Monday, October 11, 2010

Masai Mara: A Showpiece

This year we ran four tours to the Masai Mara. The success of our formula from 2009 meant that the word spread fast, and this year, without changing much, we worked on the exact same formula of
• Small groups of photographers
• The best location in the Mara
• One photographer per bench seat
• The best pro wildlife photographers with exceptional experience of the Mara eco-system
• The best Masai driver guides working in the Mara

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We left the rest to the Mara. I’m of the firm opinion that If I can deliver on the above points, then my clients will have the most memorable wildlife photography safari ever. For the Mara does not disappoint- ever. For sheer intensity of sightings, animal interaction, predator numbers and just actual numbers of animals, this wonderland is exactly that; a wonderland. And it delivers, day in and day out.
To describe everything we saw would be too much of a task. Rather let me talk of one particular day, which blended into the other 21 days I was there.

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First up was a leopard hunting a Kirk’s dik dik. We had the leopard walking through the grass right next to us on top of the river bank. It then slipped into the lugga and stalked to within 10m of the Dik dik. We watched in anticipation, but just as we thought the strike was imminent, the overactive senses of the dik dik caught onto something and the game was up.

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We drove on. I saw some ears through the top of the grass. We stopped to put the bins on them and I saw lion ears, running. Then the faint squeal of a warthog… And all of a sudden it was “pese pese!” (quick, quick) to the driver and “hold on” to the clients. We arrived as one lioness was wrestling the warthog to the ground. Noise filled the air with squeals and grunts of exertion. It was over in 20 seconds. It felt like a year. The cameras at least had their fill of action. Straight from there it was onto a cheetah kill. We photographed till the light was harsh and our stomach’s were calling. Driving onto breakfast we came across some more lions posing and calling through the long grass. OK breakfast really was calling now!

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The afternoon was one of a kind. Not many people will ever get to witness this scene, as it was a combination of factors. I was not there, but the scenes I saw afterwards were of men and ladies who had come back from war. After some of us left camp in the early afternoon, 10-15000 wildebeest crossed camp right in front of the tents. Our clients had the whole crossing to themselves- with thousands and thousands of wildebeest surging across the Mara River in a noise and anxiety that is so overwhelming it affects your emotions to the core. By all accounts it was one of the most intense river crossings that anyone had seen, including our Guide, Greg du Toit, who has 7 seasons of the Mara under his belt...

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To end the day, about another 10 000 crossed the river during the night. We woke to animals thrashing through the bushes in camp, hioking and snorting away.
That’s an example of just one day’s activity in the Mara. Here each day offers something you just cannot fathom is possible.

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Of course it would not be possible without all our clients who trust C4 Images and Safaris to give them the best photographic tour into one of the most fascinating game viewing areas in the world. Also, to our camp staff- Mbogo, Johnathan, Lexy and crew- your service is a delight. Thank you.

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Spending three weeks in the Mara gives one a special insight into how dynamic the area really is. It also gives one an appreciation for how special this eco system is, and how we must over the next few years fight to preserve it. The Mara faces more challenges than ever before. It will be a sad day for humanity if we cause this one last remaining large mammal spectacle, unhindered by man, to come to an end.
I ‘m not sure what I would say to my children when they ask “Why cant we see the migration?”

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1 comment:

June said...

HI Shem,dont know if its only from my side,but the images dont open up??Cheers, June (currently in Italy) still loving your pics :-)