On safari in South Africa last spring, we were lucky enough to see one rather docile lion on our very first game drive. We thought that might be our only lion sighting, which more than satisfied us; as safari first-timers, we had few expectations. Little did we know what was in store for us the next day.
It was nearly dusk again when we came upon the open field. He was the first sign of life we saw, but as we got closer (from the security of our open-topLand Rover), we saw a small pride of lions out, likely lounging before heading out to hunt.
Lions are a funny bunch. They’re one of the most powerful, fearsome creatures on land, and yet in some respects, they seem much like any domestic cats: aloof and completely withdrawn.
Maybe it’s just humans they don’t like, considering they draped their bodies over each other as they napped in an intimate way, almost as if cuddling.
Not everyone remained entirely unsuspicious of us, though. One male—tell me he doesn’t resemble Scar—glanced our way and started to meander over in our direction.
Though it was rapidly growing darker (hence the blur….I didn’t exactly want to pop a flash in this big guy’s face) and we were squinting to see, it didn’t take 20/20 vision to tell that he did not look happy.
“Menacing” might be more the word I’d use to describe him. Or maybe “hungry.”
Then, he stopped, sat down and ate us. No, just kidding. I think he was only yawning, though here it looks like he was emitting one Earth-shaking roar.
He turned around once more, then plopped his whole body on the ground, as if he had given up hope on our vehicle full of tasty morsels.
Later, he even posed for us. (I asked him to show me “wistful.”) The rest of the pride went back to ignoring our mere existence.
Meanwhile, we were all happy we’d live to see another day.