Lewa + Laili



I took a grand total of three pictures of Lewa and Laili, all of them of the former’s butt. It wasn’t my intention, but considering we spent only about five minutes with the pair and weren’t allowed any closer than ten meters to them, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. We felt pretty lucky to see the Ls in the first place. About a week prior to leaving for Africa they graduated from the Stage One walking program and had moved on to night encounters. This meant very limited access, if any, to see them. As well, there had been a film crew at Antelope Park for the past several months; mostly filming a follow up to Lion Country in the Ngamo release site (working title: Roaring with Pride), but also spending some time filming the Ls on “private” walks led by Craig van Zyl, a respected Zim safari guide, and fronted for the camera by a female television personality. It was an odd and somewhat comedic pairing of highly attuned to the bush alongside the highly out of place.

Knowing we’d been anxious to see the Ls and that we’d been spending a lot of time and effort on our own dime on the profiles project, AP’s general manager Nathan gave us a rare and generous invitation late one afternoon to ride out into the park where Craig and company were filming a walk with the Ls. Even though we spent more time driving out and back to the location in the park where they were, and even if we weren’t allowed close to the girls for fear of stepping in front of the talent (as it were), it was worth it. There they were: Lewa and Laili – proper lionesses now and as beautiful as ever (even Lewa with her chops).

In the blink of an eye after arriving the crew were on the move; hurriedly following the Ls, who were both following a small group of wildebeest, who themselves were doing their best not to be followed by any of us. With it quickly getting dark and not knowing where the hunt would end up, it was decided our time was up and we needed to head back to camp. The film crew, Craig, and the rest were very accommodating in allowing us along for the walk, even if it was a short few minutes with two of our favorite lions, and we can’t thank Nathan enough for thinking about us in the first place and extending the offer.

Thanks for the walk, ladies! Brief, but so happy to reunite with you none-the-less.

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