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This Week At Angama #169

Part of the joy of spending time in the Maasai Mara is turning right when all the other vehicles turn left. Adam takes us on a short adventure as he explores the path less travelled
A misty sunrise punctuated by a solitary elephant

While it may sound strange to some, for me, driving and exploring an area of the reserve that I don’t know all that well is just as exciting as a great sighting. Sometimes, I will set out on a morning drive with the sole intention of finding a ‘new’ area. It may be a grassed-over track, an under-appreciated viewpoint or a majestic, but unnoticed tree.

Huge rainfall over the last two years and reduced tourism numbers have meant that many of the roads in the Mara have been unused for extended periods of time. Believe it or not, there are some roads that haven’t been driven at all this year.

Adam explores every part of the Mara Triangle and delights in whatever he can find

I love exploring parts of the Reserve that others tend to overlook. I guess it’s a quest for wilderness and a search for the unusual and unknown. That bubbling excitement you feel inside when you spot a leopard, or a pride of lions, that haven’t been sighted by another soul for ages. Perhaps today is the day that I see something that no-one else has ever seen before?

Leopard sightings are always a thrill f 4.0, 1/1600, ISO 400, -0.67

It is probably this personal mission that causes me to refrain from using the vehicle radio to listen for sighting updates. I am a bush-boy through and through and take huge joy in getting to know the lie of the land and building an intimate relationship with the ecosystem. Reading the subtle clues that the grasses tell you about the soils, watching the daily movements of animals as they forage and rest. Sitting still and observing.

The best way to while away the hours... f 6.3, 1/500, ISO 200
Elephant herds this time of year are plentiful f 6.3, 1/1000, ISO 320, -0.67

One of the joys of having a weekly photographic blog post is that it forces me to be creative. It pushes me to find new things, showcase unusual behaviour and paint subjects in a fresh light. It encourages me to go out on each drive with intent.

The suns rays catch all sorts of treasures at first light f 4.0, 1/1600, ISO 250, -1.33

I highly recommend that when you come to the Mara, you stay for long enough to dedicate at least one day to exploration. Get off the main track, forget about the pressure of ticking off the Big Five, and instead look for the beauty that lies in the Mara’s hidden gems.

Here, there is magic around every corner.

Lilies up close f 6.3, 1/80, ISO 125, +0.67
There is endless activity in areas such as this one f 6.3, 1/125, ISO 125, -0.33
A flock of cattle egrets attempt to chase off a perched martial eagle f 3.5, 1/320, ISO 125, -0.67
Two young impala rams battling it out f 5.6, 1/320, ISO 800, -1.0
A small group of topi in single file f 5.6, 1/640, ISO 200, -1.67
Whistling ducks in flight f 8.0, 1/640, ISO 400, +0.67
Eye-level with a couple of unusually relaxed eland f 5.0, 1/3200, ISO 320, -0.67
An elephant mother helps her youngster back onto its feet f 4.0, 1/640, ISO 400, -0.33
A member of the Owino Pride looks out across the burnt grasslands towards a herd of topi. f 4.5, 1/3200, ISO 250, -0.67
Sunrise photography in the Mara does not disappoint f 2.8, 1/200, ISO 100, +0.3
A blanket of fog gently coats the Mara Triangle f 2.8, 1/800, ISO 100, -0.7

This Week A Year Ago TWAA#116

Olalashe, Prince Mkia’s Brother f 8.0, 1/640, ISO 400, -0.67

A year ago, we were in the midst of unprecedented rains. Even the roads turned into streams. All animals had moved away from the Mara River, which had broken its banks and was flooding the surrounding grasslands. Olalashe was maturing fast and in the process of taking control of the Owino Pride.

This Week Two Years Ago

Pioneers of the 2019 wildebeest migration f 4.0, 1/8000, ISO 800, +0.33

Two years ago we had a pioneer group of wildebeest hanging around, incredibly confused. They were a few months early and seemed to be wondering around aimlessly. Believe it or not, we nearly had an April river crossing. At the last second, they stepped back from the Mara River, turned around and walked away – heading back south into Tanzania.

This Week Three Years Ago

Buffalo Birth photographed by Tyler Davis f 5.6, 1/1000, ISO 200 – photo by Tyler Davis


Three years ago Tyler Davis, and the guiding team (who were on a training drive), were fortunate enough to watch a buffalo giving birth – a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Filed under: This Week at Angama

Tagged with:

Big 5 , Big Cats , Landscape Photography , Leopard , Lion , Maasai Mara , Photography , Safari

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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