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This Week at Angama #204

In our last instalment of 2021, Adam documents the highly-charged lion dynamics unfolding in the Mara, setting the scene for a dramatic New Year
Above: One of the big boys out at dawn.

It’s hard to believe that another year has flown by. However, regardless of the challenges that the year threw at us, the Mara — and Angama — have proved their resilience. The Maasai Mara remains one of the most sought after wilderness areas in Africa.

f 6.3, 1/320, ISO 640, -1.33

On the lion front, this has been a fascinating week when it comes to action and developments amongst the prides.

f 5.6, 1/500, ISO 200 | Photo: Robert Sayialel

Right on our doorstep, a lioness from the Angama Pride has spent the last few days mating with the Bila Shaka males. We are nearly approaching the 2-year mark that these males have been found in the Mara Triangle and they have provided us with some fantastic moments, mating included.

f 5.6, 1/100, ISO 640, -0.33

Koshoke has cemented himself as the dominant male in the Bila Shaka coalition. When he is present all the other males give him space and head for the shade.

f 8.0, 1/600, ISO 320 | Photo: Robert Sayialel

Sadly, there have been no further sightings of the single cub in the Angama pride, and so this dear youngster may already be lost to us. On the other hand, the collared lioness, Mama Kali, is heavily pregnant and we are expecting her to drop any day now.

f 8.0, 1/1000, ISO 500, +0.33

The Paradise Pride, a large pride historically found on the other side of the Mara River in the greater Reserve, moved well out of their normal territory and westwards towards the base of the escarpment. Two members of the Bila Shaka coalition were seen chasing them during the course of the day.

f 10.0, 1/800, ISO 640

This commotion caused havoc amongst the six Sausage Tree Pride young males who decided it was too dangerous to face the Bila Shaka threat. They dropped their tails and ran for the wilderness and are now keeping a very low profile.

f 9.0, 1/200, ISO 400, -0.33

The Sausage Tree Pride enjoyed a buffalo for Christmas and spent the remainder of the day digesting their food, lazing beside a wallow.

f 13.0, 1/400, ISO 500, -0.33
f 7.1, 1/800, ISO 200, -0.67

The elephant numbers continue to blow us away — I keep meaning to do a proper count one on a full day out. It is not unusual to get multiple groupings of over 50 individuals. During the early hours, they can be found in the grasslands feeding, ever so slowly making their way towards the river. From 10h00 onwards, when the sun starts to warm things up considerably, then you need to look no further than in the river itself if you are wanting to spend time with these magnificent pachyderms.

f 8.0, 1/250, ISO 320 | Photo: Robert Sayialel
f 5.6, 1/200, ISO 500
f 5.6, 1/200, ISO 500

The days continue to be hot and alarmingly the rains are simply not falling. Digging into the archives I found an image taken on 27th December 2019. You can see just how wet and flooded the landscape was. Yes, that is a road the waterbuck are wading down.

f 2.8, 1/800, ISO 640, +1.0
f 4.5, 1/125, ISO 640, +1.0

In saying that, the annual Christmas festivities had to be moved inside due to a late cloud-burst. No one was complaining about the much-needed rain. Children from the local Partakilat Primary School came and performed Maasai songs and dances before being treated to a hearty dinner themselves. Plan B saw a quick move of proceedings indoors.

f 6.3, 1/1000, ISO 400, -1.0 | Photo: Eric Averdung

We had had reports of a rarely encountered adult Egyptian Vulture over the last few weeks, but it was only this week that we managed to get a good photo of this majestic vulture. Historically this vulture species was much more common in the area, but for a variety of reasons, it is nearly extinct from the Mara. Every sighting is treated like gold.

f 4.5, 1/1600, ISO 400, -0.67

On the other end of the spectrum are the long-crested eagles; their numbers have skyrocketed since the April/May 2020 floods. My guess is the massive rain back then caused an explosion of grasses which meant richer seed banks. More seeds equal more rodents and more rodents means more snakes. Both of which sit on the top of the diet list for these good looking eagles.

f 9.0, 1/320, ISO 320, -0.33

We are delighted to have received so many guests over this festive season, many of whom have been celebrating various occasions. Nothing brings the Photographic Studio more joy than being asked to do photoshoots for our guests — capturing moments that will live in books or on walls for years to come.

This Week Two Years Ago

f 5.6, 1/2500, ISO 200, -0.67

The single most important word of advice I can give aspiring wildlife photographers is to go low. Two years ago we put together an entire blog on how ‘going low’ can take your photography to a new high.

Filed under: This Week at Angama

Tagged with:

Lions of the Mara , Mara Triangle , 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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