Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve
Hluhluwe, 3960, South Africa
Last Minute LionHaving spent two weeks walking through HluHlue iMfolozi National Park (HiP) in South Africa as a volunteer taking census data on the park’s herbivores, with only two days left in the expedition, my one disappointment had been the lack of photo opportunities for the big cats. The lions I’d run across on foot had trotted away before I could get a camera out. On this day our camp manager took the volunteers to a blind at a watering hole. It was late winter and extremely dry. Nothing spectacular happened when this lioness emerged from the thicket, her nose splotched with blood. She simply lay down with her front paws immersed in the water and lapped giant tongue-fuls of water for several minutes. She was absolutely beautiful.