Whooping and Roaring

Elephant Pepper Camp happens to be situated smack bang in the middle of prime lion habitat! Vast grasslands surround the luxury-tented camp for as far as the eye can see. Large herds of Wildebeest, Zebra, Topi and gazelle are dotted all over: plenty of food for Africa’s apex predator. So much food in fact that this area houses a lion pride that last month numbered over 25 individuals!

A photograph taken back in January this year showing the huge lion pride resting a few hundred yards from the camp. The arrow indicates the position of Tent 10 of Elephant Pepper Camp
A photograph taken back in January this year showing the huge lion pride resting a few hundred yards from the camp. The arrow indicates the position of Tent 10 of Elephant Pepper Camp – photo courtesy of the camp’s archives.

Where there are lions so there are hyenas. And in this areas there are masses of Spotted Hyenas. Coming from South Africa, I am used to seeing small groupings of four or five individuals. Here, in the Mara, it is not uncommon to come across clans of 20 – 30 patrolling throughout the night. Of course, here at Elephant Pepper Camp, you are allowed to go out after dark for a night-drive, and night is when hyenas and lions tend to get very exciting.

Even if not out in the jeep, even if just in your tent, you get to witness this excitement first hand. The thin canvas walls of your tent allow the incredible sounds of the nighttime to reward your ears. There is absolutely nothing like lying in bed listening to the roar of a lion, the whoop of a hyena, or better still, the two gladiators in the middle of a disagreement!

It happens most nights…

The rounded termite mounds of the area provide the most perfect and comfortable viewing and resting place for lions to survey their territories.
The rounded termite mounds of the area provide the most perfect and comfortable viewing and resting place for lions to survey their territories.
A herd of wildebeest caught the interest of this lioness. She moved too soon and one of the nearby Zebra saw her, alarmed, and gave away her position.
A herd of wildebeest caught the interest of this lioness. She moved too soon and one of the nearby Zebra saw her, alarmed, and gave away her position.
An adult Spotted Hyena walks away with the spoils of a lion hunt...a young buffalo calf
An adult Spotted Hyena walks away with the spoils of a lion hunt…a young buffalo calf
A lioness from the Cheli and peacock Pride moves casually past the car.
A lioness from the Cheli and peacock Pride moves casually past the car.
It is always very special to be allowed the privilege of watching lions mating.
It is always very special to be allowed the privilege of watching lions mating.
In my eyes the lioness is the most gorgeous of the Big Cats.
In my eyes the lioness is the most gorgeous of the Big Cats.
An aerial photo of the Mara River as it snakes it's way through the conservancy. You can clearly see the evidence of the large amount of rain we have had here over the last few days.
An aerial photo of the Mara River as it snakes it’s way through the conservancy. You can clearly see the evidence of the large amount of rain we have had here over the last few days.

Written and photographed by Adam Bannister

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