The wild wanderers of Savannah – an unforgettable journey by river Mara
It was the end of monsoons and winters were just about to set in here in India. In the wilderness of Africa what was about to unfold was amongst the greatest spectacles on earth- the great wildebeest migration in full swing… It was a spontaneous thought that led my wife and me to decide to head to Masai Mara, to witness the migration.
We stayed at the Governor’s Camp in Masai Mara, a heaven for wildlife photographers and wild life enthusiasts alike. This was a great choice to kick off our Masai Mara trip. The savannah kept us on our toes from day one till the end, as we scanned its expanses to witness and get some good shots of the Big Five (African lion, African Elephant, Cape Buffalo, African Leopard, and Black Rhinoceros) in their natural habitat. True to its nature, the savannah did not disappoint.
We were lucky to cover all of the Big Five except the black Rhino. The black rhinoceros or hook-lipped rhinoceros usually move across the Mara River into the bushes to avoid the wildebeest, hence it gets difficult to spot them during the migration season. So we decided to leave them alone and focus on the other big four – the Lion, the Leopard, the African Buffalo, and the African Elephant.
We were fortunate to click some good shots of these magnificent creatures at a very close distance, against the backdrop of the vast savannahs. Truly, this was as close as you could get to the wild animals, it was a wildlife extravaganza! Our guide Mr. Dickson did not leave a single stone unturned to make sure we get the best sightings through the days.
My best moment was when we saw the cheetah after one full day of tracking .We were on the lookout for this magnificent predator from Day 1 and finally got news that it was seen in a particular area alongside the Mara River that very morning. Enthused, we started our journey and finally saw a cheetah in the distance. There it was, sitting on a termite mound, gazing out on her home terrain. My Canon 100-400 lens allowed me to get some great still shots, and I went shutter-happy, when the cheetah decided to get up and walk straight up to our jeep. The next moment, it was us and a curious cheetah walking and sniffing around our jeep and to our shock, it suddenly jumped right on top of our jeep as if to gain a vantage view! But it seemed more interested in us, curiously peeping inside, checking out us and the lens, finally taking the position on the roof of the driver’s seat. A good fifteen minutes passed and we decided to check out the other wild animals. The cheetah nonchalantly jumped off, walked up to the termite mound, turned back and looked at us for the final time, as if to bid us adios!
What an experience it was! An unforgettable journey & a dream come true to get up, close and personal with these beautiful wild animals and the meandering Mara … Definitely a paradise for wildlife photographers & enthusiasts!
Article & Photos by:
Aashay Mandreker is an avid wildlife photographer born and brought up in Goa and now living in Mumbai. Growing up in Goa he had a fierce connect with the drama of nature and hence developed the passion for wildlife photography. He is passionate about animals and is specializing in wild cats photography. In documenting animals through his photographs, he has developed a style of technical excellence combined with a captivating story. Aashay has travelled across India to most of the national parks and has also been to several National Parks in Africa, Including Masai Mara & Serengeti. Wildlife photography is not only his passion, but also a powerful medium to help conserve and protect nature.