During our Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park trip in July/August 2013 lion sightings were dismally lower than we had hoped for. Towards the end of our trip we were camping in Mabuasehube on the Bo| tswana side. Sightings of any animals were very scarce and the local lion pride hadn’t been seen in a few days. One night we were suddenly woken up from our sleep by some lions roars – some were really close. They were even roaring from behind some bushes in our campsite, though we did not manage to see them – just the footprints they left behind.
In the morning at dawn we could not wait to set off in search for them! We tracked the direction of their roars through the night so we had a rough idea where to start looking and we drove in that general direction, eyes peeled. We soon hit the jackpot. We were on a narrow track with our view obstructed by some bushes and all of a sudden we were surrounded by a pride of lions. Most of them left, after staring us down for a while, but two youngsters were left behind, playing and grooming each other just by our car.
I had my 300mm lens set up on my camera which was way too much glass for this situation, but I knew that these lions would soon be following their pride so I did not dare change it. Better to get some tightly framed photos than none at all. I also had an additional problem. Every time I moved the lions would get really curious and come right up to the car to sniff it. I had my window open so that I could take photos so it suffices to say I was not too comfortable with them looking at me straight in the eye a mere meter or two away with just air between us! All safari guides like to tell you that animals see safari vehicles as one object and cannot make out the persons inside. At this close range, I beg to differ! The resulting images from this encounter are all framed ultra tightly, but on the upside this framing gives them a sense of intimacy reflecting the actual close encounter. The perfectionist in me still aches when she sees the missing ears and chins but I guess the eye contact sort of makes up for those shortcomings!
Techs: Canon 7D | Canon 300mm 2.8 IS II | f/2.8 | 1/200s | ISO 200