The largest of the African carnivores, lion are distinctly social animals, living and hunting in prides. Each pride occupies a home range marked by scent, patrolled and ruthlessly defended against intrusion. Males attempting to take over a pride may fight to the death and the outcome will affect crucial issues such as the survival of the cubs. Predominately nocturnal, lion are deceptively lazy, resting in the shade during the day but quickly becoming aggressive if unduly disturbed.
Our first evening game drive on arrival at Little Makalolo Camp in Zimbabwe brought a sighting of lions. It's unbelievably exciting to round a bend and come across something like this. The heart pounds, and you say to yourself "yes, this is really Africa, this is what I've come to experience, these beautiful animals in the wild where they are supposed to be".
These pics show just how close we were able to view - front of our Land Rover above, and Bob's dead ahead, non-eye contact expression below! Being his first safari (and after 50+ years in the claims business), he was a little perturbed at the proximity of these huge cats. Of course he is correct when saying "they are wild animals, we're on their turf, and they're unpredictable". This of course intensifies one's adherence to the rules of the safari experience, and definitely determines the need for a very experienced ranger up front with the rifle, just in case. Fortunately we were safe for the entire three weeks, but we also were cautious when necessary.
Just a yawn to display those very large, sharp teeth! I believe this is a young male starting to attain his mane.
Magnificent cats viewed in the silence of the late afternoon as sunset descended.
Lions are definitely social within their pride, often huddling close and rolling about in gentle play. We stayed to view for some time, talking quietly and taking photos of these magnificent cats.