HOME Blog This Week At Angama #134

This Week At Angama #134

This week at Angama has taught me that good things come to those who wait – even those who wait impatiently. It felt like Christmas came early for me and each unique sighting was a wonderful gift
A spotted bush snake quietly passes by on the pavilion deck

"Ask and you shall receive" seems to be the Mara's message to me this week. For almost a month I've listened with envy as both guests and guides have returned to camp to regale me with tales of the most extraordinary river crossings that momentarily had me wondering if I may be cursed.

A herd of wildebeest marching in an orderly fashion across the plains f 10, 1/250, ISO100, -0.33

I’ve never been one to speak things into existence, but after airing my desire to see a river crossing, the universe responded post-haste and it was absolutely incredible.

A pause, as the herd encounters its main obstacle – the Mara River f 8, 1/200, ISO 100, -0.67

I watched as a thunderous cloud of hooves and horns approached over a distant hillside, engulfing the landscape like a writhing blanket before these seemingly ungainly beasts blasted past me with an almost palpable urgency.

Their anxious energy mixed with swells of dust as we were quickly enveloped by the sounds of exhausted snorting and uneasy stomping. The universe didn’t just grant me my wish, it did it in style.

The waters churn as the first group of gnus take the plunge f 8, 1/640, ISO 100, -0.67

The momentum pushed them forward - they contemplated for only mere moments before the first brave soul took the plunge. And then it was game on. And on. And on. It seemed we would never see the end of the herd until at last only one was left.

What had been a successful crossing looked like it would end in tragedy as one wildebeest struggled feebly to find solid footing in the deep waters. By sheer luck the drifting current brought it close to the river bank where it clambered to safety.

Three lionesses enjoy reprieve from the heat under the shade f 5.6, 1/1600, ISO 320, 0.0

And the universe wasn’t done just yet. As I later sat watching the very well-fed Owino pride snooze (as lion tend to do in the middle of the day), I joked about how quickly things would change should one random wildebeest stumble across the scene.

A lone wildebeest caught unaware
Blink and you’ll miss it – big cats execute successful hunts in seconds

And again, the Mara obliged. Just as we decided to leave, a lone wildebeest did indeed make an appearance. A lioness immediately snapped to attention.

A lioness pursues a lone wildebeest at pace f 7.1, 1/1000, ISO 250, -0.67
A lioness subdues her prey through asphyxiation f 7.1, 1/1000, ISO 250, -0.67

It was over so quickly. By the time the wildebeest realised he was a target and attempted to flee, the lioness was already bearing down on him. One critical error – a leap to the left instead of the right – and he was in her clutches. Game over.

A lion cub nibbles on a fresh kill
The fearsome paw of a lioness claiming it's prey

Because they were still full from an earlier kill, the cubs spent their time doing what most of us were told not to do as children and instead played with their food.

A hyrax stands its ground as a spitting cobra retreats into the warmer rocks f 8.0, 1/50, ISO 160, 0.0

Though I spent more time in camp this week, Mother Nature was still determined to answer all my requests; this time the reptilian kind. Although I’m deathly afraid of snakes, I have really wanted to see some up close.

A hyrax and a cobra both want the best sun-bathing spot, who will get it? f 8.0, 1/50, ISO 160, 0.0

The first was a cobra enjoying the day’s ebbing warmth, much to the chagrin of the hyraxes that live in and among the rocky outcrop it had chosen as the ideal sun-bathing site. He slithered away just as I begun to take pictures.

A spotted bush snake in search of a meal f 8.0, 1/60, ISO 100, -0.33

The second was a gorgeous spotted bush snake that let me get closer than I expected him too. I never thought I’d be one to call a snake pretty, but this willowy and emerald creature certainly was.

Zebras and oxpeckers enjoy a symbiotic relationship – oxpeckers stay well-fed while keeping zebra parasite free f 8, 1/200, ISO 160, 0.0

Not all of the Mara’s offerings this week were what I asked for but they were certainly what I needed – zebra delighting me as only they can.

A zebra exhibits the flehmen response f 8, 1/200, ISO 160, 0.0
A zebra rolls in the dust with the likely purpose of removing parasites f 8, 1/200, ISO 160, 0.0

Another week gone by in the beautiful plains of the Mara – now what should I ask for next week?

This Week Two Years Ago

A journey of giraffe photographed by Adam Bannister f 6.3, 1/500, ISO 320, +0.67

This time two years ago, it wasn’t just the wildebeest that spotted the Mara landscape. These giraffe gracefully made their way across the plains that they call home all year round.

Filed under: This Week at Angama

Tagged with:

Angama Mara , Great Migration , mara wildlife , Migration Madness , Snake , This Week At Angama , 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):

Francis Bagbey

28 August 2020

In the Mara 3 years ago and deadly afraid of snakes. Any snake that I might have encountered would have been a deadly mamba. That beautiful bush snake in this blog post would have been an unbelievably deadly mamba!

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