Friday, May 14, 2010

Etosha - Elusive Cats - The Lion

In all the years I've visited the Etosha Pans I've never been able to get up-the-nostrils close to any of the big Cats - this last visit was no different but, I did encounter Lion at a distance on two occasions:

The first time we came upon a pride eating their previous-night's kill, they were about 150 meters from the road and it was difficult to get any good shots.

They were finishing-off the remains of some hapless beast. It was impossible to see what kind of animal their prey was but someone told me that it was a Zebra.

There were about 30 to 40 Jackals gathered on the outskirts of the feast, hoping for some scraps. Here one of the male Lions chases some of them off after they ventured too close.

The next day we spotted this male sleeping under a bush about 50 meters from the road - I got the mental impression of a fat golden sausage lying in the shade.

He was obviously feeling satiated from the previous day's kill and we had to wait about half-an-hour before he even blinked an eyelid.

He probably wanted to get rid of us curious humans so he posed for a few shots - nice gnashers hey?

Finally, he became bored and with a great big yawn he lay down and went to sleep again.


I'll probably be in trouble for telling this story but, it involves lions so here goes:

A few years ago my daughters and I were in Etosha when we spotted two lions lying under a tree about 50 meters off the road, like the fellow in the pics above.

We stopped to observe them and within minutes were surrounded by about five carloads of tourists all jockeying for a good viewing position.

Everyone had their windows open, hoping that the lazy animals snoozing in the shade would do something so that they could take photos.

It was steaming hot and uncomfortable but, this was the vibe, the ambiance of Africa - stifling heat, dust, sweat and, best of all, lions in their natural environment. Everyone was entranced, quiet, the air thick with expectation.

We were in a double-cab pickup, my daughters in front and me on the backseat. It was obvious to me that the lions weren't going to provide any show. I was becoming bored so I dreamily reclined on the seat, bare feet sticking out the window.

After awhile, in a near-stupor, I felt the need to break-wind. Unfortunately, what I thought would be a little 'sneaker' turned out to be a thunderclap which destroyed the pristine silence.

Well, except for a muted snigger from one of the cars, there was once again complete silence after my lion impersonation but, the damage had been done, the ambiance shattered.

The girls turned around and glared at me as they tried to become invisible in their seats.

Nadine started the car and we slunk away. Being the coward that I am, I continued lying out of sight on the back seat and let them take the heat of embarrassment.

Needless to say, I was in the dog-box for the rest of the day.

So, on the off-chance that a visitor who was there that day reads this, I'd like to apologize for ruining your African Experience.

Related Posts:

Etosha National Park - A Timeless Experience

Etosha - Elephants



  1. WoW! the big cat is loverly! Thanks for all the wonderful pics. Funny and amusing story - guess the folks round you got the 'lion's share' of the thunderclap!!!

  2. Hehe ... thanks Keats - yes, he was a handsome fellow ... I can't think of a pun to match yours ... :)

  3. Lovely photo's - have you ever thought of entering some of your wildlife photo's into local/African competitions ? (Like those run by 'Getaway' magazine etc ?) lol re. your lion story - isn't that what Dad's are supposed to do though hey - embarrass their children ?!

  4. Home again? I think those photos are quite fecking close enough to wild beasts, thankyou! And the story is a hoot, or a fart; do you daughters read this blog?

  5. Hello Lynda - thank you! - no, I don't think my pics are good enough for those type of competitions, ... maybe someday if I get a really killer shot ... yeah, I think I've embarrassed them a few times, not intentionally though ... :)

    Howzit Dave, thanks - yeah I'm back in the desert again, popped down to Cape Town for a few days - the girls do read my blog sometimes and when they read this I'll probably be in bad odor with them again ...

  6. This is one of your best.
    The pics are great as was the description. Then you topped it off with that story. Great post.
    So you fart like a lion - how many people can claim that?

  7. Thanks lisleman - I'm glad you enjoyed the post and hope you had a good laugh - hehe, yeah, well, I didn't see it that way ... I wish I could have fooled everyone into thinking it was a lion roaring that day ...

  8. your post was worth mentioning - so I did.

  9. Thanks lisleman, I appreciate it ... :)

  10. The cats are lovely. I love them. I'll take them home.

    And you just spoiled my African Experience (smiles).

  11. Here via lisleman.

    Seeing the big cats was one of the best things about visiting the Serengeti for me. Well, it was all astounding, but you know what I mean.

  12. - Hehe Fazlisa - well, I don't know about taking them home, it would cost a fortune to feed them ... hope your next African Experience is better ... :)

    - Thanks for your visit and comment Secret Agent Woman - yes, I know what you mean ... we who live here tend to take these things for granted sometimes though ...

  13. I have a very intermittent internet connection so have only just seen this. Technician due on Monday! Love your pictures, they are great. Also love your story - it could happen to anyone :-) Diane

  14. Thanks for the words of comfort Diane - my kids think I was careless or did it on purpose ... :)

    Hope you get your connection fixed soon, it's such a pain when you can't get online when you want to ...

  15. Wonderful Post.
    For the Pictures and for the Story.


  16. Thanks Andrea - glad you enjoyed the post

  17. I love the big cats. Thanks for sharing them with us. I took a lot of photos of the cats after their kills when I was on safari but mine are no where near as close as yours. What kind of camera are you using?

  18. Forgot to say, I thought your story was a hoot too1 LOL

  19. Thanks Penny - glad you enjoyed the images and my sorry tale ...

    ... I use a Canon 350EOS digital and most of my pictures are taken using a Sigma 28 - 300mm lens.

  20. Oh they are so "cute" .... kitty, kitty, kitty ..... hehe!!! Nice shots Graham!
    Gena D
    Thinking Aloud

  21. Thanks Gena ... hope you'll be coming to take some of your own pics soon ... :)