The Life of Predators – Masai Mara Photo Tour 2021
Welcome to the season in the Masai Mara that is full of life and colour, dramatic afternoon skies containing pending short rainfall, and of course, the highlight to our Kenya safari: predators having to work hard for their meals!
From around July to October, migrating herds of Wildebeest & Zebra can generally be found on the plains of the Masai Mara as they feed on the nutritious grasses that sprouted due to rains earlier in the year. These months are a time of plenty for plains game as they feed on the bountiful grasses, with many of the females in the beginning stages of pregnancy. With the migrating herds of Wildebeest, Zebra and gazelle clocking a number of over 2 million, it is definitely a time of plenty for the predators of the Mara.
Fast forward to February, and the Mara’s landscape is vastly different. With the migrating herds having left the Mara and are currently at their next stop; Tanzania’s Southern Serengeti, the grassland savannahs are not as bountiful with plains game as the predators would like.
The Mara North Conservancy is a private concession located north of the Masai Mara National Reserve. While still being a part of the Masai Mara, the conservancies that lie surrounding the Reserve are privately owned with exploration of and staying in exclusive only to the camps on the conservancies and their guests.
This is one of the main reasons we have tailored our Life of Predators Photo Tour to run in the Mara North Conservancy. Less vehicles and tourists equate to more time spent with wildlife without dealing with other vehicle numbers, we are able to drive off-road which allows us to navigate sightings to achieve as best an angle as possible as well as to get to sightings that are not close to the road.
Our accommodation is found overlooking the banks of the famed Mara River with beautiful views of the Olooloo Escarpment. Limited to 5 vast glamping-stype tented accommodations, there is endless peace and serenity found in this intimate setting that you continuously soak up.
Lions have well-defined territories that can range anywhere between 20 square kilometres to 400 square kilometres, depending on the population size of prey animals in their area. The Serian pride is one of the prides in the Mara North Conservancy, and it gets its name from the area their core territory falls in. This so happens to be where our camp, Serian “The Original” lies, and where the prides name comes from. We spent time nearly every day with members of this pride. Photographic sightings included the females feeding on a Zebra carcass, the semi-full pride with 2 dominant males and an under 1 year-old cub harassing a troop of Baboons, and the adult females playing gleefully with each other one evening as the sun disappeared below the horizon – beautiful interaction conveying how strong their bond is with one another.
To top off our last evening with one of the Serian males, we got to watch him too as the sun went down, calling for his pride members. We sat with him for another 30-odd minutes in pure darkness and his booming call flooded our hearts with its deep, resonating power. With him mere meter away from our vehicles, everyone was silent as we just became so present to the moment and internalised our own private thoughts and feelings this sighting brought forth.
Image Copyright Steve Lefkovits | ORYX Guest
Image Copyright Christian Vasters | ORYX Guest
Image Copyright Reni Stutz | ORYX Guest
Image Copyright Rowena Putter | ORYX Guest
The Life of Predators Photo Tour provided my guests and I a truly intimate experience and exploration of this beautiful area and its wildlife. No other vehicles shared the sightings with us so we got to work each scene as we wanted. We spent time with 3 individual Cheetah, watched Hyena playfully chasing a Jackal away from the carcass with the Jackal then turning around and chasing the Hyena – a sighting that created a lot of laughter and shared joy at this display of animal interaction between species.
And then there is the night.
While we are able to photograph into the night hours in the Mara North Conservancy, astrophotography opportunities are available to explore if the weather allows it. Having a night sky image in your portfolio from this beautiful destination does make your experience much more completed. It is also a sensory experience at its best when photographing in wild areas at night! The sounds and smells are amplified as your vision decreases. The night sky wraps around you and you definitely feel so much more connected to the earth around you. With our local guides keeping an eye out for us while you photograph and I check up on all guests, you can safely settle into this new experience and enjoy every moment, even appreciating the eerie whooping calls of Hyena in the distance.
Image Copyright Rowena Putter | ORYX Guest
Image Copyright Christian Vaster | ORYX Guest
There really is no place like Kenya’s Masai Mara. For wildlife photography and to have a holistic safari and nature experience, the Mara North Conservancy is our destination of choice.
Why this safari is for you
My Life of Predators Photo Tour 2022 is available for booking! With the world experiencing travel restrictions, it is more than likely that there will be minimal vehicles & tourists in the Mara, further fuelling the sense of intimacy, peace and privacy while on your safari.
If you would like to extend your photo tour, whether pre- or post-tour, we can make that happen for you whether you would like me to accompany you as your private Photo Tour Leader, or travel solo. Email [email protected] for more information.