This is the last of my photos from sub Saharan Africa. I’d like to say that I stalked this fellow in the wild to get up good and close before taking this picture, but that’s not the case. I was on a walking tour with two lions. Shortly before arriving we were told that they were on the verge of being too old to walk with people as they were reaching maturity and would become aggressive. They were going to be released into the wild in an effort to repopulate the area at the end of the season.
Llamas have a bad reputation for spitting on people. I can tell you with absolute certainty that that’s a lie, at least where the llamas photographed are concerned. We walked all amongst these guys and they barely batted an eye at our presence.
This is another of my old photos taken with a point and shoot ten years ago. If you look close you can see little pink blobs in the background, those are flamingos. It’s the only place I’ve ever seen a flock of wild flamingos.
It wasn’t long after taking this photo that our guide woke us up at 2 in the morning and ordered us to get packed and ready to leave. We were supposed to fly from Sucre to Santa Cruz two days later, but he had heard there were protests scheduled in Sucre that would prevent us from entering Sucre if we didn’t leave Ayuni immediately.
After loading onto the bus, bleary eyed, we careened along the rough mountain roads, clinging to the cliffs, towards Sucre. Despite our early departure we didn’t make it back before the roads into the city were blocked by the haphazardly placed vehicles of angry bus and taxi drivers. Our guide went on ahead to assess the situation and came back to inform us that we’d have to complete the last few miles into the city on foot.
Apparently we were lucky it was drivers striking and not farmers because it was less likely that they’d throw rocks at us as we passed (That’s less likely… i.e., not completely out of the question). We were still told to stick together and keep our eyes up as we walked through the barricade. As it turned out, the protestors were content to get us off our bus and make us walk with our packs into the city, and we passed through without incident.
It was definitely a situation where using a backpack trumped a rolling suitcase.
So, as it turns out, I had one more photo of the female lion from my lion walk in Zambia left. I’m pretty sure this is the last one though.
She looks pretty intense in this photo because one of the handlers was running back and forth to peek her interest. I’m not sure I’d recommend that myself. It kept things interesting though.
I’m going to take a long trip in Sept/Oct. At the moment the plan is South East Asia… but right now I want to go take more photos of lions.
It’s late, so I picked a picture that speaks for itself… to find out more on this pic, click here.
Once you get over the initial holy-crap-there’s-an-unrestrained-lion-five-feet-away-from-me moment you kind of relax into enjoying your experience walking with lions. Then, the female decides to suddenly burst on ahead and climb 10 feet up into a tree to look down on you and you feel your adrenaline spike again.
If you’re wondering what she’s staring at so intensely, it’s my travel buddy. She works with large animals for a living, but that didn’t stop her from turning her back on the lion up the tree to pose for a picture directly below it. I turned my back on a large cat I was a handler for once, a friendly puma called Gato, and wound up with my hip in its mouth. Thankfully, it only applied light pressure. So, watching my friend turn her back on a freaking lion made me nervous. The guide was fine with it though. He was the one holding her camera.
Today’s photo was taken during a day where we rode elephants and walked cheetahs and lions. The cheetahs are walked on leashes and then you get to watch them chase down a bit of meat, which resulted in this photo. It was an amazing day capped off by coming face to face with the king of the jungle.
We were introduced to two adolescent lions, the female you can see below, and a white male who was starting to get his mane in. Rather worryingly, the guides said that these lions were reaching sexual maturity so would be released onto the reserve soon as they would get aggressive and be too dangerous to walk. The plan is for these captive bred lions to breed in the reserve and produce lions that have had no contact with humans.
Fortunately, for this trip, they were pretty docile, walking along with us a we patted them on the back and held their tails like leashes. The most exciting part was when the female decided to leap into a tree above us. From where she was I’m pretty sure she could’ve pounced on any one us at any moment.