We are on a game drive at Zimanga Private Game Reserve. Two lions had caught and eaten most of a zebra and when we first saw them, they were sound asleep.
We photographed some other birds and animals for a while, and as it got closer to sunset, circled back to see what the lions were doing. Fortunately for us, they began waking up.
It's fun to watch these huge cats and see them act exactly like house cats--yawning, stretching, covering their eyes, rolling over.
A male nyala peeked out of the brush at us, perhaps never knowing how lucky it was that two huge lions were too sated to give chase.
Look at the size of those paws.
When all the stretching and yawning was done, the lions came towards us.
And plopped down on the road in front of us, effectively blocking our way.
I suspect they knoe exactly what they were doing. Is that lion sticking its tongue out at us?
After a time, the lions moved into the brush.
This lion circle the thicket behind it, and we moved forward.
Wrong thing to do!
There's an old adage about letting sleeping dogs lie. The same should apply to lions. We never should have awakened them from their sleep, as you are about to see.
This lion is defecating. The stench that reaches us is overwhelming! Gasps of horror and moans of dismay emanate from the vehicle. "Oh, my God. That is awful!"
It goes on forever. I swear if lions could read, this one would have finished War and Peace and gone back to reread its favorite chapters.
Meanwhile, we are suffocating.
(When you watch this video, note that something dark falls into the grass between the lion's hind feet. I thought the lion had finished its bodily function when it came out of the bushes and when I started this video. The laugh's on me.)
With the lions so close, we couldn't move. I pulled my shirt up to cover my nose. I long for Vapo-Rub.
I have smelled a urine-soaked, musthe-smelling elephant and that doesn't come close to the putrescent reek of the lion's feces. We can't escape it, but have to wait until the lion moves.
At long last, the lion finishes its bowel movement and wander down the road away from us. It climbs an overhanging tree branch to survey its kingdom.
Finally, finally, we are able to escape the area. The revenge of the lions is complete.
It's dusk now, and we head for the lodge. On the other side of the lagoon, the hippos are near shore so we stop to photograph them Soon there are a number of photographers (from other vehicles) sitting or lying on the shore with long lenses pointed at the beasts in the water.
There are lots of yawns from the "river horses" but not from ennui. When a hippo opens its mouth, it is displaying its fearsome weapons. Those sharp tusks that are visible are offset from upper tusks that are hard to see in these photos. They are pure ivory, which makes the hippos vulnerable to poaching.
And off we go.
Margarite grabs a spotlight and illuminates the surrounding area. This is a black-backed jackal.
And then it's back to the main lodge for dinner. Early tomorrow morning I fully expect Marg's promises to be fulfilled. Bring on the birds!