A Lion Cub At Sunset – Weekly Travel Photo

Lion Cubs Playing at Sunset

With a glimmer of light reflected in its eye this young lion club relaxed with its brothers and sisters in South Luangwa National Park in Zambia.  The cubs’ mothers were out hunting and enjoying some free time away from the kids, leaving them to lounge in the late afternoon sun, chew on each other’s tails, and generally do all of the things you’d expect over-sized kittens to do.

Make sure to head over to flickr to see the rest of the album.

Would you like to see previous Weekly Photos? View past travel pictures here. This photo was taken on a Canon T3i (600D) Camera.

The Lion Cub’s Gaze – Weekly Travel Photo

Lion Cubs Playing at Sunset

This magical moment happened in Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park while I was on safari.  We had stumbled onto a group of five lion cubs between the ages of 4-6 months just before sunset. Their mothers were off hunting and the cubs were taking a much-needed break after a day full of exploring and childish antics.  This cub in particular was feeling quite relaxed, though he still kept a close eye on us.  He repeatedly lounged around, rolled onto his back, and then stared at us almost as if inviting us to head over and to give him a tummy scratch.  His gaze was incredible and cut right to my core. Hands down some of my favorite moments from the Safari.

Make sure to head over to flickr to see the rest of the album.

Would you like to see previous Weekly Photos? View past travel pictures here. This photo was taken on a Canon T3i (600D) Camera.

Leopard In The Dark – Weekly Travel Photo

Wild Leopard - South Luangwa, Zambia

While the racing thud of our heart beats may not have been audible to our insensitive human ears, I wonder if the dull pounding echoed in those of the massive leopard that silently strolled our way. He tolerated us with a veteran expertise that half-ignored us as we jockeyed for position, and half seemed to play with us, the constant click of our dSLRs, the bright glare of our spotlights and the dull rumble of our land cruisers thundering across the otherwise tranquil African landscape.

In the moment, there was little room for fear.  It was driven out by the excitement of having a large male leopard strut its way towards us, only turning to walk around the vehicle slowly but with purpose less than 5 feet off the nose of our land cruiser.  In retrospect though, it is amazing to think how casual and calm an experience it was given the powerful predatory nature of Leopards and their position as one of Africa’s top predators. In the blink of an eye he could have closed the gap, leapt into the exposed bench seats of the cruiser, and caused us significant harm.

Yet, that’s the strange relationship between safari goers and big predators. So long as you stay in the vehicle, respect their space, and keep your head about you…they’re content to leave you be.  To watch you as you watch them.  You know they can smell you, even if their eyesight doesn’t let them make out the distinct shape of your figure.  They know you’re there, but they’re content to focus on their normal prey, and their normal day-to-day activities.  Allowing safari goers to follow and interact with them, at a basic level, as a mixture of voyeur and paparazzi.

It is an incredible experience.  One that I hope this photo from a night Safari with Shenton Safaris (Kaingo.com) in South Luangwa, Zambia helps showcase.

Would you like to see previous Friday Photos? View past travel pictures here. This photo was taken on a Canon T3i (600D) Camera using a Canon 55-250 mm lens.