The weather this week has been unusual. Last week it started getting hot and dry, what one would expect at this time of the year. However, over the last few days the rains have returned. Late night showers leave a faint haze across the landscape; it almost looks like smoke in appearance, and I continually find myself breathing in, expecting to catch the tell-tale whiff of a fire. But there is no fire. Not yet.
The rains have been very localised of late. This is most noticeable when we drive through puddles in the road on the way to the river and when we arrive, discover it is alarmingly low. There has been little rainfall upstream in the catchment area of this river so one could think we were in the midst of a drought if your only view was of the Mara River. This stands in stark contrast to the same week last year when we were indeed experiencing a flood.
This unpredictability in the weather is becoming more of the norm. Questions continually pop up in my mind: Was it always like this? Are the extremes getting more extreme? How do the animals cope? What changes will we start to see? Will the wildebeest arrive earlier now?
The Egyptian Pride continue to provide regular viewings. At the moment, there is nothing better for me than to get out into the park at the crack of dawn and drive south in search of this family. The cubs are growing fast, but are still as playful as ever. The mothers are exciting to watch as they are almost always on the hunt. Warthogs seem to be their flavour of the month. Their territory is rich in buffalo with a huge herd of over 500 individuals pretty much sedentary around the dam. This herd however, is too dangerous for this young family, and I hope the pride females don’t get too bold.
Lions continue to dominate the grasslands, and barely a week goes by without some kind of shift in territory or reign. Sit still and listen to the darkness just before daybreak. In the distance a powerful roar. I often think of the senses when I take a photograph. I endeavour to convey sound as much as sight and movement with my photographs.
A Bohor Reedbuck and a Black-backed Jackal; the most unlikely of friends, trotted up the road together for a few hundred meters before parting ways.
A large element of what makes the Mara so special are the people. Filled with pride and colourful in both senses, I have huge admiration for the Maasai warriors, and constantly thank them for being such wonderful custodians of this landscape. It is their relationship with the wildlife that is the reason we still have so much to celebrate.
As the sun sets on another memorable day at Angama, an additional opportunity to listen: the melodic songs of the Maasai can be heard drifting off the escarpment. In the distance you can hear the faint ring of the cowbells as the herds are put away for the night. The night belongs to the lions, leopards and hyenas. Tomorrow morning we will be going out to find them.
Probably the two worst photographs ever posted in TWAA, but of the most rare and seldom seen animal. The excitement of seeing an Aardwolf in the Mara is beyond words. There are only a handful of sightings of this species in the Triangle over the last two decades! I feel incredibly fortunate.
This week, last year, during a break in the rain, I was fortunate to witness this lioness turn from sleeping beauty in to hunting ‘beast-mode’ in the space of seconds. On this occasion the warthog got to live another day.
Filed under: This Week at Angama
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