This Week At Angama #106 - Angama Mara

This Week At Angama #106

14 February 2020 | This Week At Angama |

Reading Time: 5 MINUTES

As another magical full moon sets, so the weather takes another turn. The unseasonal rainfall seems to be behind us, for the moment, and we have returned to classic blue skies and sunny days

Last week, Tyler focused largely on the prolific birdlife in the reserve at the moment. As the rains appear to have eased off, and the mercury rises, I decided to try encapsulate the huge diversity of animals, experiences, sights and photographic opportunities on offer in this little piece of heaven. Enjoy This Week At Angama.  [f 13.0, 1/320, ISO 800, -0.67]

Wilson and map

There really is nothing better than a good old map to orientate yourself before a game drive. Here, Wilson can be seen explaining the afternoon plan to a guest using an illustrated map designed for us by the talented Duncan Butchart. We feel maps are so important to the experience that our next project of guest delight is building an entire room of maps. I can’t wait for the foundations to be laid. [f 4.0, 1/200, ISO 400, +0.33]

elephant walking

Elephants continue to flourish throughout the grasslands. These gentle giants amble across the Mara feeding contently on the swathes of grass. [f 4.5, 1/1600, ISO 160, -0.67]

golden grass

At this time of the year, the grass is a real feature of the Maasai Mara ecosystem. One way to photograph this is to zoom out and show the sheer magnitude of the rolling horizon. The other is to zoom in close, playing with the light in the process. [f 2.8, 1/2500, ISO 320]

serval

Hiding in amongst the grass are treasures. A precious moment lasting just a few seconds, a mother serval, and her kitten, carrying a rodent. [f 5.6, 1/1000, ISO 250, -0.33]

cheetah in thick bush

Whilst the grass can play havoc with the autofocus on a camera, and often makes the view a little more obscured, you can spin this into a positive and try to create images that at other times of the year are not really possible to capture. [f 5.6, 1/640, ISO 640, -1.33]

stork blur

At the end of the day, wildlife photography should be as much about art and self-expression and play, as it is about documenting behaviour and reality. By slowing the shutter right down I was trying to give the feeling of movement as this white stork flew by. [f 36.0, 1/15, ISO 100]

roller catching insect

Like a bolt of turquoise lightning, this roller dropped from the sky. It landed in the grass in a flurry of lilac. Within seconds, it was up on a perch gripping a fat grasshopper in its beak. I watched with intrigue as it made light work of the insect – first squashing it, and then tossing it up into the air, before swallowing it in a single gulp. [f 5.0, 1/1000, ISO 200, 1.33]

hyena walking

The roads are full of activity in the early hours of the morning. This hyena caught my eye, not only was she rotund, but her right eye was glassy and blue. [f 2.8, 1/320, ISO 800]

giraffes

Right at the start of drive, not even outside the boundaries of the lodge, we came across these two giraffe in the midst of a tussle; sizing each other up, pushing bodies and lashing out with their necks. [f 7.1, 1/100, ISO 800, -1]

hippo

The last five days have seen no rain; as a result the Mara River has dropped sufficiently for the hippo pods to return to the river. For the last month or so, these groups have been pushed out of the fast flowing turbulent main channels and have had to settle in the overflows and flooded areas. [f 5.0, 1/1000, ISO 200, -0.67]

Egyptian geese

Egyptian geese are full of attitude. They are ubiquitous and incredibly successful breeders, fiercely territorial towards rival pairs. Whenever a neighbour flies over, as was the case in this photograph, they throw their wings open, stand on their tippy toes, and shout at the top of their lungs: “this land is mine”. [f 5.0, 1/100, ISO 200, -0.67]

hippo vs buff

Although not a great image, I had everything lined up for a special shot. Two of Africa’s Big Five were feeding in a clearing, the hippo was slowly heading in the direction of a buffalo. We positioned the car perfectly. Cameras at the ready, but believe it or not the hippo never raised his head and simply carried on munching. I was sure there was going to be a momentary standoff. [f 5.0, 1/1000, ISO 250, -0.33]

butterflies

All the rain has brought out many flowers, beautiful colours scattered across the Mara. Look closely and you will see butterflies fluttering from flower to flower. [f 5.6, 1/3200, ISO 320, -1]

 lioness1

One morning we came across a solitary lioness who had just discovered a warthog moving parallel to her in the grass. She immediately dropped her body, her muscles flexed and her eyes locked. [f 4.5, 1/1250, ISO 160, -0.33]

lioness2

In an instant she turned from ‘sleepy lion’ into ‘beast-mode’. She sprinted down the road, directly past our car. It was hot and you could hear her panting as she sped to try and get ahead of where she anticipated the warthog was heading. [f 6.3, 1/500, ISO 160, -0.33]

lioness3

She got into position and chased. It all happened so fast that I was not able to photograph it, but I can tell you the warthog side-stepped her, sending the lioness tumbling in the completely wrong direction. Whilst the lioness retreated sheepishly into the shade, looking up we could see the upright tail of the warthog running for miles. [f 4.5, 1/1250, ISO 160, -0.33]

shadows in pavillion

Back at camp, there is always something to photograph. During the course of the day the shadows dance across the Pavilion – leading you towards the bliss of the swimming pool. [f 6.3, 1/1250, ISO 640]

South camp and golden light

Gorgeous late afternoon light illuminates South Camp. [f 9.0, 1/200, ISO 500, -0.33]

Boma

The same kind of incredible light that lucky guests were in for this week at Angama Mara’s newly renovated boma site. Sundowners on the edge of the escarpment; the famous Out of Africa kopje sitting proud in the background. [f 8.0, 1/800, ISO 500, -0.67]

maasai dance abstract

As the sun dips, bringing to a close another memorable day in the Mara, so the Maasai warriors come out in song and dance. [f 22.0, 1/0.4, ISO 1250, +1.0]

BBQ

Fires are lit, lanterns are in place, and dinner is served under a forested canopy in this little corner of Africa. [f 4.0, 1/0.3, ISO 320]

THIS WEEK A YEAR AGO (TWAA #54)

Lion Cub in the Mara

A year ago we were blessed to have the Sausage Tree Pride show us their newest litter. Well at the beginning of this week, we managed to get a very distant view of a lioness, presumably from the Sausage Tree Pride, moving a single cub from one rock to another. Although we are yet to get photos of this newest Mara lion, we are excited at the prospect of more cubs, and fantastic sightings in the near future. At least I know what my goal is for next week.

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.

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