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Meeting a Lion Face to Face

Gary Terrazas
 


Visitors: 135

Your stomach plunges down to the cradle of your hips. . .

Your palms immediately become slick. . .

Your heartbeat increases in strength and speed. . .

There is a loud buzzing, gushing sound in your ears. . .

Suddenly you are decidedly aware of your vulnerability and physical frailty. . .

It also becomes exceedingly obvious that you are outmatched in weight, tooth and claw.

And you fight the impulse to turn tail and pump your legs up and down as hard as you ever have before . . . and more!

There is a moment of eye to eye contact in which you know with certainty that had you been here alone, possibly even should you have been armed, that you would have come off second best and much, much worse for wear.

Yet there is a strength of dignity in the meeting, your soul's recognition of a kindred spirit and mutual respect for one another as each representing the kings of different kingdoms.

The first experience of meeting the largest carnivore on the African continent on foot is humbling indeed. The senses thrill with the excitement of it all and are tweaked, reaching perceptions of greater intensity and depth! It is one of those moments that is seared into your memory and as you recall it in days to come, your body responds to the recollection, your heart begins to beat a little faster and your eyes shine with a fever of ecstasy. It is a story of exhilaration to be shared with anyone who will listen and who can appreciate the glory of the meeting and the amazing manner in which fate conspired to bring these two paths together to connect in one breathtaking moment.

Lion, Panthera leo, is a majestic, powerful cat that dominates its environment and yet, is still a playful kitten at heart. The king of the veld shares the bush with a multitude of other creatures, each with their own strengths and defences, their own unique markings and calls.

The best method of getting up close and personal with the African bush is to get down and dirty, to pull on those hiking boots, brave the African sun and trek through the bush on a guided bush walk.

Not far from Camps Bay, only an hour or two's drive, lies the African bush, roaring and chirping, alive with creatures of enormous girth to almost magical abilities! There are a couple of game farms in the area that boast The Big Five: lion, elephant, the elusive leopard, temperamental rhino and stocky buffalo.

Most game farms will offer the visitor early morning and sunset game drives, game walks as well as night drives. Often bush braai's can be arranged in which venison and other meats are cooked over an open fire with traditional South African accompaniments, such as pap (ground maize cooked to a stiff porridge or to a delicate crumble) with tomato and onion sauce, and a range of salads.

It is something quite special to spend a night or two in the bush, safely ensconced in your luxury tent or in a sweet-smelling thatched lodge. As the sun sets, it brings to life an array of sounds, of murmurs, squawks and hums. And as the lion roars into the night, letting all and sundry know that it is here, that this is its home and playground, the air vibrates around and you feel the reverberations in your chest; you are in awe with the wonder of it all.

Discover Africa from the safety and luxury of Al Villa Romantica Camps Bay Guest House .

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