By Adam Bannister
Looking back over the last two weeks I struggle to believe how great a photographic location House in the Wild really is! You would think that after photographing in the Mara for 5 solid years I would be running out of inspiration; but actually the opposite is true. I’m starting to look at subjects (people, wildlife and landscapes) with a new focus. I’m concentrating more and more on light and art and stories within stories.
Previously in the Mara I had focused a lot more on the sunrises and subjects at first light, (simply due to geography) but I’m starting to realize more and more the strength and beauty of sunsets – and the phenomenal privilege that we have here in the private conservancies to be able to stay out late. Not only do we see animals after dark, but we don’t have to rush back to camp to get out of limited park gate entry and exit times. This freedom and flexibility is reflected in my ability to be out photographing at the optimum times when the light is simply extraordinary- and the cats are just getting active. We are not forced to leave the wilderness when the landscape is at its most beautiful.
We also don’t have to ‘fight’ with all the other cars. Sightings here have a gentle energy to them – they are relaxed, and often completely private. Recently images, and videos, have circulated of dozens of cars in sightings in the Maasai Mara. We are so lucky that is not the case here, and our conservation partners are working hard to keep it like that. We can sit quietly with an animal – soaking in the scene and enjoying the calmness. It is very special.
Over the last few days, we have hosted the globally renowned and the incredibly talented watercolor artist, Tom Shepherd. Tom is helping us to put together vibrant, creative and educational imagery of the local fauna and fauna. He has also been spending time with guests, inspiring them to get involved in the arts, to pick up a brush and allow one’s creative juices to flow. This is his first time in Africa. His first time to see in the wild, the animals he has spent a lifetime painting. We are delighted at his work so far and look forward to sharing the results with those who visit us in the future.
As always, we put a large emphasis in providing a child-welcoming environment – a space and a place where kids can relax, feel at home, feel inspired and have fun. Our Mara Training Centre is unique in the Mara in that it is a space for both community enrichment and guest enjoyment. It is a multi-purpose site that is continually evolving as new ideas take root, and opportunities present themselves. It is an opportunity for kids to interact with other people, to learn skills, and to understand the importance of conservation.
We are in the process of slowly redoing our website, capturing new images of the various rooms and areas which have been rebuilt since the ominous floods of 2020. I thought you may like a little sneak peek as to how the rooms are looking, and some of the newer imagery that will soon be shown on the House in the Wild website.
It goes without saying that the Maasai community are integral in a visit to the Maasai Mara. We are proud to be able to shine the spotlight on this wonderful group of people, and to allow people from all walks of life the opportunity to spend time with the Maasai.
Lastly, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Emmanuel Nampaso for completing the FGASA accredited field guiding course with Eco Training. Each year, House in the Wild plays host to this wonderful training opportunity. 55 days of intensive learning, practical work, theory, revision, assessment drives and exams with fellow students from across the world. We feel honored to partner with Eco Training in sponsoring Emmanuel and helping to enable his dream to become a world-class safari guide. Hongera Rafiki!