A Morning in The Mara

Date 2024/03/13 13:56:43 by Darren Donovan

We set off early on the second day of our Masai Mara safari, hoping to get a nice silhouette with the rising sun. Luck was on our side, and we found a few Topi perfectly positioned on the crest of a ridge, only a few - minutes drive from Mara 0lapa camp. We got our settings right, and the sun rose perfectly behind our subject.

|Little did we know that our luck was only just beginning!

A few minutes later, we saw 3 lions coming up the slope towards us. One male was hot on the heels of a lioness, and the other male a hundred meters or so behind. This could only mean, that we were going to be in for some action. Either from the pair mating, or the other male might get a little bit too close which would result in slightly more than a scolding from his coalition mate. With this in mind, we checked our settings, to be ready for anything that might happen. Our problem was that the sun had gone behind a bank of clouds, and being just after sunrise was still quite weak. This forced us to increase our ISO significantly to ensure that we had at least a slightly acceptable aperture and shutter speed for the upcoming exploits of these magnificent animals. 

It didn’t take long, and the pair starting mating. We waited for the aggressive dismount, and good grief it was hostile! At the start of the marathon 3-4 day mating period, the act itself is quite painful for the female and lashing out is extremely common. And her reaction definitely indicated that they were right in the initial parts of the affair.

After the act, she launched herself fiercely at him, leaving the male with a slightly dejected yet undeterred expression. The show must go on! A few minutes later, the other male did get a bit too close, and the chase ensued but unfortunately behind some bushes and then over the ridge and we were unable to follow. The victorious male however, came over the ridge triumphantly. What a start to the morning!

All images & text by Darren Shaun Donovan