My Itchy Travel Feet | The Baby Boomer's Guide To Travel

Saturday’s Scene: A Close Encounter

2010/02/27by Donna Hull

Lion in South Africa's Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve

Patiently waiting for his next meal

When the safari vehicle pulled up close to a pond in South Africa’s Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve, safari guests from Ivory Lodge, including us, reflexively covered noses and mouths to protect against the putrid smell of a rotting elephant carcass; but it didn’t help much. The guide and tracker both calmly breathed in the obnoxious odor, while the rest of us tried not to gag.

Two male lions lounged near the dead elephant, alternating between gorging themselves and guarding their food source from the vultures that waited in the branches of nearby trees. The handsome lion in this photograph swished his tail to chase away a couple of persistent flies that buzzed near the majestic animal’s eyes. Would he pose for us much longer?

How many more minutes would we have to photograph a  lion up close? When your safari vehicle pulls up to an animal sighting, there’s not a lot of time to change lenses. That’s where a camera like the Panasonic Lumix comes in handy. On this day, I appreciated the 18X zooming capability (current models zoom to 24X). Look at those eyes!

Do you have tips for photographing wildlife? Post a comment to share them. A photography safari is one of our favorite boomer travel adventures.

Thinking about planning an African safari? Check out all the information on our complete Safari Page as well as collection of South African Wildlife Photos, both great resources for active boomer travels in Africa!

Disclosure: I’ve included an Amazon link to the Panasonic Lumix for your convenience. However My Itchy Travel Feet does receive a small percentage of the sale. Thanks for helping to keep us in business.

A boomer travel and lifestyle authority who is exploring the world one activity at a time. Besides writing and publishing My Itchy Travel Feet, she also writes about boomer travel for My Well-Being Powered by Humana, Make It Missoula and is the author of My Itchy Travel Feet: Breathtaking Adventure Vacation Ideas.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

marthaandme February 27, 2010 at 2:20 pm

Wow! I can't imagine how amazing it must be to be so close to a wild animal like this!


Donna Hull
February 27, 2010 at 2:56 pm

Marthaandme, I can't begin to describe how thrilling it is to see wild animals in a safari setting. We watched a pride of lions sleeping in the late afternoon. Two lions were cuddled together. One had his paw placed over his brother's shoulder. Then, one by one they began to wake up. It will forever be one of my most vivid travel memories.


ShutterBugGeek February 27, 2010 at 3:54 pm

What an amazing image! Looks like a beautiful telephoto lens was used. We had planned on going on safari in Kenya a decade ago, but didn't make it. I had considered South Africa recently. Sounds like you had an unbelievable experience!


iwalkwrite February 27, 2010 at 7:26 pm

Great photo – such power and beauty!


Alisa Bowman February 28, 2010 at 1:48 am

I would love to go on one someday. Until then, I'll read about it here.


Fida February 28, 2010 at 4:01 am

That lion looks so relaxed and kingly. What a beautiful animal:)


Ant February 28, 2010 at 10:27 pm

Awesome shot guys. How close did you get for this?


Susan March 1, 2010 at 1:42 am

Really loving your post and its photography. It's a whole different way of seeing a lion so behave like this. Thank you!


Susan March 1, 2010 at 1:45 am

Really loving your post and its photography. It's a whole different way of seeing a lion so behave like this. Thank you!


Anil March 1, 2010 at 8:59 pm

I'm curious as well, how far away were you for this picture? Came out wonderfully; predators look so harmless when they're just hanging out and relaxing.


Donna Hull
March 1, 2010 at 11:42 pm

Thanks for the complements on Alan's photograph. We were in a range rover about 25 feet from the lion. Alan took the shot with a Cannon 5D using a 100 x 400 zoom lens. He had it cranked out to the 400 mark. It's amazing how nonchalant the animals are around the range rovers. As long as guests stay seated and quiet the animals consider us part of the big green thing that lumbers around in their territory. Since they are used to the big green thing (range rover), they ignore us.


Donna Hull
March 1, 2010 at 11:44 pm

South Africa offers an amazing animal viewing experience. Since I've not been to Kenya, I can't compare. Other friends have told me that the viewing in South Africa is more close up and personal while the Kenya safaris offer a grander scene with the migration of the animals. I'll take either one.


March 2, 2010 at 1:45 am

Donna – This is an amazing photo! I hope you didn't get TOO close :)


Mark H March 2, 2010 at 6:21 am

The poor lions always have damaged faces – I guess fighting for a harem of lionesses who do the hunting for you is worth a bit of a a fight. Doesn't the power of these giant cats come tthrough so well even when they are resting.


holeinthedonut March 2, 2010 at 7:40 pm

Alan got a good shot here. Where was the safari?


Cherrye Moore March 5, 2010 at 7:43 am

It *does* look like you are too close. I'm kinda scared for you. ;-)

What a fabulous photo!


African Safari Holidays May 16, 2011 at 6:20 am

Really This is Great shoot and very close..  I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoyed every little bit of it . I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff on your post..


Anne Sigmon December 30, 2013 at 2:01 am

Great photo! And Lumix is a great camera alternative when you don’t want to carry the heavier SLRs.


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