Th rocky out crops in the Serengeti in Tanzania more famously known as the Kopjes are often inhabited by Lion prides and it is indeed a visual treat and a photographers’ delight. One morning, I had a flat tyre and a whole lot of action unfolded soon after. Read on to find out what happened.
It was around 6:30 am one morning in the Serengeti when we left Camp and drove out into the Savannah. The sun had just risen and as the rays spilt over the vast expanse of park, I saw a lot of dust in the far end, certainly the migration herds of Wildebeest were on the move. We however carried on to look for other game, primarily with a focus on Leopards. Also the previous day, we had seen a Black Rhino not far from camp and also wanted to try our luck once again.
My driver and I were constantly looking for tracks and scanning the grasslands. After about an hour or so, as we drove close to a Kopje, we had a flat tyre. My driver asked me to have breakfast while he changed the tyre. I got off as well to keep an eye around and he pulled out the tools and the spare tyre. I left the basket of food on the bonnet of the Land Cruiser and as I opened my box, I heard my driver whisper saying get in fast. I didn’t understand why and stood glaring at him in disbelief. He said once again, “Get in now”. I also saw him looking behind me. I turned back and at about 30 meters away on the Kopje, there was a Lion. It was sleeping all this while and had just woken up.
We being lower down on the track, couldn’t see her till she woke up. On good thing was that by then the wheel was changed. Since I was the only one in the 7 seater vehicle, I removed all but one seat to keep my camera equipment. So there was ample space to get all the tools and the flat tyre inside the Land Cruiser. The crispy bacon, sausages, eggs and muffins still sat on the bonnet while we were inside the car. The driver slowly moved the vehicle away from the Kopje where we packed all the stuff and went back closer. The couple of minutes had my heart beating faster than ever.
The lion you see in the shadow behind was the first one we saw. There was no way we could have seen it while it was sleeping behind the rock. And then, one more Lioness woke up next to the one behind in the shadow. Then the third Lioness arrived. This image was shot from the sunroof of the Land Cruiser using a 600mm lens. One after the other a total of 9 Lionesses and a couple of subadult males showed up from behind the rocks. What a sighting it was. Despite scanning the Kopje, we couldn’t see the Lions until they decided to move.
Most of them lay sleeping or resting except for 2 of them. They walked about a bit giving me some nice opportunities to photograph them. Having spent around 2 hours with the pride, decided to return back to camp for lunch. The hour long drive back to Elena Collections Pioneer Camp didn’t yield much as it was mid day and the heat was rising. Arrived back at around noon and headed to the tent to freshen up. Was looking forward to putting aside the cameras, resting a bit and have a hot lunch before we headed out again in the afternoon for another game drive. But then, I was surprised with a family of Hyrax sitting a rock just outside my tent. Cute as these animals can be, they are pretty friendly too. Look out for them on your trip to Africa next time.
Did you know that the Hyrax is the closest relatives to Elephants? Yes, you read it right, they are the closest relatives to Elephants.
Author: Gaurav Ramnarayanan