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He is a magnificent creature by any measure. Seen above drinking from a pond, you can see his full mane and sense the power that makes him top predator on the savanna.
Evening is approaching and we are following him as he and a single female trail their pride across the plains. He is large and confident but he is not young. When he faces you head on you notice that his right eye is blood shot. When he moves he shows with a slight limp. He no longer has the fluid walk of his younger companion.
The female offers herself but he ignores her. He is focused on catching up with his pride. She registers disappointment but he will no be deterred. He listens, instead, for calls from the larger pride. They are some distance ahead and he is making his way to join them.
We are less than an hour until night fall. The color of the light has already softened. There is a breeze that brings cooler air to the plains. We are driving in our open Land Cruiser, matching the lions leisurely pace.
They stop to rest. There is little hurry here. They will reach the pride.
From where they sit, they can survey the open plains before them. Their companions are out of sight but you can hear one roar and ruff from time to time. With each call, the male raises his ears.
Soon they are up again walking toward the invisible pride. She walks ahead now but never too far from her male. His limp slows him down but he keeps a steady pace, stopping only when he hears a call.
Looking back on him from our vehicle, you can see that he is past his prime. Still, his stance is erect and formidable. He is focused and powerful even if the years have robbed him of his grace and speed.
He stops to survey his path. Another "ruff" sounds from just over a low hill ahead. He lifts his head and barks a reply.
It is twilight on the African plain.
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All photos and text are copyright Clinton Richardson. The images are from the author's Safari Collection at Trekpic.com. If you like these posts, please tell your friends about the Venture Moola blog at Readjanus.com. Want to plan your own safari? If so, feel free to check out the outfitter we used at Porini.com.
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The venture moola blog comes to you from Atlanta, Georgia. Find it at readjanus.com. Copyright Clinton Richardson.
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