This Week At Angama #104

31 January 2020 | This Week at Angama |

Reading Time: 5 minutes

The Mara may be wet, but don’t let that dampen the mood. The grasslands are magnificent, the skies are gigantic, and the animals as plentiful as ever.

I’m still wrapping my head around the fact that this weekly blog series is in its 3rd year – the most wonderful of visual diaries and a fun way for us, living here at Angama Mara, to share our daily lives with you wherever in the world that may be. From majestic lions through to delicate flowers, we take great pride in showcasing the abundance and beauty of Africa’s greatest game reserve (well, we think so anyway). Enjoy This Week At Angama. [f 5.6, 1/640, ISO 800, -0.67]


If you like to explore and get off the main trail there are some truly magnificent landscapes within the Mara Triangle. This specific area, along the Oloololo Escarpment and on the border with Tanzania is one of my favourites. I have never seen another car on this stretch of road, and when I get here I am always sure to pull over, stretch my legs and make some coffee. [f 6.3, 1/1250, ISO 640]

Landscape 2

Perhaps a more classical Maasai Mara scene, but equally as  dramatic. Huge open grasslands, dramatic skies, iconic trees, and a perfectly placed flat-topped hill. [f 8.0, 1/640, ISO 250]


How fortunate we are to share this land with such vibrant Maasai neighbours. [f 4.5, 1/640, ISO 400, -1]


TWAA followers will know how keen I am photographing straight into the sun; it adds a dramatic dimension to an otherwise overlooked scene. [f 4.0, 1/1250, ISO 640, -1.33]

gazelle in golden light

By photographing into the sun, I was able to pick up the strands of cobwebs that surrounded this Thomson’s gazelle. [f 4.0, 1/2500, ISO 320, -1.0]


Probably the most common, but least photographed of all the animals in the Mara. Their build and design are perfect. [f 2.8, 1/1000, ISO 1250, +0.3]


The tactile bond between members of an elephant herd strikes a deep chord in anyone viewing them. [f 5.0, 1/400, ISO 400]

Elephants in black and white

A true elephant roadblock; a wall of pachyderms napping in the middle of the road. There was no option but to wait. [f 5.0, 1/160, ISO 400, -0.67]

Tawny eagle

A drenched tawny eagle ruffles his feathers in an attempt to dry out. After the rain the animals are all out sunning themselves. [f 3.5, 1/1600, ISO 640, +0.67]


The grass is getting long in the Mara, and although this can make some shots difficult, it can also add to a photograph. I love the pastel colours of this image and enjoy how the grass covers the hyena’s eye adding an element of secrecy to the animal. [f 4.0, 1/640, ISO 400, -0.67]


The trick to getting photos of lions at the moment is to find them on the move. Be patient and follow them as they slink through the grass then all of a sudden they pop up onto termite mounds to get a better view. [f 4.0, 1/4000, ISO 250, -1.0]

Lone lioness

Once they are up on the mounds you need to get down low and ideally have them break the horizon. [f 4.0, 1/1250, ISO 320, -0.3]

Stork and buffalo

When I saw this scene unfold I couldn’t help but chuckle. I know that it was simply a case of the woolly-necked stork drying his feathers out, but if you use your imagination it could easily be that the stork was the conductor to an orchestra of buffalo, and the buffalo in the background was watching intently, desperate not to miss a note. What instrument would he be playing, I wondered to myself?  Perhaps it was the cymbals, or the drums, or maybe he was a proud triangle player. [f 3.5, 1/2500, ISO 320]

Stork fishing

A striated heron waits patiently below the rapids – like a coiled spring, he sits, ready. Heaven help the fish, or the frog, that swims these waters. [f 4.0, 1/1250, ISO 640, -0.33]

Buffalo in mud

In all my time in the Mara I have never seen a buffalo enjoy mud as much as this guy did. He literally covered every inch of his body, at one stage burying his entire face into the mud. He would then come up from beneath the mud, and flick his head, sending mud flying in all directions. [f 4.5, 1/800, ISO 320, -0.67]


When everything else is quiet in the grasslands, you can always rely on the rufous-naped lark to be sitting proudly, chest puffed up and in full cry, a melodious and far carrying whistle. [f 4.5, 1/2000, ISO 250, -0.67]

Pintailed Whydah

Did you know that a pin-tailed whydah (male pictured here) is a host-specific brood parasite? The female lays her eggs in the nest of a common waxbill, however, unlike most brood parasites the pin-tailed whydah chick does not kill its waxbill ‘siblings’. The gape pattern of the whydah chick resembles that of the host fledging thereby fooling the surrogate mother to continue feeding the imposter. [f 5.6, 1/5000, ISO 400, -0.67]

Topi over exposed

I came across two male topi in the midst of a battle. They were intent on fighting, but at the same time wanted to keep their eyes on a lioness that was walking in the distance. As hostile as the fight was at times, it was almost as if there was a gentleman’s agreement to make sure that neither of them became lunch. I pondered how to capture this comical scene and decided the best option was to taking a double exposure in-camera; essentially layering two images, taken a second apart, on top of each other. I hope the end result helps illustrate how bizarre the scene was. [f 5.6, 1/320, ISO 100, -0.67]  (in-camera double exposure)

This Week a Year Ago

Lioness and cub touching faces

The Angama pride had a torrid 2019; a pride that at one stage completely dominated the grasslands below camp, has now been reduced to a fraction of the size, and are largely encountered in small splinter groups or factions. A year ago I watched this tender interaction between mother and cub. Nose to nose and the most gentle and caring of gestures. [f 5.6, 1/500, ISO 800]



AUTHOR: Adam Bannister

A South African-trained biologist, safari guide, author, filmmaker and photographer, Adam is, above all else, a gifted storyteller. After spending the past 10 years working in some of the world’s most beautiful wild places – the Sabi Sand Game Reserve in South Africa, Rajasthan in India, Brazil’s Pantanal, and the rainforests of Manu National Park in Peru – he is delighted to share his stories of one of the loveliest game reserves of them all, the Maasai Mara.

Francis Bagbey
February 1, 2020

Thank you for your great work and commentary.

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