HOME Blog This Week at Angama #289

This Week at Angama #289

It was a week filled with graphic Great Migration river crossings, plus new signs of life from the Angama Pride lioness
Above: Retreat, retreat, retreat

At the moment, there is excitement everywhere you go in the Triangle and it is easy to lose track of time. Between the ongoing river crossings and the mega herds towards the south, the Triangle is abuzz with great sightings.

F 8, 1/1600, ISO 640 | Robert Sayialel
F 7.1, 1/1000, ISO 400 | Titus Keteko

Driving towards the southern part of the Triangle, there are huge herds of wildebeest and zebras from the Salt Lick area towards the border. However, not everyone is happy about their arrival. The elephants try to avoid the herds — and the chaos that comes with them — at all costs, as they invade their usually peaceful home.

F 8, 1/1000, ISO 400 | Robert Sayialel

We're still witnessing some incredible river crossings as more herds brave the waters determined to get to the Triangle. Main Crossing is by far the most croc-infested point along the stretch of the Mara River that cuts through the Maasai Mara.

F 7.1, 1/2000, ISO 640 | Sammy Njoroge

My colleague, Sammy, captured the moment a zebra foal and its mother made their way across the treacherous river. Zebras are very caring and protective mothers that form strong bonds with their young, however, in this case, she stands no chance up against the jaws of a crocodile. The foal desperately tried to fight back but it was a feeble attempt as the croc's jagged mouth eventually goes to work, swallowing entire pieces whole.

F 7.1, 1/2000, ISO 640 | Sammy Njoroge
F 7.1, 1/2000, ISO 640 | Sammy Njoroge
F 7.1, 1/2000, ISO 640 | Sammy Njoroge
F 7.1, 1/2000, ISO 640 | Sammy Njoroge

The U-Crossing point has fewer crocodiles but still provides dramatic scenes of the Great Migration. In fact, there is always danger lurking in the shape of crocodiles, basking in the sun in clear sight of the approaching herds.

F 10, 1/2500, ISO 1600 | Titus Keteko
F 10, 1/2500, ISO 1600 | Titus Keteko

At one point, a trigger-happy crocodile approached the cautious wildebeest herd standing on the bank and lunged at one of them. This attempted attack caused a stampede from both the wildebeest and zebras back up the riverbank.

F 9, 1/2500, ISO 3600 | Titus Keteko

Eventually, the urge to cross the river just becomes too much. All it takes is the first brave individual to take the plunge and the rest undoubtedly follow suit, despite the looming danger. This is what an experienced crocodile would be waiting for — the deep water is where they are the most successful. This time, a young wildebeest nearly made it out but then a crocodile made a vertical lunge knocking its prey back into the river. Once it had the wildebeest by its head, it was never to be seen again.

F 7.1, 1/2500, ISO 1100 | Titus Keteko
F 7.1, 1/2500, ISO 1100 | Titus Keteko

Nearby, another wildebeest almost made a clean escape only to be caught by the tail. Once a crocodile's jaw snaps shut, it rarely lets go of its prize. A tug of war — between life and death — saw the wildebeest at one point nearly pull the croc clean out of the water. Despite the slippery uphill bank, the wildebeest managed to break free and made its way safely to the top of the ravine.

F 5,6, 1/2500, ISO 4500 | Titus Keteko
F 8, 1/2500, ISO 4500 | Titus Keteko
F 7.1, 1/640, ISO 640 | Eric Lemaalo

Moving away from the crossings, we came across the now-independent four young males from the Egyptian Pride. These hunters are also making the most of the abundant prey animals available during the Migration. We have even seen them take on big game like buffalo as they get both stronger and braver.

F 5, 1/2500, ISO 900 | Wilson Naitoi

We also caught up with three of the six Nyati boys after what was undoubtedly a successful night. With stomachs bulging, we couldn't expect much action from these boys as they needed to sleep off their meal which was clearly more than they bargained for.

F 10, 1/1600, ISO 160 | Robert Sayialel
F 10, 1/1600, ISO 200 | Robert Sayialel
F 10, 1/1600, ISO 3200 | Robert Sayialel

As there is plenty to go around in the Triangle, sometimes carcasses are left barely touched by predators. This is great news for the clean-up crews as they benefit from the remains, constantly pecking and fighting each other for a chance to feed. The Rüppell's griffon vulture has a wingspan spreading over two metres and these ferocious birds lunge at one another with hissing raspy sounds while squabbling at carcasses.

F 8, 1/4000, ISO 1250 | Robert Sayialel
F 8, 1/4000, ISO 1000 | Robert Sayialel

To finish off this week, we have some splendid news about the lone Angama lioness. Having been on hiatus from activity for some time, we spotted her just after taking down a topi right below Angama. She looks like she has just given birth and we can’t wait to see the little ones in a couple of weeks. She has not had much luck with her previous litters, as different male lions have killed off their rival offspring before they were strong enough to run away and fend for themselves. This time, we're rooting for her more than ever.

F 6.3, 1/1000, ISO 640 | Alice Mantaine

This Week a Year Ago:

F 9, 1/6400, ISO 2000 | Sammy Komu

The rain came down this time last year, but that had no dampening effect on Nadallah's playful spirit. We're missing our bush princess and her antics tremendously and hope to see her again soon.

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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