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.
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.
It’s been a while since I’ve made a post. It’s been a pretty hectic couple of weeks with cupmatch and a stag one weekend after the other. On top of that, my usual laptop decided to stop working on me so I’ve been using my old one, which I was shocked to find still works, kind of.
It may be debatable as to whether or not I can claim this photo. I really wanted to get a good shot of a yawning hippo. While on a booze cruise, I had the camera all set and had been trying to catch it on avail. My travel buddy, Harleigh, asked to look through the camera to get a closer look at what was a pretty inactive hippo. Just as she pointed the camera at him, this happened. Harleigh reacted and held down he shutter button, firing off about a dozen shots. This was the best of the bunch.
On my last trip to Zambia, I got to walk with lions and cheetahs. Then, they showed us how they run the cheetahs. A bit of meat is tied at the end of a rope and a winch drags it round a circuit at high speed. The cat takes off after it at amazing speeds, culminating in a cloud of dirt as it comes to a sudden stop and receives its treat.
Even though I knew exactly where and when these cheetahs were going to be running past, it was still pretty difficult catching a photo of them. I like this one a lot, mainly because of the explosions of dirt flying up where the cheetah has pushed off.
Having a few days off, with nothing to do, has resulted in me getting the photos I have to process organized. A lot of the photos I’ve released from my last trip to the Victoria Falls were taken under tricky conditions. I was surrounded by swirling mist which soaked both me and my equipment and obscured my view of the falls, making everything blurry and flat. I got clear shots the first time I was there, but there wasn’t much water about.
This picture, is actually of the first view of the falls you see when you enter from the Zambian side, but it was the last picture I took that day. Apparently, I’d figured out how to deal with the mist by this point. I think I’d gotten more patient, waiting for the mist to clear before clicking the shutter. Looking at the shots I took just before this one, I think I’ve got some more clear images to come.
My first tie on elephant-back safari was on my first trip to Africa in 2011. We went in Zambia. The elephants all have a handler assigned to them from when they’re babies. This little guy was in training, happily trundling along next to its mother. You can see her shadow on the ground where he’s standing.
As you drive from Livingstone to the Victoria Falls, there’s a moment, before you get there, where you can see the mist reaching for the sky directly ahead of you. When you enter the park, before you feel the mist, you can hear the falls roaring in the distance. Before you can see the falls, you feel the air get moist and see the mist swirl around you as you pass the gate. Then, you stop, and your jaw drops as you see the massive curtain of water tumbling into the rift stretching ahead of you. But, this is just the beginning. The gorge continues on and on as you continue to walk. Eventually you reach the end of Zambia, totally soaked to the skin, camera gear screaming for mercy, and the curtain of water disappears into a cloud of mist where it crosses the border to Zimbabwe.
It was at this point that I stopped and watched three tourists, far more prepared than me, with a guide and ponchos, gaze upon what is considered one of the seven natural wonders of the world.