It isn’t always easy to spot a lion especially when they are in the distance. Any game drive finds lots of ‘wood’ lions or ‘stone and rock’ lions! The guides’ familiarity with the landscape means that they notice when the profile of a rock, bush or tree has changed. For me , even with days to get my eye in, I need to see a movement – perhaps a tail flick, or head turn or leaves and branches moving – to spot something in the distance. The photo heading this post is a good example. There is a lion and 3 lionesses resting in the rocky section mid picture. But you really need to look hard to pick them out. It is how it looked from the vehicle. In this case we were actively looking for this group as we had encountered 3 of them earlier but been unable to stay with them.
When we first saw them the we came across two females sitting fairly close to the path. Looking around, we saw a male lion was striding across the ground towards us and obviously had something on his mind. It seems likely that one of the females was close to being ready to mate.
The male walked up the lionesses and one got up and they circled around each other a few times. She wasn’t looking too interested and snarled a little. After a short stand off she stated to walk away and the male followed but at a respectful distance. The other lioness bought up the rear. They went through some scrub land so we couldn’t follow. However, the guide drove around so that we were on the otherside. I was scanning the plain but I still didn’t spot them! Closer to them of course they are obvious.
But if they are lying down they just look like sand or pale rocks/dried lumps of wood. This second group of lionesses are a good example. When you look out across the plain they are not obvious even when you know they are there. Even harder when you don’t know they are there and you are driving along!!
Again once you see them and can use binoculars or get closer they are clear. And once you are in the zone there are sometimes surprising animals or birds very close by. In this case a Corey bustard which was pecking around just behind the dirt mound.
It does get easier with practice and it is part of the excitement of a drive.