An intimate moment with the Lions of Kenya’s Maasai Mara
We are delighted to feature a guest spot on our blog from Guide and Wildlife Photographer Sarah Skinner, who together with renowned guide and TV presenter Jackson Looseyia hosted a special safari with Wildlife Trails guests to Kenya’s Maasai Mara in February 2015.
Maasai Mara in February 2015. Throughout the 7-day tour our guests were treated to a multitude of fabulous big cat sightings and in the next few weeks Sarah will share some of her images and stories from what was an action packed wildlife fest! Everyone certainly returned with some great images and feedback! Here is the first of Sarah’s field reports below.
Not many people will argue the fact that Kenya’s Maasai Mara is one of the best locations in Africa (at virtually any time of the year) to photograph and view ‘bigcats’ in their natural environment. On the recent special Wildlife Trails safari the Maasai Mara Mara certainly lived up to it’s famed reputation and failed to
disappoint! One particular morning we were treated to a lovely sighting of two sub adult lions. We came across them just as the light had cast its beautiful orange glow over the plains. The two sub adult lions, still young at approx. 2 years old were found just a short distance away from the remainderof their natal pride. Which could be seen in the distance on the brow of the hill.However, although there were more lions quite literally on the horizon we decided to stay with this pair given how active they appeared. Here we spent some time observing and photographing them as they engaged in moments of mutual grooming and play. The light was still partially golden and so it provided a fabulous opportunity to capture some lovely behaviour and images.
Lions are Africa’s only true social cat and this mu tual grooming/head rubbing observed plays a vital role of reinforcing social bonds through scent and touch between pride members. So it was a delight to all of our guests to be able to witness this intimate (and at times quite comical) behaviour first hand. However, it didn’t end there! It certainly paid off to stay with these lions, not only did Wildlife Trails guests enjoy these special moments pictured below but less than 30 minutes later we were all treated to some incredible action as the lions hunted for their breakfast, oh and I forgot to mention the mating spotted hyenas nearby (that’s another blog for another day!). All this before we had even had our own breakfast, just another fabulous morning in the Mara!