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This Week at Angama #211

If you weren't in the Mara Triangle this week you can join Charlotte as she travels vicariously through imagery and video
Above: A hot-air balloon glides gently over the full Mara River

Part of my job is to build the blogs each week and it can be both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because I get to look at amazing photographs and read delightful stories for a living, and a curse because of the ever-present FOMO* which I really should have been warned about. This week has been worse than ever because three of my colleagues from Angama’s South African office have been at the lodge enjoying glasses of wine overlooking the Mara: “Sorry Charlotte, next time!” unhelpfully writes Ryan as he, Ali and Sue send pictures from the lodge.

Photos: Alison Mitchell, Ryan Brown and Sue Van Winsen

Anyway, the joke is on them because here we are enjoying the Mara as well - even if it is remotely and without wine, at least on my part. Thanks to Adam Bannister’s ever-at-the-ready camera, we can set off on a week-long safari too. And as if planned, Adam started the week in my favourite way – in a hot-air balloon.

f 2.8, 1/100, ISO 500
f 3.5, 1/250, ISO 400
f 3.5, 1/250, ISO 400
f 9.0, 1/50, ISO 640
f 5.0, 1/100, ISO 500

The height and movement of the hot-air balloon gives a fantastic overview of the Mara and just how much water it can hold. On average it rains approximately 1 400mm (55 inches) per year and with all that rain comes an abundance of fauna and flora.

f 11, 1/40, ISO 400
f 3.5, 1/00, ISO 400
f 9.0, 1/800, ISO 400
f 5.6, 1/1250, ISO 400
f 5.0, 1/500, ISO 320

As Adam wrote in This Week at Angama #209, out of all the animals, elephants seem to love the water most. Slurping up between four and six litres of water with each trunkful, elephants drink about 225 litres of water a day. Having to look for far-flung sources of water severely cuts down on their precious eating time (about 17 hours a day) so you can imagine how happy they are to have water readily available.

f 10, 1/320, ISO 400
f 4.5, 1/2000, ISO 400

Along with quenching elephants’ thirst, the rains also allow them to throw water-wise practices to the wind and have a very splashy bath or two. Here’s a video of an elephant tea-party that Adam was lucky enough to be invited to (sorry Charlotte, next time!).

Of course, we had some fantastic cat activity too. After thousands of hours spent in the Triangle collectively and even more photographs, we’re slowly but surely coming to recognise and understand the leopards in the Mara. It’s always a delight to see the Shepherd Tree Male who is one of our older and more distinguished characters. Having said that, a guest took a photograph of him acting more like a curious meerkat than an esteemed leopard as he sits on his haunches craning his neck to get a better view over the long grass.

Photo: Bruce Goodsell-King

Alas alack, we’ll have to spend more time with the leopards of the Mara (poor us) because the same guest photographed the Salt Lick Female and an unknown male mating on a termite mound for all the world to see.

Photo: Bruce Goodsell-King

As I’m sure you’ve gathered by now, we’re well familiar with the lions of the Triangle. You can click this link to read our lion guide. This week, we had the pleasure of driving alongside a Nyati male, one of the Mara's 'cool kids'.

f 6.03, 1/1600, ISO 400

Adam also found four very sleepy Inselberg males. Where the fifth one could be is anybody’s guess but I was quite alarmed by the eye injury that one of them was sporting. We’re not sure of the cause, perhaps a brotherly dispute? Or maybe he angered a not-to-be-messed-with female? Whatever it was, he doesn’t seem too phased about it and Adam assures me the Kenyan Wildlife Service will have it all under control.

f 5.6, 1/640, ISO 250
f 5.0, 1/2500, ISO 500

Last but not least; a lioness with a terrapin in her mouth. If one was to look for a terrapin they would do best to look in a pond or any body of water really. The last place I would suggest looking is in the jaws of a lion, but there you have it – never say never on safari!

f 7.1, 1/1250, ISO 200
f 8.0, 1/1000, ISO 200

While I know it’s not the norm, I’ve added in a few pictures of my colleagues from this week. I haven’t seen them in months and without them nothing would happen this, or any, week at Angama. (I also like to slip into conversation as much as possible that some of my colleagues are Maasai warriors - how many desk dwellers can say the same?)

Daniel Leshan
James Sadera
Janet Okindo
The Maasai Warriors
Robert Kiprotich

Notes from the editor:

*FOMO - fear of missing out: fear of not being included in something (such as an interesting or enjoyable activity) that others are experiencing

This Week a Year Ago

This time last year, Laura was also finding great solace in Adam's photographs as she yearned for the wilderness.

Filed under: This Week at Angama

Tagged with:

Angama Team , Lions of the Mara , Maasai Mara , Mara Triangle , Wildlife Photography

About: Charlotte Ross Stewart

Charlotte may be the youngest member of the team, but she is a storyteller wise beyond her years. Tasked with sharing the stories that flow out of Angama on social media, blogs and beyond, her love of people, literature and nature make this the perfect role for her.

Browse all articles by Charlotte Ross Stewart Meet the angama team

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This Week At Angama #145 13 November 2020 While it may have been a quiet week in the Mara Triangle in terms of visitor numbers, the plains are healthy, vibrant and bursting with life, as discovered by Angama's head guide, Sammy Komu By Sammy Komu
This Week at Angama #209 4 February 2022 After last week’s failed attempt to focus on something other than lions, Adam gives it another go – and is mostly successful By Adam Bannister
This Week at Angama #217 1 April 2022 This week, the Photographic Studio doubled — and the team spent some time at Angama Safari Camp testing new gear and sharing stories By Adam Bannister
A Camel Safari in the Big North 29 March 2022 Fulfilling a life-long dream, Kristin and Helle set off on a camel walking safari in the arid landscapes of Laikipia By Helle Sejer-Hansen
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