safari lodges across Africa and India, Nicky has served more meals, puffed more cushions, filled more beds, trained more staff and opened more properties than she cares to remember. Her driving force is ‘will our guests love this?’ She has come full circle and is happily puffing, cooking, training and filling to her heart’s content high up on the edge of Kenya’s Great Rift Valley at Angama Mara.

Browse all articles by Nicky Fitzgerald Meet the angama team

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This Week At Angama #31 7 September 2018 This week we play around with the composition – avoiding the rules and seeking more creativity By Jeffrey Thige
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