We saw so many different scenes and wildlife experiences on our second day in the Mara Triangle that I had split this post into two parts.
“If life were predictable it would cease to be life, and be without flavour.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
This was a solitary male lion lying close to the road early in the morning. He was looking into the valley below and would periodically roar. Only after watching where he was looking did we see another male lion, probably his coalition partner, on the other side of the valley. The distance must have been two or three kilometres, suggesting his eyesight and hearing was exceptional.
Across the valley you can see a ridge in the middle distance. His coalition partner was lying on some rocks on that ridge. The roaring back and forth must have confirmed that it was his partner so he got up and started walking down the valley toward his brother-in-arms.
Male ostriches undergo a colour change at breeding season, when their skin turns bright red. This skin colour change signals to the hens that he is ready to mate. The male attracts as many hens as possible by dancing, fluffing his feathers, flapping his wings and swinging his head around while getting down on his knees. I did not see any ostrich hens nearby so he had to do a lot of running to do before he could start dancing.
A young hyaena had tucked itself into the drainage line along the road where it was moist, cool and out of sight for all but the passing vehicles. This character was part of the hyaena clan’s network of scouts on the lookout for opportunities to hunt or steal.
“Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.” ~ Soren Kierkegaard
A buffalo bull watching us closely. He had an impressive boss which he must have been digging into the black cotton clay. The horns are thick, solid bone and are fully formed by the time the buffalo reaches five or six years old. The bosses will only become hard at around eight or nine years of age
There are many buffalo in the Mara Triangle with some herds being hundred or more strong. The next image shows three old “dagga boys” which were following the herd at their own pace. They need to stay together because of the numerous predators in the area.
While we were on the Mara Triangle side of the Mara river, our driver Jimmy, got a message saying that two Black rhino had been spotted on the ridge on the east side of the Mara Triangle in the central plains close to the New Ashnil road. After a thirty minute drive, we crossed the Purungat bridge under which the Mara river flows on its way into the Serengeti. The next image is of the view looking up river from the bridge.
“Water is the driving force of all nature.” ~Leonardo da Vinci
This was the view of the Mara river looking down river into Tanzania.
After a further short drive the other side of the Purungat bridge we found the two Black rhinos on the ridge, a female and her sub-adult calf.
A female Black rhino and her sub-adult calf. Black rhinos are browsers but these two managed to find small shrubs to feed on. A Black rhino calf, when young, usually follows it mother, but this young rhino looked to be around three years old so would soon be on its own.
“If you do not expect the unexpected you will not find it, for it is not to be expected by search or trail.” ~ Heraclitus
This adult female was on alert. She presented an imposing presence. The warmth of the late morning created a haze so we could not achieve pin sharp images but it was wonderful to see the two them nevertheless.
The ever present Tawny eagle searching for left overs.
Later that afternoon the clouds started to build, the atmosphere darkened and became very moody. These two giraffe created an ideal silhouette on the ridge with the cloud build up in the background.
“I am the daughter of Earth and Water,
And the nursling of the Sky;
I pass through the pores of the ocean and shores;
I change, but I cannot die.
For after the rain when with never a stain
The pavilion of Heaven is bare,
And the winds and sunbeams with their convex gleams
Build up the blue dome of air,
I silently laugh at my own cenotaph,
And out of the caverns of rain,
Like a child from the womb, like a ghost from the tomb,
I arise and unbuild it again.”
~ P. B. Shelley
Back on the west side of the Mara river we found a large male leopard lying in a Fig tree next to a small drainage line which was filled with water. There was a female leopard in the area and the guides thought this was the male that had killed her leopard cubs the week before and continued to hang around. This male was quite content to just lie in the Fig tree being partly obscured by branches so he never gave us a chance to see him fully.
The variety of wildlife, the vast scenery and the mood created by the changing weather created endless fascination.
“Sing like no one’s listening, love like you’ve never been hurt, dance like nobody’s watching, and live like it’s heaven on earth.” ~ Unknown
Explore, seek to understand, marvel at its interconnectedness and let is be.
Have fun, Mike.