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This Week at Angama #219

It’s always good to be back in the Mara. After a short hiatus, Robert couldn’t wait to catch up with the Triangle’s icons including the Border Pride and the Salt Lick Female
Above: The Salt Lick Female Cub scouts out for friend and foe in the long grass

The sight that never gets old, that drive down the escarpment towards the Triangle, is just as magical as ever. The sun peeking over the horizon illuminating with golden light, the mist still lingering in the air before it warms up, the gentle breeze swaying the tall grass and the sounds of African wildlife. Birds chirping in the air, while other sounds come with a hint of danger but the promise of a potentially good sighting.

F 5.6, 1/125, ISO 160
F 5.6, 1/125, ISO 160

This particular day started off a bit slow and I decide to venture into the Egyptian Pride territory in the hopes of seeing its tiny little additions. The long grass, for now, proves to be a challenge as you could be merely metres away from a cat and not see a thing as they blend in so well. But above the ground, the queen of the savannah surveys her territory basking in the sun. This is where she stashes her tiny cubs away from other predators atop one of the Inselbergs.

F 5.6, 1/500, ISO 200

Not far from this Inselberg, I found Slit Lip, one of the Inselberg Males. It’s been a while since I last saw the other members of the coalition: Manywele, Nusu, Ruka and the last unnamed male. He’s a bit skinny but looking much better than when I saw him last and I imagine he must have fed recently which is really good news. I also noticed that he is walking with a slight limp from his left back leg, probably injured from a recent hunt.

F 5.6, 1/800, ISO 160
F 5.6, 1/800, ISO 160
5.6, 1/800, ISO 160

As it started warming up, we watched as he limped his way slowly to one of the nearby bushes away from the heat. Right behind him, the female that I had spotted earlier above the Inselberg, had come down and was watching Slit Lip closely.

F 5.6, 1/800, ISO 160
F 5.6, 1/800, ISO 160

It pays to be good at reading animals’ behaviour and having a keen eye, as often a prey animal broadcasts the presence of a cat. I was almost gone before I noticed a secretary bird looking extremely edgy. My first thought was most likely a snake, as it is what typically excites them. A huge snake probably as the bird was not carrying out its usual stomping action to secure a meal. Curiosity got the better of me and behold, the Salt Lick Female Cub was playing hide and seek in a burrow. I found it a bit odd and a vulnerable position to be in as she was quite literally a sitting duck in that burrow if a lion ever happened to come close.

6, 1/800, ISO 160

This surprise encounter with the leopard had her bolting out of the burrow and immediately she realised she would be broadcasting her location to close-by potential prey. Needless to say, respect and space must always be given to all animals you come across and eventually, she felt comfortable enough to crawl back into the burrow.

F 5.6, 1/800, ISO 160
F 5.6, 1/1000, ISO 320
F 5.6, 1/640, ISO 160
F 5.6, 1/640, ISO 200

The one that got away, that one lucky warthog that held its nerve against the most revered of predators. This happened deep in the Border Pride territory where this 10-member pride were hard at work trying to get to a warthog inside a burrow. A failed attempt at hunting saw the warthog make a lucky escape into a deep enough burrow and the lionesses could not get to it. With the heat of the day at its peak, common sense prevailed and they eventually gave up to seek shelter.

5.6, 1/500, ISO 160
5.6, 1/500, ISO 160
F 5.6, 1/1000, ISO 200
F 8, 1/250, ISO 160

I was most excited this week to see the Owino Pride, a small group territorial to the south of Angama Mara along the Ololoolo Escarpment. I haven’t seen this pride for quite some time now, as Adam explains to me that the last time he saw them they numbered four lionesses and a sub-adult male.  I found three lionesses and the sub-adult male, all looking good.

F 8, 1/500, ISO 200
F 8, 1/500, ISO 200

The old guard nowadays makes a constant appearance as the streak of excellent leopard sightings continues in the Triangle. Never intimidated by the presence of cars and people around him, it makes him the favourite and most photographed cat. The legend of the Triangle himself, we call him the Shepherd Male. May he live long.

F 5.6, 1/400, ISO 400
F 5.6, 1/400, ISO 400
F 5.6, 1/400, ISO 400
F 4.8, 1/500, ISO 320

The preparation for the next Migration is underway as some sections of the Triangle undergo controlled burning thus stimulating the growth of fresh grass. This is a rotational burning to ensure different areas have enough time to grow and mature for a thriving ecosystem.

F 8, 1/250, ISO 160

This Week a Year Ago

f 11, 1/500, ISO 800 | Photo: Douggy Onsongo

This time last year, Douggy's creative eye was drawn to a journey of giraffe whose symmetry delighted and intrigued him.

Filed under: This Week at Angama

Tagged with:

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

About: Robert Sayialel

A passionate photographer and videographer, Robert started his journey working with Amboseli Trust for Elephants in Amboseli National Park, close to where he was born and raised. He honed his skills by photographing the famous big Tuskers of Amboseli and travelling with guests through Kenya’s National Parks, documenting their safaris.

Browse all articles by Robert Sayialel Meet the angama team

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