On safari-- wildlife and nature photos

Kenya: the
Masai Mara

"Beauty" with kill  (composite image)
ŠJohn Milbank

A leopard with her kill descends a fig tree on the Mara, a name meaning 'spotted place' because of the many trees dotting the grasslands (click images to enlarge them)

Beauty  Beauty

The female, called "Beauty", had hidden her meal, a young impala, in the thick foliage of the tree, but carried it to the ground presumably to look for a new hiding place

Halftail prowling   With impala kill  Opportunist  Unconcerned

I met Beauty one day, her mother Halftail the next. Halftail was so-named because she came off second-best in an encounter with, it is believed, a baboon. We found her feasting on a big impala buck, a kill which was too heavy for her to carry into a tree. Her hunger satisfied, she rested alongside our vehicle; soon after, as night was falling, a spotted hyena took over the remains of the kill. Halftail was not concerned. Even if she'd still been hungry, her experience would have told her not to risk injury and therefore probable death by tangling with the hyena

Pride male   Pride at rest

The Aitong pride: lions typically at rest, in the parklands setting of the Mara

Thomson's gazelle  Space

The Mara's horizon can teem with game such as Thomson's gazelle, or showcase a lone giraffe trimming a tree, but there's always a feeling of space

Browsers &
grazers   Masai giraffe  Lofty view   Giraffe patterns

Masai giraffes making stately progress across the Mara, with wildebeest in the background; and a giraffe in dignified solitude. Of Africa's several races of giraffe, Kenya probably has the two most distinctive: the Masai with its irregular pattern (on the left in the composite image above), and the reticulated of northern Kenya with its clear 'tiles and grout' appearance

Topi  Buffalo

A lone topi, and a herd of buffalo. The topi is a large, fast antelope which gathers in huge herds at times. Its close relative, the tsessebe of southern Africa, is regarded as the fastest antelope

Any vantage point   Vultures gather   Vultures wait their turn   Scram!   Mother's reassurance

A cheetah on a car: not an uncommon sight in the Masai Mara, where some of these beautiful cats are so used to vehicles that they don't hesitate to use them as vantage points, to watch for prey or danger. In a wilder scenario, vultures form a 'dress circle' audience around a cheetah and her kittens as they feed from a fresh impala kill. The kittens beat a strategic retreat when mother loses patience with the vultures. The scavengers, which had spiralled down one by one after spotting the cats' meal, soon returned to continue their wait for scraps

Next page, Kenya's beautiful Samburu country and the Great Rift Valley

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Where the photos were taken
Equipment used in Kenya: Pentax Z70, with Sigma 70-210 af zoom; Pentax Spotmatic, 135mm lens; film, Fuji Superia 200, 400 & 800 & Kodak 1000. The Maplink on the left will show where the photographs were taken. Go to the links below for more images from Africa and from Australia


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    © 1997-2016 Copyright photographs, graphics and text: John Milbank