They always say the Mara is full of surprises, but I never fully understood this statement until I began calling this place my second home. Each week I’m presented with an opportunity to capture something I haven’t seen before, slowly ticking off my large photographic bucket list in the process.
The unpredictability of each drive means the safari itch will never go away. It remains a constant in my mind, never to be suppressed and I just love it. It’s hard to ever choose a ‘favourite shot’, so this week I have two favourites, the first being this Sausage Tree Pride lioness perched upon a very large rock by the escarpment. The simplicity of the image, combined with her elegant facial expression made this one of my best.
We also encountered the Lamai Males, which crossed over into the Triangle from the Northern Serengeti. It was my second sighting of them, and the best one yet. I must say, the older male is truly a magnificent lion, his full blonde mane and huge frame completes his regal look. A king in his prime, ticking all the boxes of what a lion should represent. He will slowly but surely become one of my favourite lions in the Mara. He and his accomplice seem to be quite at home in the Ngiro-are area. They have been seen mating with some of the Sausage Tree lionesses and may quite possibly cement themselves as the new pride males.
On the following morning, things got off to strong start. A serval encounter is always great, but what’s even more special is that they’re a good omen, at least in my book. Whenever I start the day with a serval sighting, I’m assured of a mind-blowing drive. You may think it’s just wishful thinking, but my experiences always prove otherwise.
As I descended into the Mara Triangle, I found Sammy our head guide parked who then pointed towards the long grasses. Shortly after, a head popped up and was illuminated by the first rays of light, a serval! This one was on the hunt, bouncing up and down getting ready to strike an unlucky rodent. I’m sad to confess I missed that glorious ‘serval jump’ photograph, but I captured the aftermath. Poor mouse.
What followed was nothing short of incredible. As I headed south, I encountered the Border Pride, walking along with three young cubs. They looked like they had come out of an all-you-can-eat buffet, filled to the brim. Oh, such a joy it was to watch these little furballs bouncing around before heading up one of the nearby hills with the rest of their pride, in an attempt to avoid the heat.
Things continued in a similarly fortunate manner. We later encountered the Angama Pride on high alert, closely watching some zebras. The light fell perfectly on these beautiful cats and a backdrop of deep green behind them created great contrast. Everything seemed to work in my favour that day, allowing me to capture one of my favourite images (at least for now). Unfortunately, the only thing that didn’t work out was the hunt, some topis in the distance started running frantically for no reason, spooking the zebras which then darted off. Yet again, I couldn’t decide between monochrome and colour, so I included both.
As we know, golden hour in the Mara is something truly special. Especially when you stumble upon a great subject like Millie the matriarch. Watching her wander through the open grasslands is almost like a meditation, she’s so gentle and graceful. At times it’s almost like her aura evokes an overarching sense of calm, filling the surrounding atmosphere. This is the reason I will cherish every single moment spent by her side.
Exactly a year ago, Mwikali was seeing the Mara with a new outlook - one that defies gravity.
Filed under: This Week at Angama
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