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This Week At Angama #132

The Mara is open as is Angama, and the Migration is in full swing. Herds of wildebeest numbering in the thousands have been pouring into the savannah, heeding a call as old as time itself

The difference is immediately clear – once you are in the park there is no denying it, the Migration is truly here and even human activity is picking up again. The Mara’s straw-coloured grassland has been transformed into a veritable ocean of brown and black as the wildebeest take over.

CAMERA SETTINGS - [f 7.1, 1/1250, ISO320, 0.0] Wildebeest herd Mara

Gnus make for noisy neighbours and I recall being told that elephants will usually move away just to get away from the ceaseless grunting. Thankfully, they haven’t quite driven away these gentle giants just yet.

CAMERA SETTINGS - [f 6.3, 1/1250, ISO 400, 0.0] Roadside Elephant

However, as I sat quietly observing this pair of elephant, I understood why the wildebeest are so unpopular with some - even without the wind, the cacophony of their grunts carried for miles and miles.

A leopard watches the endless stream of wildebeest [f 7.1, 1/1250, ISO 400, -0.67] – Mwikali Ndambo

But while they may be a bane for the more polite members of our wilderness family, they are certainly a boon for others. We came upon a female leopard watching patiently as these nervous herbivores skittered past, confident that she would partake in their abundance soon enough.

CAMERA SETTINGS - [f 6.3, 1/2500, ISO 320, -0.67] Vulture landing Mara

Not everyone likes to wait though and some would rather bully others to get a quick meal. A hapless, solitary hyena stood no chance against this wake of vultures who descended upon his spoils. 

CAMERA SETTINGS - [f 6.3, 1/1250, ISO 320, -0.67] Vulture Wings Mara

It’s no wonder they are called nature’s clean-up crew. It was a flurry of feathers as scores of Ruppell’s vultures and African white-backed vultures made quick work of the remains of this kill – sharp beaks nipping both at the flesh and each other in equal measure.

CAMERA SETTINGS - [f 5.6, 1/250, ISO 800, -2] LIon cub on kill

Lions are without a doubt having the time of their lives – the scarcity of prey is a thing of the past, albeit temporarily. 

CAMERA SETTINGS - [f 10, 1/400, ISO 160, -0.33] Lion dragging kill

The Purungat pride was feasting on multiple kills at once when this male decided that it was far too hot and opted to drag his meal into the shade. It was a sizeable wildebeest and it took several minutes with multiple breaks to catch his breath before he was able to complete his task.

CAMERA SETTINGS - [f 7.1, 1/640, ISO 200, -0.33] lioness in falling tree

This lioness and her crew seemed completely disinterested in a nearby herd that was completely oblivious to them. But no amount of crossing our fingers got them to budge, save for the occasional curious peek at their surroundings before resuming their afternoon siesta. 

CAMERA SETTINGS - [f 6.3, 1/1000, ISO 200, -0.33] Lioness on fallen tree mara
CAMERA SETTINGS - [f 6.3, 1/1000, ISO 200, -0.33] Lioness on fallen tree 3
CAMERA SETTINGS - [f 6.3, 1/5000, ISO 400, -0.67] Topi on mound maasai mara

There’s always someone on high alert no matter how peaceful things seem to be and that someone is usually the topi, aptly nicknamed the “snitch” of the Mara. One slightly suspicious move by any predator or perceived threat and he would spot it immediately from his perfectly positioned perch atop the anthill. And his warning call would send everyone scampering for safety.

CAMERA SETTINGS - [f 7.1, 1/2500, ISO 400, -1] Zebra Wound Mara

This zebra bares testament to just how easily things can take a turn and how quick one’s responses need to be in order to survive.

CAMERA SETTINGS - [f 5.6, 250, ISO 125, -1] Mara sunset

It has been a week of incredible sights – from sunrises and sunsets that continue to stun with their breathtaking colour displays to the stark remains of controlled fires that give the landscape an other-worldly appearance. 

CAMERA SETTINGS - [f 11, 1/125, ISO 320, 0.0] Sunset tree mara
CAMERA SETTINGS - [f 7.1, 1/2500, ISO 400, -0.67] Three Zebras Maasai Mara
CAMERA SETTINGS - [f 6.3, 1/1600, ISO 200, 0.0] Lilac Breasted Roller

This lilac-breasted roller seemed to be taking it all in as well, as he perched contemplatively on a branch above me.

CAMERA SETTINGS -[f 6.3, 1/125, ISO 320, -2.67] Lion Stare

I’m yet to witness a wildebeest river crossing and I am excited to finally get to see this marvel for myself. But as I wait, not very patiently if I’m being honest, the Mara has continued to enthral and captivate me with all her other wonders.

This Week Two Years Ago


This time two years ago, even in the midst of the Migration excitement it was business as usual for other animals in the Mara like these two buffalo jostling for space. 

Filed under: This Week at Angama

Tagged with:

Angama Wildlife , Great Migration , Migration , Photographic Safari , Photography , Safari Photography , Wildebeest Migration

About: Mwikali Ndambo

From writing to chocolate making – Mwikali is happiest when using her creativity and working with her hands. Photography gives her the chance to do both in order to tell and share stories of the world around her as she assists in hosting the Angama Photographic Studio.

Browse all articles by Mwikali Ndambo Meet the angama team

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Comments (1):

Alyssa Lapa

14 August 2020

Great series this week. I realized I was able to identify the leopard that you saw, she is identified as the Salt Lick Female and I just wanted to let you know so you could put a name to some spots. :) Be well.

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