Animal Pressure Builds along the Mara River …

Ben’s News from the Masai Mara Migration Photo Safari:

During the night plenty of lion roars echoed across the plains. We could hear that the roaring emanated from close by and sure enough, when headed out in the early morning we immediately found the large male that we saw before. He was accompanied by seven of his pride – a lioness and some subadults. They were playing when we arrived but within moments they were on the move.

The whole pride paced along with determination, and they roared constantly. They looked and sounded really formidable and it sounded as though they were actually looking for trouble with another pride. The male hung back much of the time and then caught up when his pride turned to wait for him. We pulled ahead each time to photograph the lions as they walked towards us through grasslands, open areas and some bushy terrain.

Eventually we left the lions when they disappeared into a wooded area where we thought they would settle during the day.

And just as the lions disappeared from sight we received a call about another pride that had pulled down a buffalo not far from where we were. On the way to the lions we spotted long columns of zebra and wildebeest as they moved steadily towards the Mara river. We realised that they were planning a crossing and we quickly traveled to a convenient spot along the river from where we could watch the arrival and possible efforts to cross the hazardous river.

When the columns arrived at the river, to our disappointment they simply moved back and forth, up and down the river bank. We waited.

Eventually the animals bunched really tightly, as they do just before they attempt a crossing. Then, as we thought they would start to brave the river and its perils, something spooked them and they scattered in all directions.

Well, we thought, that is it for today. So we left and could see columns moving in all directions, but none were close enough to undertake a crossing today.

We saw a serval – but as we could really only see the ears clearly we moved on and bumped into the pride of lions that we left in the morning. We spent the golden sunset hour photographing the male and his pride with some flash as the sun set.

In the morning we hope that the buildup of animals along the river will be enough to start some group attempts to get across …