Archive for January 28th, 2020

A Close Encounter

In 2014 Lee and I made our second trip to South Africa with a side trip to Kruger National Park to see and photograph more spectacular African wildlife. I was excited by the prospect of what we were about to see but had no idea how exhilarating it would become.

Kruger is one of the largest game reserves in Africa and covers an area of 7,523 square miles in the provinces and Limpopo and Mpumalanga. There is a huge variety of animals in Kruger, including the “Big Five”–lion, leopard, elephant, cape buffalo, and rhino–and we were anxious to spot them all.

Detailed Map of Kruger NP

We were driving along with our friends (and guides) Andries and Steffi Van Wyjk when Steffi grabbed her camera and exclaimed, “Lions!” It took a moment before I saw them, but when I did, my jaw dropped and my heart quickened. There in front of us, coming right down the middle of the road, came a line of eleven female lions.

They continued coming until they passed right by our vehicle. They couldn’t have been more than three or four feet from us. Our hearts were hammering and four cameras were clicking furiously as they meandered on by. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have such a close encounter with a pride. This wasn’t the entire pride I’m sure since there were no males with them, but perhaps these ladies were on the hunt. It is the females, after all, who are the hunters.

Later in the day, we finally spotted the king of the jungle. He’d found himself a nice little shady spot for his cat nap, and though he was quite a distance away, it was a thrill to see him. Seeing these magnificent animals at home in their own environment is an honor and a privilege.

Nap Time

So, one of the “Big Five” down and four to go.

To be continued…

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