We were excited when we jumped into the car at Halali Rest Camp a few minutes before sunrise. It was our second morning in Etosha National Park and we had big hopes. “If you want to see the predators, you have to be out there around sunrise or sunset”, was what everybody had told us. But, would it be that easy?

Going on game drives was a new experience for us and we had soon learned that even in a place like Etosha there is a certain amount of luck involved when it comes to encounters with predators. Being the first on the road in the morning and the last one to come back in the evening (just in time before they close the doors) might increase your chances, but by no means would guarantee you too see a big cat. And even if you saw one, this wouldn’t mean that you would take a (good) picture of it anyway.

Male lion in morning light.

Morning Stroll

The sun had just risen above the horizon and the warm light flooded the grasslands in Etosha National Park. We had been driving for less than five minutes, when all of a sudden we saw a male lion crossing the road in front of us. Needless to say, that our excitement-level went through the roof. By the time we were close enough to take pictures he had already reached the grass on the right side of the road and was walking parallel to it. I kept the car at distance as not to scare the lion away and slowly drove next to it. With the sun coming from behind my best bet was to keep on level with the beautiful male and catch him looking at us. To our surprise we had to learn that lions (actually most animals) in Etosha National Park are quite unimpressed by cars. It took a few minutes until he finally turned his head for the one and only time. I was lucky enough to press the shutter at the right moment.

Near Halali Rest Camp
Etosha National Park

Canon EOS 7D
Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM + Canon EF Extender 2.0 III @ 600mm
ISO 800, f/8, 1/400
Kinesis Beanbag

16. November 2011