Sundown in the Maasai Mara



Night comes swiftly at the equator, usually at 6 to 6.30 pm. But around 5 pm there is that perfect moment when the light is like molten honey.  This shot was only a quick snap, taken after a game drive, and as we were heading back to camp on the Mara River. Our driver-guide was intent on one last go at spotting a leopard. For our part, we were simply entranced by this scene. Even at the time it seemed as if we had stepped into an oil painting. Besides, this was the most game we’d seen in one place all afternoon. Because that is something that wild life films tend not to show you: that you can drive for hours across the African bush and not see a single animal.


There is also more going on in this scene than is immediately obvious. Behind the zebra are some wildebeest; then the giraffe between the thorns. I’m not sure what the pale animal is on the top left horizon, but from its size I’d say  it is probably an eland. Then if you look carefully  just below the right hand bough of the right hand thorn tree, you might make out a brown dog-like shape. Hyena. There will doubtless be others in the grass. Once it was thought they were only scavengers, moving in on big cats’ kills. But now they are known to be hunters too. They prey on gazelles and larger antelope. Even a lone hyena can bring down a full-grown wildebeest, and pack away 15 kilos of meat at one sitting. They have jaws like industrial meat grinders, and believe me, to come upon one at close quarters, is not recommended.


Sunday Stills: Crowd Work

copyright 2014 Tish Farrell

19 thoughts on “Sundown in the Maasai Mara

  1. The picture and your words truly captured the essence of being in Masai Mara. I can still picture the scene when I close my eyes, even though it has been more than a year since my visit there. It is something that will always be deeply embedded in me…

  2. Nice picture & post! I remember the special light you refer to, it’s beautiful with a hint of magic. And it’s so true that you can drive for hours and not see any animals…but usually patience is rewarded at the end.

  3. It is good to keep away from hyenas when you can.
    They should come with a warning, stay away from me.
    Nice picture as always Tish and your knowledge of Kenya puts me to shame. Don’t tell anyone I come from anywhere close 😀

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