On safari in Tanzania, a close encounter with the king of beasts moved from a wonderful experience, to an ordeal, then finally a funny story.
Spotting a pride of lions, our guide parked us within camera range. No sooner had we stopped than an old male ambled directly over to us. My wife and I excitedly snapped his photo as he passed within inches of our window and hunkered down in the shade of our vehicle to take a nap.
Unable to see him this close, we inched our window down and I stuck my camera out to take a quick photo (left) that revealed him to be only inches below us. Knowing this to be a once-in-a-lifetime encounter, we were bouncing with excitement.
I got a terrific shot of our visitor, but an hour later the great cat still had not moved. It wasn't just stifling hot in our vehicle, either; the call of nature had begun to beckon.
It's against regulations to disturb any wildlife, and that meant even starting our engine to run the air conditioning. We certainly had no bathroom on board.
We racked our brains thinking of anything to make him move without violating any laws, including throwing our baloney sandwiches out the window – which he completely ignored while snoring loud as a buzzsaw.
Finally, four hours later, he rose slowly, took a long stretch, and after leaving his mark on our tire, sauntered off.
Our guide watched to make sure he was far enough away and then turned and said, “Now!”
Four people have never moved into the nearby bushes faster.