Close encounter with a lion

Before our first gamedrive in Madikwe, our safari guide asked us, “What do you want to see?” Well, we had just been in Pilanesberg and seen both lions and leopards on multiple occasions, but always from far away or hidden in the bushes. So we said, “The big cats, but a little closer!” And boy did we see big cats! “Is this close enough?” our guide asked. It was so close that my 300mm lens almost didn’t want to focus…

Lioness resting

An old lady lioness lying on the ground with a full belly in the sunset. Her eyes seem to plead for some undisturbed rest. Although gamedrives keep their distance and do their best not to disturb the animals’ lives, I sometimes do feel like an intruder in their world…

A moment of tenderness

A brief tender moment between two female lions in the National Zoological Garden in Pretoria. One of the lions is a white lion, a rare color mutation also knows as leucism. There are tales from over 400 years ago about white lions in South Africa. Today, because they were a favorite hunting trophy, there are only a few of these white lions in the wild – one famous example lives in South Luangwa National Park in Zambia.

Celebrating the King

Today in the Netherlands it is Kingsday. Dutch people all over the world celebrate King Willem-Alexander’s 50th birthday.

The lion is called the ‘king of the jungle’. A bit of a strange label, since lions live on the African savanna and not in the jungle. But I can imagine what makes the lion king-like: his┬ámane circles his head like a crown, and his pose is absolutely majestic.

That’s not to say that a lion is never afraid or threatened. Just before this photograph was taken, two lions – locally known as Ginger (the albino) and Garlic – were resting in a very relaxed manner. Then two elephants approached.

The approach

The lions were immediately alert, and moved away when the elephants came closer. Like any earthly king, the lion is not almighty…