On Lions

by F.

Last November, we were in Masai Mara National Park, in Kenya, and went out around noon to see game. It was raining hard but we decided to go anyway. When we almost got stuck a couple of times in the mud, we started to think this wasn’t such a good idea. So we drove around a bit, not seeing much of anything other than a warthog and a few gazelles. Then to the south we saw some white tummies lying in the grass.

Lion tummies, it turned out. Actually, a pride of lions—about 15. All looked quite healthy, even though the gnus had already migrated south for the season (and so there wasn’t much to eat around there). This one above is the female. Muscles like you wouldn’t believe—like an NFL running back or an Olympic sprinter. You can see the rain in this picture, which didn’t seem to bother the lions one bit.

These guys were wrestling and playing, just like house cats. Others were distracted, eating the remains of a topi they’d killed the night before, while this one looked up into the sky for a long time.