HOME Blog This Week At Angama # 158

This Week At Angama # 158

An incredibly rare sighting this week, plus Adam shares with us the small joys that listening to the Mara can bring
A large journey of giraffe gather at the Angama airfield

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. 

Five ostriches bathed in a fine mid-morning mist f 3.5, 1/2000, ISO 320, +0.33

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. 

Mara River in flood - 5 February 2020 f 8.0, 1/1250, ISO 400, +0.33
Mara River empty - 5 February 2021 f 7.1, 1/125, ISO 200, -0.33

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 with their six cubs

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.

Water droplets cling to the mane of this male lion f 2.8, 1/200, ISO 1000, -0.67

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.

the most unlikely of friends, trotted up the road together... f 3.5, 1/2500, ISO 500

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.

Maasai warriors sing at dance in the Angama boma at sunset

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.

Up on top of the Oloololo Escarpment there is a wonderful coexistence of wildlife and livestock f 2.8, 1/400, ISO 100, -0.67
An Aardwolf in the Mara Triangle
Incredibly rare and seldom seen

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 One Year Ago

A lioness hunting a warthog f 4.5, 1/1250, ISO 160, -0.33

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

Tagged with:

Angama Wildlife , Mara Triangle , mara wildlife , Photographic Safari , Safari Photography

About: 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.

Browse all articles by Adam Bannister Meet the angama team

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Comments (2):

Kim Banks-Smith

19 February 2021

How wonderful to see an aardwolf! I saw one, fleetingly, on my first visit to Tanzania and Kenya about 8 years ago. It’s pretty safe to say my photo isn’t great but was enough to identify it as definitely an aardwolf. First one our guide had ever seen in fact. Loved the article and photos. Miss Africa and hoping to reschedule the trip I had planned but sadly couldn’t make last year.

    Ryan Brown

    9 March 2021

    It was truly special. We hope you can come back soon and cross off some other animals on your list! -Adam

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