August 14, 2014
While seeing elephants was the No. 1 aim of my trip to Addo Elephant National Park, about a 100-minute drive from Grahamstown, I knew that the park also featured some of the other big five African game attractions such as the lion, leopard and rhino. I also knew that to spot a lion, you had to get out early.
So I got up early for the rather chilly (maybe 50 degrees Fahrenheit) sunrise game drive.
The sunrise game drive lived up to expectations as our open-air bus of about 30 people happened onto one of the nine lions in Addo after completing a kudu kill at a watering hole.
Addo is a pretty big place and the lure of the sunrise drive (which required a 615a gathering at the game drive cabin) was the opportunity to see the predators. So a first stop with a lion and its kill was pretty impressive. Equally interesting was seeing a jackal or two sniffing around the area and waiting for the lion to leave something behind for their brunch treat.
While some on the drive pulled out their trusty smartphone cams, I was thrilled to have a D7000 although I did get some out-of-focus shots of the lion. But somehow I got two really cool shots of the lion licking his lips. Made me very glad to be in a vehicle that could move out of the way quite quickly.
How close were we? I’d say 20-30 yards away but I am a bad estimator of distances. The lion sighting was great. As for elephants, it was a bit too cold yet for them to be out and about. But on the plus side, the property adjacent to the park had a giraffe so we got to see that. Addo does not have giraffes as they are not indigenous to the area.
Still, the lion was a thrill. Here is a little slideshow of the lion go about its business.