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As the Angama Foundation launches an exciting new photography competition, The Greatest Maasai Mara Photographer of the Year, Steve Mitchell recounts how it came to be
“Once you do the Mara, you never go anywhere else.”
A recent guest’s review on TripAdvisor reminded us of this oft-quoted maxim, and while the headings are generally reserved for the Great Migration and the dramatic crossings of the Mara River, you may have noticed from previous posts that we also love the Mara at other times of the year, when the permanent residents enjoy a spell of quiet while the mega herds wander the Serengeti. What stands true throughout the year is that the Mara is home to a staggering abundance of animals – both in numbers and species – which thrive on the endless plains and provide safari enthusiasts with indescribable wildlife viewing on a daily basis.
Over the years, numerous wildlife photographers and filmmakers have established themselves with beautiful imagery captured in the Mara. In the 1990s Jonathan Scott and BBC’s Big Cat Diary brought the Maasai Mara onto the TV screens of families across the world, and this audience is now able to enjoy the daily drama between predator and prey streamed live, thanks to the efforts of James Hendry and SafariLIVE. And safari guides lead innumerable photographic safaris to the Mara each year, with both amateurs and professionals seeking that elusive shot: the giraffe at sunrise, the crossing herds and the crocodile that lies in wait, a close-up of the famous lion Scar – the list is endless…
Photography enthralls us as it allows us to capture for eternity that one extraordinary moment. These memories of places, people and wildlife are treasured: maybe simply framed, maybe tucked away electronically and more likely than not, shared with friends and family on social media.
We love images of the Mara and its inhabitants, some that we take, and others that we can only wonder at – and we love this game reserve that we are lucky enough to call home. We want to celebrate the Mara, even louder than ever before and continue to showcase this beautiful and plentiful land to the world. We also want to give back, to ensure the Mara will survive for generations to come by winning the daily battle against poaching, reducing and eliminating human/wildlife conflict, and allowing the surrounding communities to prosper.
So a Grand Plan was made.
We approached the Angama Foundation to see if it would like to run a competition that would achieve all of the above, which Angama Mara would sponsor; we asked Art Wolfe to lead the judging panel, someone beyond reproach in the photographic world; we invited our conservation partners in the Mara to join us; and we would like to ask you, our community, to enter.
Entries open for The Greatest Maasai Mara Photographer of the Year 2018 on the 1st of January 2018. Monthly winners will be chosen January through October and these photographers will become finalists for the annual title, which, besides the bragging rights, includes a prize of US$10,000 in cash plus an unforgettable, all expenses paid 5-night safari for two at Angama Mara (including a private vehicle, and return flights from Nairobi).
Whether you choose to bag the prize in the high season in search of that elusive Great Migration shot, or in the quieter times marveling at the soft green landscapes, stormy skies and game-filled plains, we’ll leave that to you.
Because once you do the Mara, you have to come back.
Note from the Editor: Entries may be taken anywhere in the Mara, during the preceding 12 months prior to entry, and are subject to a small entry fee, payable to the Angama Foundation or one of its conservation partners. Please visit TheGreatestMaasaiMara.com for more.
TAGGED WITH: Angama Foundation, Conservation, Maasai Mara, Photography, Wildlife