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This Week at Angama #195

Eric knew he was in for a great safari when he came across his personal lucky charm: a serval – a sign that the drive ahead was going to be an exceptional one
Above: Be it luck or skill, this week Eric captured his favourite photograph yet

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.

In photography often less is more f 6.3, 1/1600, ISO 320

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.

The older Lamai Male in all his glory f 6.3, 1/2500, ISO 400
His royal demeanour is earning him 'favourite' status f 6.3, 1/2500, ISO 400
This youngster is benefitting from the alliance f 6.3, 1/2000, ISO 400

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.

Good omen or not, seeing a serval is always a thrill f 6.3, 1/400, ISO 1000

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. 

This won't be this serval's only meal - they can eat up to 1.4 kg of meat a day f 6.3, 1/400, ISO 1000

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.

The future of the Border Pride striding out f 6.3, 1/1600, ISO 320
Big fat bellies are a good sign of healthy and happy cubs f 6.3, 1/1600, ISO 320
This young male will enjoy the comforts of the pride until he's about three years old f 6.3, 1/1600, ISO 320

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.

A female of the Angama Pride with her prey in sight f 6.3, 1/500, ISO 320
Eric is always trying to get a new favourite photograph and this one wins for now f 6.3, 1/500, ISO 320
The lioness's golden eyes are a stand-out feature in the colour version f 6.3, 1/640, ISO 320
The choice of aperture setting is highlighted in the black and white version f 6.3, 1/640, ISO 320

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.

Millie and her herd continue to grace the Mara Triangle with their presence f 5.3, 1/400, ISO 500
Her calm demeanour is a joy to be around f 5.3, 1/400, ISO 500
Impressive tusks also make Millie interesting to photograph f 5.3, 1/400, ISO 500

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. 

This Week a Year Ago

Readying for take off over the Maasai Mara

Exactly a year ago, Mwikali was seeing the Mara with a new outlook - one that defies gravity.

Filed under: This Week at Angama

Tagged with:

Lions of the Mara , Photographic Safari , Wildlife Photography

About: Eric Averdung

Born and raised in Nairobi, Eric is a self-taught photographer with a passion for wildlife. Growing up just 15 minutes away from the city's National Park, regular visits sparked his interest from a young age, and lead him to complete his degree in Sustainability and Environmental Management with a focus on conservation.

Browse all articles by Eric Averdung Meet the angama team

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