Remember how I wondered why anyone would choose to experience Kruger in the enclosure of an air-conditioned, dark tinted window bus? I discovered the answer today. Minutes into our drive, dark rainclouds appeared overhead, opening up suddenly and dumping torrents of water wherever we seemed to drive. Much like an umbrella is useless in a raging storm, the limited plastic “windows” that were rolled down to protect us from the elements were useless as rain whipped in between the seams. Even sopping wet, the day was delightful. We saw multitudes of vultures; our driver, Elvis, dramatically stopped the vehicle, slowly explaining that where there were vultures, there were dead animals, and where there were dead animals there were lions.
After six or so repetitions of this mantra, I thought to myself, “yeah, right,” when Peter, the Irishman sitting next to me, pointed and quietly said, “There he is.” And there, not 10 feet from us, was a lion, sitting serenely in the grass. I couldn’t believe it. Elvis drove closer, the lion walked a few steps away and settled next to his lioness. I was ecstatic to see a lion – such a majestic animal! The huge mane, the velvety fur, the sleepy eyes, yet also respectfully fear inspiring.
As I snapped pictures, one after the other, I thought, “Hm. What are you supposed to do if a lion attacks? He’s pretty close. I really can’t run. How can I appear as un-meatlike as possible?” It wasn’t necessary, as he contentedly just stared at us and we stared back for quite a long time.