It’s sweltering in Botswana’s Okavango Delta and my clothes are sticking to me like clingwrap when our guide Alen receives word that a solitary male lion has been spotted resting in some thicket not far away. He stops the 4 x 4 to warn us not to stand up in the vehicle when we approach. His caution is very clear and now I’m sticky AND a tad nervous, but the lion – which Alen estimates at between 15 and 20 years old – seems oblivious of our presence.
The big cat is majestic, even in his advanced years, and it’s a smart choice of hideout. He’s surrounded by shady camouflaging brush on all sides like a boma, making camera shots difficult, so Alen moves the safari vehicle around, bringing us at one point less than 4 metres away from this mighty beast whose paws are the size of bread plates.
Perhaps his belly was full, or maybe the heat was just getting to him, but either way the lion ignored us, flopped down and had a snooze while we all watched in awe.
Massive thanks to Alen Makgetho of Fallen Baobab camp whose knowledge and expertise as a guide and his love of the African bush made this amazing experience possible without me being eaten alive 🙂
Guides Simon Mothoiwa (left) and Alen Makgetho (right).
P.S. It really is a small planet we live on. Simon and I struck up a conversation and I discovered that he had spent many years working as a miner on goldmines around South Africa’s far West Rand, an area I covered extensively as a young journalist.