African Cats

Over the last few months in India I was fortunate enough to be working in areas rich in Tiger, Leopard and Jungle Cat. Now I find myself at SUJAN’s Elephant Pepper Camp in the Mara North Conservancy of Kenya. The Mara is best summed up in one word:

SPACE

Lots and lots of it. The conservancy is roughly 35 000 hectares and borders on the north-western section of the Masai Mara National Park.

The fact that the camp is in the conservancy makes it very special as it gives you the exclusivity, freedom and time, which the national park may not. The animals are exactly the same and you have the freedom to enter the National Park if you so wish. I love Elephant Pepper Camp because there are very few cars in this area and the game viewing is superb. You are allowed to get out your car and walk, and within reason the cars are allowed to go off road. The drives are long, productive and awe-inspiring.

I have had good safari karma thus far as I managed to see a near unprecedented five species of cat in my first three drives.

Enjoy…

A lioness from the Cheli and Peacock Pride marches through the open plain whilst a dazzle of zebra watch on with interest.
A lioness from the Cheli and Peacock Pride marches through the open plain whilst a dazzle of zebra watch on with interest. The Mara is renowned for its lion population. In just the last week I have seen over 30 individual lions.
Cheetah thrive in the Mara. The open grass plains are ideal for these predators to reach gigantic speeds during hunting.
Cheetah thrive in the Mara. The open grass plains are ideal for these predators to reach gigantic speeds during hunting.
I have been pleasantly surprised as to how relaxed the leopards are around Elephant Pepper Camp. They are magnificent cats and to have one walking confidently through open grass is spectacular!
I have been pleasantly surprised as to how relaxed the leopards are around Elephant Pepper Camp. They are magnificent cats and to have one walking confidently through open grass is spectacular!
This is the best sighting of a Serval I have ever had. I worked in the Kruger National Park, South Africa, for close on five years and I was never able to get a picture like this of a relaxed Serval in short grass. A memory that will last a lifetime.
This is the best sighting of a Serval I have ever had. I worked in the Kruger National Park, South Africa, for close on five years and I was never able to get a picture like this of a relaxed Serval in short grass. A memory that will last a lifetime.
And now for the crème de la crème... a rare sighting of a Caracal. It had been years since I had last seen one of these shy cats. Managing to get glimpse of one, let along photographic evidence, is fantastic.
And now for the crème de la crème… a rare sighting of a Caracal. It had been years since I had last seen one of these shy cats. Managing to get glimpse of one, let along photographic evidence, is fantastic.

Written and photographed by Adam Bannister

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