The primary objective of going on this mid-day safari in Masai Mara Reserve was to try and spot African Lions. It is a different matter that we got lucky and spotted the Giraffes, Elephants and the Cape Buffalo along the way. Back at the resort, Emmanuel, my driver and guide heard that some vehicles had spotted a pair of African Lions during their morning drive in this area. The afternoon sun was beating strongly on the African Savannah. The resulting harsh light was making it impossible to spot a Lion against the backdrop of bushes and Shrubs. We however kept looking for them.
Our efforts were finally rewarded when Emmanuel spotted what looked like the mane of an African Lion under the shade of a nearby shrub. He swung the Land Cruiser around to take a closer look and there they were. A pair of African Lion brothers, beautifully camouflaged in the shade of that shrub, having an afternoon nap (below).
Emmanuel then manoeuvred the vehicle around till I got the best vantage point. I set up the D300, 300 mm f2.8 with 2x TC on a bean bag to capture eye level closeup portraits and handheld the D700, 70-200mm f2.8 for more flexible compositions. In spite of the fact that we had almost run out of time searching for these Lions, we decided to wait for a few minutes to see if the Lions got up. We didn’t have to wait for long. Seeing us parked near the shrubs, another tourist vehicle came rushing to check on us and the noise woke up this sleeping Lion (above). He got up, looked at the approaching vehicle and then turned his attention towards me (below).
Once he realized that I was of no threat to him, he curled up (above) and went back to sleep. Only that his sleeping posture was too good to miss out on and I captured it as the feature (first) image of this post. All this while the other Lion was sleeping and finally he too woke up and sat up to scan the horizon. That’s when we got a full view of his gorgeous mane, and I decided to get just his mane in this composition (below) .
In the meantime, the second Lion stared at me through the foliage and that formed yet another beautiful composition (below). Was it just the noise of the approaching vehicle that woke up these two African Lions or is there more to it is yet another exciting story that we will describe in the next post. Until then enjoy this post and you can also see a couple of our interesting Lion sightings in Welcomed by an African Lion and Dancing with African Lions.