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This Week at Angama #208

Giving himself a stern talking to, Adam was determined not to focus on lions this week. The Mara, of course, had other plans...
Above: Robert gets front row seats to the Border Pride's hunting prowess

It’s quite spectacular what happens to the landscape when you add a sprinkling of rain. Overnight, the Mara grasslands transform from a sandy, brown canvas, into a lush, verdant green tapestry. 

f 4.0, 1/160, ISO 3200, -1.33
f 2.8, 1/50, ISO 640

The energy also changes. Like a dry sponge, the soil absorbs the rain and you can feel the release of tension. The dust settles, the foliage on the trees glisten with life and the frogs start to croak. Just like that, the lungs of the Mara take a massive breath of fresh air. 

f 4.0, 1/1000, ISO 400, -1.33
f 8.0, 1/250, ISO 400 | Photo: Robert Sayialel

The end-of-year festivities are now a distant memory, replaced by time spent sitting in front of computer screens, wrapped up in city blocks, back to the grind. The great thing about the Mara in late January is that it is incredibly quiet and the animals are as abundant as ever. You can go for a full-day game drive and see just the occasional vehicle. It’s almost as if you have the entire Mara Triangle to yourself — total bliss.

f 7.1, 1/1600, ISO 320, -0.67

I promise that when I set out this week, I was determined not to get wrapped up in lions. On one drive, I lectured myself whilst setting out at sunrise to put blinders on, not look for lions, and instead try to photograph the other gems of the Mara. Of course, I turned a corner and there sat five lions in the middle of the road. They commanded my attention. There is so much lion action at the moment that it is near impossible to ignore them. So I surrendered.
 
The much-loved Egyptian Pride continues to set up camp around Egyptian Dam. Although we have had decent rains, it is still significantly drier than usual — the result being that dam is a magnet for animal activity.

f 5.6, 1/640, ISO 800, -0.33
f 5.6, 1/640, ISO 800, -0.33

The six Nyati Males continue to grow and mature. These descendants of the Sausage Tree Pride seem to have now established themselves well. It was a real treat to have spent time with them one morning as they marched in single file down the main road.

f 7.1, 1/1000, ISO 320
f 7.1, 1/1000, ISO 320, +0.33
f 4.0, 1/1600, ISO 640, -0.33
f 9.0, 1/400, ISO 640, +0.67

They have also started to mate with two of the lionesses from the Owino Pride. Exciting times lie ahead.

f 4.0, 1/1000, ISO 1250, -0.67
f 8.0, 1/800, ISO 640
f 5.6, 1/1250, ISO 640, +0.33

Robert was lucky to spend time with two lionesses from the Border Pride. He watched in awe as they hunted down a buffalo calf and proceeded to fight, rather dramatically, over the meat. Robert, and just one other vehicle of fortunate Angama guests, watched these graphic scenes take place over the course of an hour or so.

f 5.6, 1/500, ISO 640 | Photo: Robert Sayialel
f 5.6, 1/1000, ISO 640 | Photo: Robert Sayialel
f 5.6, 1/500, ISO 400 | Photo: Robert Sayialel
f 5.0, 1/500, ISO 640 | Photo: Robert Sayialel
f 5.6, 1/500, ISO 640 | Photo: Robert Sayialel

The Sausage Tree Pride has been a little hard to find of late, but they seem to be in good health and the famous Kinky-Tail continues to navigate her pride through somewhat turbulent times. They managed to successfully bring down an adult buffalo which provided this dynamic family with a solid meal.

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

Evening rains result in the most epic of misty mornings. I remember, exactly a year ago, marvelling at the natural carpet that cloaked much of the Mara for the first few hours of every day. Photographically, it is a delight and early mornings spent searching for animals in the mist is one of the greatest highlights of a safari.

f 4.0, 1/200, ISO 640, -1.33
f 5.6, 1/500, ISO 640, -0.33

Another highlight of any safari in the Mara Triangle is the search for the ever-elusive black rhino. Fantastic conservation work means that this area of the Mara is a safe haven for one of the most sought-after animals.

f 5.6, 1/200, ISO 640

This Week Three Years Ago

f 5.6, 1/2000, ISO 320, +0.33

Three years ago, the cheetah Kakenya was dominating the Mara news. How we miss this beautiful female. She was so sleek and elegant, and just a joy to follow and watch as she hunted.

Filed under: This Week at Angama

Tagged with:

Angama Mara , Lions of the Mara , Maasai Mara , Photographic Safari , 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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