Our guides drove us to the airstrip at Camp Moremi to see some male lions. Sure enough, when we got there we saw two lazy male lions enjoying their peace and quiet (which would soon be interrupted).
One male was sitting under the fire buckets, while the other was at the passenger loading area. Neither had a care in the world, that is until an airplane with passengers landed. The bush pilot saw our vehicles near the airstrip, so he knew something was up, and was not caught by surprise when he landed and taxied to the passenger loading area.
These bush pilots are professional and experienced, and know what to do in this situation. Once the airplane is on the ground the lions usually move away due to the noise. If they don’t move far enough away for passenger safety, the pilot will rev up his engine and the blast from the prop will move the lions further.
This pilot did this, and once the lions were at a reasonable distance, all of our guides moved our vehicles in a line between the lions and embarking/departing passengers. It was quite entertaining, and the passengers on the airplane now have a story to tell the folks back home.
The two sleeping lions who are about to be rudely awakened
This guy did not have a care in the world, and was enjoying his siesta in the sun
The other one slept in the shade
When the pilot saw all of our vehicles he knew something was up
He could see the lions as soon as he landed
The male closest to the airplane heard the airplane land and was instantly alert
He decided it might be a good time to move, and sauntered right past our vehicle.
He was in no rush, and took his sweet old time
He has a beautiful mane
He walked past his buddy who was now also awake from his nap
The first male decided to stop by one of our vehicles and stare at its occupants. We were not blocking his path, so it is hard to known why he stopped.
For some reason he was not too keen on the people in the vehicle, as you can see from his body language. He could hear the airplane getting closer, so he kept on moving.
The pilot taxied towards this lion (the other lion had already moved into the bushes on the right) to keep him moving away from the passenger loading area
The nose of the revving engine kept the lion moving
The lion was still too close for the pilot’s peace of mind…
so he kept coming towards the lion
The pilot was still not happy, so he turned the airplane away and revved the engine
This procedure worked, and both lions moved far enough away for the pilot to feel comfortable enough to unload his passengers
Our guides moved our vehicles forward between the lions and the airplane to help the pilot
With the lions at a safe distance, and our vehicles blocking the lion, the passengers unloaded and loaded
The airplane uneventfully left the loading area with new passengers
It took off successfully
Our friends went back to relaxing
We had a bunch of happy campers (and guides) this day!