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This Week at Angama #203

An exciting new face and a tragic loss punctuate the week that was. Adam chronicles the latest in the Mara's circle of life
Above: Adam finds the rather large pot of gold at the end of the rainbow

Life in the Mara never stops. Week after week it keeps enduring, shifting and creating. Some aspects of this natural flow we get to witness first-hand, but much of it goes unseen. This week has been packed with action and excitement — sprinkled with conflicting emotions of delight and gut-wrenching sorrow. Having been away for two weeks it feels great to be back in the Mara and behind the camera. 

A big breeding herd of elephants cross the uncharacteristically low Mara River f 10.0, 1/400, ISO 250, -0.33 | Adam Bannister

The Mara River is low and each day we see elephant herds in their dozens congregating on this much-needed water source. We are in the midst of an unusually dry December. Normally, by this time, the grasses are growing tall and the soils waterlogged. Nevertheless, we have still been graced with some beautiful sightings.

An inquisitive baby elephant flexing his muscle f 4.0, 1/1600, ISO 250 | Adam Bannister
From a hot-air balloon, a rare capture of a black rhino in the river f 2.8, 1/200, ISO 500, -0.33 | Adam Bannister
Scenes from a hot-air balloon Photographer: Adam Bannister
Zebras munching in the mist f 2.8, 1/100, ISO 640, -1.33 | Adam Bannister

If It does happen to rain overnight, often the following morning will be absolutely fantastic in terms of lighting. A thin veil of mist sits above the river course and adds atmosphere and emotion to an already beautiful scene.

Mist making everything look enchanting f 6.3, 1/6400, ISO 640, -0.67 | Adam Bannister
A small creche of young impala at first light f 8.0, 1/320, ISO 200, -1.0 | Adam Bannister
A yellow-throated longclaw launching into a chorus as the morning rays warm its beautiful chest f 4.0, 1/800, ISO 200, -0.67 | Adam Bannister
A lilac-breasted roller about to enjoy a frog just as its partner flies in f 6.3, 1/2000, ISO 320, -0.67 | Adam Bannister
A new star: an unidentified male leopard Photo: Jackson Etoot

Leopard viewing has been fantastic this week with at least 4 individuals being observed by the team. The most memorable was of this young, yet to be identified individual, which sat patiently in a Balanites tree, much to everyone’s delight. Guide Jackson Etoot was able to capture some wonderful photos.

The Angama Pride showing off their newest member to our guests Photo: Nadia and Michael Baylis

The highlight of the week was undoubtedly the discovery of a new cub in the Angama Pride. Guests were treated to the sighting of a lifetime as the mother brought her cub out into the open for all to see. She proceeded to tuck the cub away into some long grass and then went off and successfully managed to hunt down a warthog about 500m away. What a sighting that must have been.

This sub-adult cheetah must now go it alone Photo: Nadia and Michael Baylis

This week also produced a wonderful treat in the form of two sub-adult cheetahs that were seen in the southeast of the Triangle. However, in just a matter of hours, sheer joy turned into tears as one of the cheetahs was caught off guard by a nearby leopard and killed. Nature can be so incredibly harsh, and at times we are left thinking how unfair it can all seem. Cheetahs continue to have the odds stacked against them in the Mara Triangle and every sighting is treated like gold. 

The circle of life, always in motion f 5.6, 1/1000, ISO 640, -0.33 | Adam Bannister

Although the migration is now gone there are still herds of a couple of thousand zebra hanging around the border with Tanzania. Will they start moving south, or will we have a resident herd early next year? 

At approximately 850kg each, you don't want to be caught in this stampede f 18.0, 1/10, ISO 100 | Adam Bannister

Photography is as much about art and expression as it is about reality. When I saw a herd of buffalo thundering across the road in front of me I decided to play a little with a slow shutter and try to portray the movement in the image.

One of Africa's smallest cats and elusive cats, the serval f 6.3, 1/1000, ISO 250 | Eric Averdung

This week I ventured out with Eric showing him some of the more remote and lesser-known areas of the Mara Triangle. We came across a serval right beside the track. Being one of the smaller cats found in the Mara, servals tend to shy away from the sound or sight of vehicles. This serval was quite the opposite and approached us, taking a brief moment to investigate our vehicle before crossing the road to search for a meal.

A rarge glimpse of a bat-eared fox family warming themselves in the morning sun f 6.0, 1/1250, ISO 250 | Eric Averdung

For each of us, every week yields a sighting that trumps all the rest. This week, for Eric, it was a sighting of a family of bat-eared foxes. After five months in the Mara, this was his first sighting of these beautiful animals. From their name, it’s obvious that they are known for their most distinctive characteristic, their ears which can grow to over five inches long. These adorable creatures live in small groups and are incredibly difficult to come across. Luck was on our side as we bumped into this small family relaxing in the morning sun, not too far from the Mara River.
 
Wishing you all a joyous festive season from us at The Angama Photographic Studio!

This Week Three Years Ago

A lion scavenges two giraffes that faught to the death

Three years ago we witnessed the most incredible scenes as two giraffe bulls had a fight and they both died! They literally collapsed on impact as they struck each other simultaneously on the heads. For days afterwards lions, hyenas, vultures and jackals feasted.
 

Filed under: This Week at Angama

Tagged with:

Mara Triangle , 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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Join the Conversation (2 comments)

Comments (2):

Francis Bagbey

25 December 2021

Thank you for the amazing moments you have brought us through photography and your commentary. Merry Christmas and best wishes for another amazing year in the Mara.

    Ryan Brown

    28 December 2021

    Thank you, Francis, for following along. Best wishes to you and yours for the New Year!

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