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.
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 trip to Africa was entirely inspired by a forwarded e-mail showing people swimming in the Devil’s Pool right on the edge of Victoria Falls. In order to do this we had to go at low water, which was an incredible experience. However, I can safely say that a return at high water was necessary to truly appreciate the grandeur of the falls.
Where you can see the fall in this picture is where we walked across the last time we were here, it was bone dry. This time, mist swirled everywhere and it didn’t take long for me to get completely soaked.
I found this image of a fisherman in Zambia, with his dugout canoe, that I processed quite a while ago but never posted it. I think at the time I was going through a panoramic phase and decided I needed to post something that wasn’t in this format. Then, I forgot about this image. Upon finding it, I remembered I like it and that it should be online.
Baobab trees really are fascinating. Grand in stature they loom over the Zambian landscape like giants frozen in time. Surprisingly, they are completely hollow on the inside. We got to experience this first hand when our guides took us to a lodge where they’ve actually put a door in the side of one of these mammoth trees that opens up to reveal a bathroom! This discovery was pretty shocking, but I found that people actually used this toilet more shocking. Just above head height, sleeping inside the tree were a handful of bats. I wonder how many people wound up running out with their pants around their ankles after startling the bats.
Another interesting thing about baobabs is that their greatest enemy is elephants. Using their tusks, they peel the trees and eat the bark, causing big holes to form. We can see the result of this practice in today’s picture.