|Lion family enjoying the lazy days of summer|
IN SABI SABI, SUNDOWNERS BY MOONLIGHT AND AN ENCOUNTER WITH A LION FAMILY
Night falls swiftly in Africa. Under a deep indigo sky where the splash of the milky way shimmers in its bed of starlight, more brilliant for the lack of extraneous light, Bruce stopped the Land Rover for sundowners. He unpacked a picnic hamper stuffed with beer, wine, Scotch and a delicious drink called 'Amarula' made from Marula berries and cream. Baboons and elephants are known to become intoxicated when eating these tasty berries when they fall from the tree and start fermenting. Then a selection of crisps and biltong (dried salted meat much like American jerky) was laid out on the front of the Land Rover. Sundowners by moonlight with the mysterious sounds of an African night all around us. It was magical.
"Now for the lions" said Gunther, one of our companions. Gunther was quite obsessed with seeing a lion. And then, as if by magic, Freddy picked up the pugmarks of the giant cats.
Closeby, in an open space were two beautiful lionesses surrounded by seven cubs of varying age. The females, with coats the colour of caramel that blended with the sand and dried leaves in their resting place dozed, whilst their cubs tumbled in play around them. For an hour, like silent watchers at a wake, we sat no more than 15 feet from the group with Freddy keeping guard from his exposed perch.
Just 24 hours later, cocooned in the quiet sterile world of South African Airways Flight 201, I gazed down upon the skyline of New York and my thoughts drifted back to the sound of wind rustling through dried grass and the hiccup of a lion cub as it suckled at its mother's breast.
Images copyright Anne Gordon
Posted by Anne Gordon on Saturday, 20th November, 2010