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This Week At Angama #176

The Mara River, the lifeblood of this remarkable reserve, takes centre stage this week, as herds of zebra gather along its banks. Daily they run the gauntlet - dicing with death
Above: a journey of giraffe looks out over the Mara Triangle as it slowly begins to fill with zebra

The focus of the Mara has shifted towards the river with at least 16 zebra crossings over the last few days. All the action is happening at two points known as ‘Main Crossing’ and ‘Cul-de-sac’. Both are famous for outrageously high densities of monster-sized crocodiles. The timings tend to vary, between 11am and 6pm, mostly in the late afternoon.

I have witnessed just one crossing so far this year – somehow I always find myself at the right place but at the wrong time. But far more importantly, our guests and guides are having substantially better luck and you can hear the energy and excitement rippling around the campfire. Guests come back from drives enthused; memory cards full of photographs and videos, unforgettable moments of Mara magic captured forever. 

Topi join the zebra in the mad dash across the Mara River f. 6.3, 1/1600, ISO 250, -0.33
Approximately 300 zebra crossed in this herd f. 6.3, 1/1250, ISO 250, -0.33
The crocodiles lie in wait, ready to pick off any stragglers f. 4.5, 1/4000, ISO 250, -0.67

Charlotte, newly handling Angama’s social media, saw a wonderful crossing on her very first game drive in the Mara. Talk about lucky!

Sipping on a dangerous cocktail f. 5,6, 1/2000, ISO 400, -0.33
Miraculously all the zebras in this herd made it across safely – much to Charlotte's relief

However, away from the river there is still so much going on – plenty to keep you busy day after day. In particular,  I have been bowled over by the giraffe sightings. For some reason, we are seeing mass gatherings of these gentle giants. Journeys in excess of 30 individuals silently meandering across the grasslands.   

A journey of giraffe in back and white f. 7.1, 1/800, ISO 500, +1.33
We get Maasai giraffe here, which are the largest subspecies of giraffe f. 9.0, 1/640, ISO 400
The Maasai giraffe has different shaped 'blotches' that run all the way to their hooves f. 4.5, 1/6400, ISO 640, +0.33

The lions continue to provide endless entertainment and I have heard from the guides that all the prides in the Triangle are starting to show themselves more regularly. The Sausage Tree Pride have been showing off their new cubs, the Inselberg Males are becoming a more dominant force and moving further and further north, the Bila Shaka Males are mating yet again, and the Angama Pride, led by our precious Mama Kali, have been spending a lot of time hanging around in the trees. 

Koshoke, from the Bila Shaka Coalition, peers over the long grass f. 4.0, 1/4000, ISO 640, +0.33
Koshoke is flehmening here (showing his teeth), he must have smelt a scent of a female f. 4.0, 1/2500, ISO 400, -0.33
To the tip of his tail, Koshoke is pure strength f. 3.5, 1/5000, ISO 320, -0.33
Koshoke shows off his pearly whites f. 3.5, 1/2000, ISO 400, -0.33
Two of the Bila Shaka Males casually walk past Lemaalo’s vehicle f. 7.1, 1/200, ISO 500, +0.33
An Angama Pride lioness crosses the track f. 4.0, 1/2000, ISO 320, +0.33
With more and more food becoming available, the lions' energy is up f 3.5, 1/1000, ISO 400, -0.33
Slitlip, the dominant force of the Inselberg Males – has he got the makings of the next Mara legend? f. 5.0, 1/800, ISO 800, -0.67
A lioness from the Sausage Tree Pride calls for members of her family f. 6.3, 1/500, ISO 400, +1
Mama Kali on the lookout for food f. 4.0, 1/1600, ISO 320, +0.33

So as not to be completely lion-focused, there are many other wonderful creatures to be seen throughout the landscape. As mentioned last week, you can feel the palpable energy in the air when out on safari. 

A rare serval at first light f. 4.0, 1/320, ISO 250
A hyena finishing off the last of a zebra meal f. 4.0, 1/5000, ISO 400, -0.33
The details of a yellow-billed stork f. 4.0, 1/2500, ISO 320
A flock of cattle egrets at sunset f. 8.0, 1/320, ISO 400, -0.33
A hippo carrying a load of aquatic vegetation f. 2.8, 1/800, ISO 1250, -0.33

This week also marked two special and important occasions. Firstly, Angama celebrated its sixth birthday – a milestone so beautifully summed up by Nicky in her post. The second celebration was the 20th anniversary of the Mara Conservancy. We hosted the members of the Board for a great night as a way of thanking them for their monumental work in creating and nurturing one of the greatest reserves in Africa. We are so fortunate for the work they do and we love being able to share this landscape with our guests day after day.

Angama's sixth birthday celebrations f. 2.8, 1/500, ISO 100, -1.3
A very happy day for the entire Angama Family f. 2.8, 1/500, ISO 100, -0.3
Happy 20th birthday to the Mara Conservancy f. 5.6, 1/2000, ISO 800
The Mara Conservancy prepares for the high tourist season ahead by fixing the roads f. 7.1, 1/800, ISO 250, -0.3

This Week One Year Ago TWAA #124

One of the Inselberg Males carries a gazelle carcass f 5.0, 1/640, ISO 500, +0.33

A year ago, we were enjoying magnificent sightings of the Inselberg Males. This strong coalition of males continues to provide us with fantastic sightings.

This Week Two Years Ago TWAA #71

The migration is not for those without mettle f 10.0, 1/30, ISO 80, -0.67

Two years ago, the wildebeest Migration arrived very early. The madness of the crossings took its toll on the wildebeest as hundreds of them drowned and washed up along the river banks and rocks. The unfortunate side of nature. 

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This Week At Angama , 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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