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  • Mike

Big Cats of the Maasai Mara

It's what everyone wants to see in Africa - Big Cats. Despite once being asked by a South African guide "Which animal do you want to see" and replying "Ground Hornbill", I'm no different in wanting to see the felines.

The Mara is THE place to see the cats. We visited there for two and a half days and saw Lions on every drive, plus the cheetah coalition and a leopard on two of the three days. Again, if you have the time concentrate on one species to get a certain image, you're likely to get the shot here. That said, I'm always torn between the desire to get certain images and the need to maximise our time and see as much as we can, so you are reliant on what nature is willing to show you at any particular time.

We saw lots of male lions but few females and unfortunately no prides with cubs. The cheetah coalition were quite incredible to see. The secretive leopard was quite a brute with a split nose received from some long ago fight. He was not so photogenic because of his scarring and I'll admit I'd hoped for a leopard in a tree, but it was amazing to see it in the open, so confident around the vehicles who all behaved impeccably.

Of course there is an abundant supporting cast of antelope, buffalo, elephant and bird life scattered across the Mara's remarkable landscape,which is characterised by rolling grass plains, criss-crossed by tree lined streams that give it an English countryside look. If you ignore the megafauna, the big difference between the Mara landscape and the English countryside is the absence of human settlements and people. For a Brit it's quite astonishing to see such incredible swathes of grassland without people.

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