By Adam Bannister
Each day, moments of magic, and hidden gems, come to light at House in the Wild. Last week it was the massive congregation of Grey-crowned Cranes, and this week (for me at least) it was the discovery of a delightful family of Bat-eared Foxes. I came around the corner one chilly morning to find them all bundled up in a pile of the most adorable fluff. Big eyes, and even bigger ears! I look forward to seeing more of these seldom-seen creatures.
I struggle to convey the gorgeous afternoon light, the many rainbows and the dramatic cloudy skies. I was delighted to watch a flock of Egyptian Geese flying across the skies, and managed to capture a few frames of them in front of one such rainbow. We certainly seem to be experiencing a very rainy period here in the Mara. A stark contrast to the rest of the country which is in the middle of a severe, and devastating drought.
The death of an animal as large as a giraffe always creates drama and excitement. Of course, it is sad to see such a peaceful and majestic animal pass, but it’s incredible just how many mouths it can feed at the same time. The Sankai Coalition, together with three lionesses fed for 4 days on the remains of this giraffe, literally a kilometre from camp. Over this period, I returned to the carcass many times and was rewarded with some gorgeous moments and some photographs.
Our other much beloved local big cat, Kisaru, together with her two sub-adult cubs, continue to thrive. Almost every second day she is managing to successfully kill. It appears to me as if she is a bit of a young male impala specialist.
I’m still amazed at how relaxed and comfortable she is around people. It is clear that she enjoys the relative safety of people and on a number of occasions has killed within a few hundred yards of where herdsmen are grazing their cattle. On one occasion a few days ago she even managed to secure an impala kill right next to a mobile cattle boma. These mobile bomas are managed, and moved as part of a regenerative grazing program, by the management of the Enonkishu conservancy. These mobile bomas are used to secure the cattle at night, but also to restore grasslands – a clever technique being used within the northern Maasai Mara. At night they use solar powered flashing lights to deter predators. Keeping the livestock secure in the predator - proof bomas keeps the lions / predators safe too.
Cheetah researcher Dr. Elena Chelysheva paid our area a visit and spent two days observing, and documenting Kisaru and her cubs. Kisaru is fast becoming a celebrity within the Mara, and we are so fortunate to have her in our backyard. Although I was unable to photograph it, I witnessed Kisaru having a brief confrontation with a female leopard one night. After a short, and aggressive spat, both cats luckily moved in different directions – neither cat showing any signs of injury.
We hosted a group of 14 at one of our exclusive Wild Villas. Amani House is so beautiful and makes the perfect venue for functions and parties – a great, and private, escape for big families or gatherings of friends. To celebrate the main night, we brought in a pianist who performed late into the night – glitz and glamour, great music, delicious wine and food. All in all, the most wonderful of nights to punctuate a memorable multi-day safari.
This week we also had the privilege of hosting renowned ornithologist Adam Scott Kennedy. Adam has a huge amount of experience with regards to birding in East Africa and has published a number of books on the subject. He had come to help construct bird lists for us, both in the camp vicinity, and around the conservancies in which we conduct game drives. The team thoroughly enjoyed having him around and spent many hours with him learning some of the finer aspects of bird identification. The challenge is now out to our team to get the first photographic evidence of an African Finfoot – a species he believes should be found in the vicinity of House in the Wild.
With all the animal action taking place around camp, I can’t help myself but have a few hidden motion-triggered camera traps positioned along prominent game trails and roads. I always take great delight in playing back these short video clips which shed light on some of the secrets of the night.
Have a look at the link below to see more action from our Wild camera trap...