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This Week At Angama #164

That momentary feeling of losing control, and the realisation that out here you are not the top of the food chain. Adam explores the ‘Safari Bug’ and why it is that people keep coming back for more
A lioness poses dramatically in the rain

The sun rises on yet another perfect day in the Mara Triangle. Perched 1000 foot above the grasslands below, the sounds of Africa waking up drift gently upwards: the distant booming hoot of a female southern ground hornbill, the faint cough in the forest below of a leopard marking his territory, the piercing whistle of a rock hyrax as it spots a raptor soaring high above.

Ground hornbill in a tree f 5.0, 1/5000, ISO 500
Ground hornbill up close f 4.0, 1/400, ISO 500, -0.33

From up here at Angama the views are vast. There can be few greater lookouts in Africa. You can sit back and watch it all unfold through binoculars from the comfort of a rocking chair, or you can jump on board a safari vehicle and drive down the escarpment, and enter into the Theatre of the Wild.

The start of a lovely day on safari f 5.6, 1/640, ISO 1250
Angama Mara red rocking chairs f 2.0, 1/2000, ISO 400, +0.67
An typical early morning scene f 6.3, 1/320, ISO 400, +0.33

Down on ground level nature is at play. A daily life and death battle is taking place as animals jostle for their positions in the food chain. At times it can seem chaotic, at others it resembles an odd appearance of order. Everything is in balance.

A lioness in action f 4.0, 1/400, ISO 500, -0.33
A lioness stalking a topi f 4.0, 1/320, ISO 500, +0.67
The focus of that stare f 4.0, 1/2500, ISO 500, -0.33

On safari we become observers. Momentarily, we are lifted out of our comfort zones, far from the world where we dictate movements, schedules and behaviour, and into a world where we no longer have control.

A typical Mara landscape f 2.8, 1/4000, ISO 125, -0.33
An elephant grazing along the edge of the forest f 5.0, 1/200, ISO 500, -0.67
A serval appears out of nowhere f 4.0, 1/320, ISO 500, -1.0

Our position on the top of the pyramid is challenged as we realise that out here, in the sea of golden grass, we are the outsiders. Watching a lion confidently walk down a path, eyes fixated on its prey, triggers a switch. It strikes us somewhere deep inside: a split second eye contact and a primal flame ignites; adrenalin soars and seconds later the most natural, and addictive high follows. That feeling right there is what we in the safari world refer to as ‘the bug’.

The ‘Swamp Lioness’ leading her daughter f 2.8, 1/400, ISO 640
Lionesses on the road f 2.8, 1/200, ISO 640, -0.67
The flick of a lovely, spotted tail f 4.0, 1/5000, ISO 500, -1.0

It doesn’t take long to bite, and when it does, it latches on and never lets go. And so starts a never-ending quest to see more of the natural world and to explore different corners of Africa. A wonderous love affair that will leave you with no option but to return. Being on safari should always come with an addiction warning.

A profile of a male lion f 4.0, 1/1600, ISO 500, -0.33
Lioness mid yawn f 4.0, 1/2500, ISO 500, -0.33

This Week Three Years Ago

A helicopter view of a topi herd f 5.6, 1/6400, ISO 2000, -0.33

Getting an elevated position over the Mara truly gives a special perspective. Either whilst floating above in the basket of a Hot Air-Balloon, or sitting on the deck back at camp at Angama Mara.

Filed under: This Week at Angama

Tagged with:

Lion , Maasai Mara , Mara Triangle , Photography , Safari , Wildlife , Wildlife 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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