Normally, local guest are quite versed in the ways of the bush and just enjoy being out and about, trying out a new camera or lens, or enjoying a weekend away with family and friends. Amazingly enough, every once in a while you will come across a guest from SA who has never seen a lion…or perhaps has only caught a fleeting 100 meter visual once when they were driving in one of the national parks. Recently, a guest of mine visiting for a day drive had confessed that all she wanted to see was lions, and if possible, close enough for good pictures. Ok, we can definitely try for that, but as it’s the middle of the day our chances are smaller than on morning or evening drive.

Along we went, spying some stunning zebra and giraffe, a few impala and waterbuck, and some fantastically soaring white-backed vultures and tawny eagles. Then a call came through on the radio from a fellow ranger, at one of the larger dams on the property were two of our very large and beautiful lionesses; one at least two and a bit months pregnant. Excellent! As we approached my colleague pulled out and we were left to ourselves, the bright blue sky, and the lions just two meters off the road. My female guest was thrilled as were al the others joining us that afternoon. She had never been this close to lions before and could not get enough. Beautiful daylight pictures were taken of the two relaxing, allo-grooming, stretching, and cat-napping.

There is nothing better than giving your guests that one sighting they’ve been craving for who knows how long.

Ranger Story: Noelle DiLorenzo (River Lodge Ranger)

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