HOME Blog This Week at Angama #243

This Week at Angama #243

With most of the Migration gone, it's buffalo for breakfast, lunch and dinner this week as we catch up with the lions of the Triangle
Above: The River pride looks up from their breakfast

At the moment, the nights are windy and the mornings chilly, but those who brace the cold are rewarded with incredible sightings in perfect lighting. A great combo for photography junkies. By 06h00 in the morning, we were already driving down the escarpment with good intel that the River pride had taken down a buffalo the previous day. Now that the Great Migration has mostly moved back into Tanzania, buffalos have become the lion's prime target. When we arrived at the sighting I counted ten members, including the cubs, gorging on the kill. This pride is thriving under the protection of the Bila Shaka males.

F 5.6, 1/500, ISO 400 | Robert Sayialel
F 5.6, 1/500, ISO 400 | Robert Sayialel

As we continued further to the southeast of the Triangle, we found that another pride had taken down a buffalo in the night. When we spotted them they were making the most of the kill, stuffing themselves full before the heat of the day kicked in. The Triangle has good numbers of buffalos and big herds — the lions seem to know this very well. I caught this beautiful image with balloons flying in the background in the beautiful morning light. They clearly noticed the balloons flying low in the distance but were unbothered by their presence.

F 10, 1/800, ISO 800 | Robert Sayialel

Yet another buffalo down. It is important to emphasise here that killing a buffalo is by no means an easy feat for lions. These 'cows with an attitude' have an imposing size and stature with large curved horns which inspire definite fear. They do not take being attacked lightly and will fight back ferociously. These horns can inflict life-threatening injuries or death to inexperienced lions. To put it simply, they are the bravest and most dangerous prey animals, which is why they are part of the 'Big 5'.

F 8, 1/2500, ISO 1250 | Robert Sayialel

On this particular day, I accompanied some of our lovely guests on a photoshoot while on a drive when we encountered this lone lioness guarding a partially eaten buffalo kill. There was no chance she had taken down this huge buffalo by herself and a quick scan around proved us right. We spotted a few more lions sleeping in the shade 200 meters away. It then occurred to us that this lone lioness was left behind to guard the kill. One by one the scavengers started streaming in like military paragliders.

F 8, 1/2500, ISO 3200 | Robert Sayialel Marabou stork
F 8, 1/3200, ISO 2000 | Robert Sayialel Vulture
F 8, 1/3200, ISO 1600 | Robert Sayialel Vulture

Things got quite interesting as more and more vultures and Marabou storks arrived — this single lioness had her work cut out for her. The stage was set for a very game of interesting cat and mouse as the lioness fiercely guarded the kill under the simmering heat. She huffed and puffed relentlessly chasing the scavengers here and there and with such ferocity. It looked like the birds were taunting her as some flew right above her and her precious kill, possibly to instigate a chase to tire her out. She never quit and was still soldiering on as we left her.

F 8, 1/2500, ISO 1000 | Robert Sayialel
F 8, 1/2500, ISO 1250 | Robert Sayialel
F 8, 1/3200, ISO 2000 | Robert Sayialel

Moving away from dead buffalo to some exciting news: there are three new additions to the Sausage Tree pride. These cubs will be the cutest thing you see this week. It has been a while since we last saw and reported on this pride; they are the ones that gave us the six young males now known as the Nyati Six. The pride seems to be thriving under the leadership of Kinky Tail and we hope to see more of these cubs as they mature.

Photo by guest Vincent Lu
F 6.3, 1/2500, ISO 800 | Wilson Naitoi
F 6.3, 1/2000, ISO 800 | Wilson Naitoi

The birds are not ones to be outdone by the cats in the Triangle. They also make impressive kills, though on a slightly smaller scale of course.

F 6.3, 1/2000, ISO 400 | Robert Kiprotich Black-headed heron with field mouse
F 6.3, 1/2000, ISO 640 | Robert Kiprotich Secretary bird with snake

A giraffe's tongue is a marvel in its own right — just like an elephant's trunk or a monkey's tail, giraffes have a prehensile tongue. This means they have fine muscular control allowing them to grasp and hold things. The strongest of any animal, it can be an impressive 18 inches long. The tallest land mammal uses their tongue primarily to obtain food but can also be used in cleaning out its nose and ears, along with another common behaviour like licking the urine off a prospective mate. I'm sure its very romantic.

F 2.8, 1/3200, ISO 160 | Robert Sayialel
F 6.3, 1/800, ISO 800 | Robert Sayialel
F 7.1, 1/800, ISO 320 | Robert Sayialel

This Week a Year Ago

F 6.3, 1/640, ISO 640 | Eric Averdung

This time last year we watch in awe as two zebra stallions fought for females. With piercing bites and powerful kicks, zebras are able to cause serious damage and in most cases, size really does matter.

Filed under: This Week at Angama

Tagged with:

Maasai Mara , Mara Triangle , Photographic Safari , Wildlife Photography

About: Robert Sayialel

A passionate photographer and videographer, Robert started his career working with Amboseli Trust for Elephants in Amboseli National Park, close to where he was born and raised. He honed his skills photographing the famous big Tuskers and travelling with guests through Kenya’s National Parks, documenting their safaris. A kid at heart, some say he never stops smiling.

Browse all articles by Robert Sayialel Meet the angama team

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