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Into the Wild #10

Updated: Dec 16, 2022

By Adam Bannister

I know I risk becoming repetitive, when I try to convey, again, just how good the cheetah viewing has been here at House in the Wild. It is sublime!

If I had to choose a single image from the last few days to try to convince you to visit us, I would use this…

In the foreground is a young cheetah, and in the background is our beautiful lodge tucked away, unobtrusively, along the banks of the Mara River. Look closely and you will see the turquoise bathtub of River Cottage, and to the left the shaded verandah of Hippo Cottage. How much joy does this bring to think that this land, just a few years ago, was a commercial bean-farm? And now this same location is a thriving ecosystem and much-needed extension of the Maasai Mara. The restoration project is a huge inspiration, a reminder how nature is so resilient if given a chance. A stay at House in the Wild offers’ guests’ a fresh insight into what is needed in order to protect biodiversity and promote the feeling of inclusivity amongst the community. It tells a courageous tale of conservation; forcing us all to rethink the traditional ecotourism and safari model. It challenges us to think out the box and to look both outward – and inward, when searching for a creative solution to many real-world conservation challenges.

We have been fortunate to have had some rain over the last few weeks. Although this may not have been enough to turn the landscape into an electric verdant green, it has indeed been enough to give the grasses a new lease on life. The elephants are happy, and content and the giraffes look as elegant as ever.

I haven’t spent a huge amount of time with Cheetahs elsewhere in the Mara, and so I am thoroughly enjoying making up for that now. The best part of the Cheetah viewing here is that the landscape allows for a greater level of creativity when it comes to photography. Plus, the low numbers of cars gives so much freedom to manoeuvre, composing images with relative ease. My constant mantra is to capture scenes in a beautiful way. To use light and landscapes to portray the natural elegance of the area, and the tranquility of the scene.

Of course, my favourite subject is lions; so, what could be more exciting, and rewarding to photograph than a merger of these two magnificent cats (lions and cheetahs) – topped off with rich, vibrant, early morning light?

At the start of the week, we were following three of the Sankai Male lions when they came across Kisaru and her two sub-adult cubs. We watched on, with our hearts in our throats, as they proceeded to stalk her little family.

Fortunately, Kisaru and her cubs, had their wits about them. They saw the approaching male lions and ran. The lions followed in pursuit, dark manes bounding across the golden plains. What an epic sight!

The 3rd edition of the UltraMARAthon took place on the 10th December - and what a fantastic event it was. This is a 50km single-day footrace through the conservancies of the Maasai Mara ecosystem. The race can be run either as a relay team, or as an individual and the course takes runners through the most exquisite landscape. Wildlife roams free, adrenalin pulsates through the air and the energy is contagious. Where else can you see a pride of lions whilst out on a run? A journey of 20 giraffes watches on with intrigue, and a herd of 100 wildebeest sprint past at full charge. The proceeds of this charity run, go directly to supporting initiatives in the region that are aimed at protecting wildlife and the environment, and enhancing the lives of the community members who live there. It aims to benefit the rangers of the Mara conservancies and hopes to leave a positive impact to all. It also manages to pull all stakeholders of the Maasai Mara together and highlights the need for us to continue the battle of conserving this fragile and extraordinary ecosystem.

Yet again, House in the Wild jumped at the opportunity to host a relay and refreshment station at the 25km section of the course. Our team went beyond the call of duty to provide hot muffins, mouthwatering fresh fruits, cold water and even steaming hot coffee. Inspiring music egged the runners on, and spectators gathered to cheer the brave souls on. Smiles all around!

The action didn’t stop there as House in the Wild also hosted the unofficial “after-party” entertaining just under 100 runners for ice-cold beers and tasty Nyama Choma (barbeque). Drinks flowed, Morocco beat Portugal in the World Cup Quarter Finals, and people danced the night away. A fitting end, and great celebration of an inspiring and heart-warming day.

Results of the 2022 UltraMARAthon* Full list can be viewed here

50km Individual Men

Julius Mwangi 3:29:07

Stanley Momposhi 3:40:46

Nicholas Martyn 3:41:46

50km Individual Women

Rebecca Wetten 5:26:05

Marieke Geurts 5:36:29

Teona Aslanishvili 6:08:27

4×12.5km Relay Ranger Teams

Oloisukut Rangers 2:53:38

MNC Rangers 3:09:05

Enonkishu Rangers 3:32:05

WINNER Julius Mwangi

As part of our conservation commitment, House in the Wild hosted a guide workshop at the Mara Training Centre. 16 guides from across the Northern Mara Conservancies attended. We discussed best practice, guest experiences, conservation, community engagement, and subtle changes to conservancy rules. We hosted these discussions on how best to ensure that animals, and visitors alike, are kept as safe and happy as possible.

We have a busy couple of weeks ahead, with guests coming to share this beautiful part of the Mara over the festive season, making new friends and memories and enjoying the incredible hospitality of the Wild team for Christmas and the New Year. We are loving the festive mood and excited about what is to come.

We hope you have a wonderful Christmas!


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