Wildlife photos by Yvonne van der Mey

Lions of Kruger National Park and Kalahari Desert

Without a doubt, this is another member of the Big-Five that all visitors to Africa, especially wildlife photographers, are searching for. People admire them immensely as the largest predator and the “King of the Beasts”. At the same time, an ancient fear wells up inside us as soon as the King comes near. It reminds us of a time before humans were the top predators of this planet.

We’ve had numerous encounters with them, and each and every one is special to us. Some of these encounters brought us almost into trouble, sometimes on foot and sometimes from the car. Once in a while we shared our camp at night with a pride of lions in the Kalahari Desert. These nights sure are memorable. During daytime lions have some sort of respect for humans, but at night lions rule the bush.

I remember an old ranger telling us, that if a lion looks you straight in the eyes, he’ll burn two small holes into your soul. I don’t know if that is true, but it is certainly a special sensation, which makes you feel humble and small.