How incredibly lucky can one be to host two back to back safaris and spend two weeks in the Mara Triangle Conservancy at the Wild Eye Mara camp?
Spending a prolonged period of time in any area always amazes me as it affords an insight into the subtle changes and rhythms that take place on varying scales and these two weeks were no different.
As Grant says “It is almost impossible to predict the movements of the wildebeest” and, whilst the migratory herds were literally on our doorstep for most of the first week, heavy rains to the south in Tanzania made it seem as though someone had suddenly pulled a plug out of the bath and the wildebeest all but disappeared.
That being said, we still experienced and witnesses some fantastic river crossings, even if we did end up working a little harder than usual to get these in our second week. Again, as Grant says “Patience pays”.
You’ve heard us say this before but these two weeks epitomised the fact that whilst the migratory herds are a massive draw card to visit the Mara, there is so much more to see and explore in this wildlife haven. The predators of the Mara put on a bit of a show for us and our guests got to witness a number of special interactions between some of the Mara’s big cats. These interactions included:
- Leopard killing wildebeest
- Lion killing zebra
- Hyena killing wildebeest
- Crocodiles killing gazelle and wildebeest
- Lions killing warthog
- Lions taking down a buffalo
- Cheetah chasing gazelle
As you can see, the opportunities we had with the big cats were out of this world and if you’re wanting to capture images with this sort of interaction, the Mara is a pretty good place to base yourself!
One of the Lion sightings that stood out for me was the two females with the small cubs. We managed to spend two afternoons with them with only the Wild Eye vehicles in the sighting till just after sunset.
On one of the afternoons we decided to go across the Purungat Bridge towards the Sand River side of the Mara and were rewarded by spending the afternoon with two big black maned lions. They did put up quite the show and, to add to the drama, it started to bucket down giving us the opportunity to capture the legendary shake of the mane by a male lion after the rain.
Cats and crossings are no doubt highlights but we also spent quite a bit of time capturing other photographic gems of the Mara’s “less charismatic’ critters and scenes.
Bucket list destinations like the Mara are synonymous with bucket list experiences and an hour long flight in a Hot Air Balloon provides the ideal way in which to complete one’s life-changing safari experience.
Not only does it provide incredible perspective of the size and scale of the Mara/Serengetti eco-system but it affords one the opportunity to see the spectacular patterns and shapes which make up the region at first light.
Finally, what is a safari experience without the people! The two groups that Grant and I hosted were enthusiastic and without exception were as passionate about wildlife as they were about their photography.
For me, the Migration safaris that i hosted this year were a subtle reminder of just how dynamic this eco-system is. No two weeks, yet alone years, are ever the same.
To those guests that joined Grant and myself, Thank you. We hope that we have in some small way been able to change the way you see the world!