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Phinda: An exciting safari ends with unexpected close encounters of a lion kind
The final morning at phinda proved to be exciting and eventful for the ODP Safari Group.
Heading out early to enjoy as much of the final day as possible, the group arrived at the marsh area. The whole area was covered in a beautiful, ethereal mist and the vehicles stopped to allow the photographers to capture some of the breathtaking landscapes.
Then, off to the large pride of lions who were found again with the cubs enjoying much fun in the early dawn. Wet cubs gamboled around and tried to get the adults to join their frolicking. As the sun started to peep through, magical moments were captured on the busy cameras.
It was time to move on!
Try! Engines roared, wheels spun!
Try again – uh oh –
The wheels continued to spin …
One of the vehicles was well and truly stuck and only about 20 meters from the two huge male lions, who suddenly seemed to become larger and larger.
As the vehicle radioed for assistance, the majority of the lions decided to move away, leaving the two large males and one female behind.
The second vehicle followed the departing group and captured more action shots before returning to the stricken stick-in-the-mud group.
As help arrived, it was decided to transfer the group from the stuck vehicle to the rescue vehicle.
Not such a good plan! As the people started to climb down from the vehicle, the lions developed a keen interest in the unusual activity and stood up, moving closer to examine this new development. Vehicles with people on them are totally disregarded, but what was this?
Realising the potential danger, the driver of the second vehicle placed his 4x4 strategically between the lions and the dismounting group who scrambled quickly to the rescue vehicle.
The plan worked well. The lions had no interest in the closer 4X4, and as their view of the other was obscured, they lost interest, and lay down for their mid morning snooze.
What an exciting end to an amazing safari, as everyone returned to the lodge in preparation for the journey home. And what an experience to share with family and friends – backed up by hundreds of photographs.