Lion’s paws can grow as large as twelve inches across. Their nails are terrifying. But one of the thrills of going on safari is knowing that our guides will find places to park the sturdy Land Rovers where we can quietly and safely observe and photograph these powerful paws without disturbing the lions. If we step out of the Land Rover and get between a dad and his offspring, we would likely be the next appetizer on the table. But for some reason, the wild animals don’t distinguish quiet humans in the vehicles the same way they do when we are on foot. Pausing quietly inside our vehicle gives our group lots of time to take photos that rival those of the professionals. More than that, it thrills us to see them living the natural lives they way I saw them on “The Wild Kingdom” on television when I was younger, and when we look at our photos, I know I’ve seen a wild kingdom in person.


Spending time watching the adult lions nap after a big meal while the younger ones wake up and look for trouble or look for something to play with strengthens my resolve to be part of a movement that will protect them and keep them secure for the next generation to enjoy. I love the way they blend into the sand along a dry riverbed or fade into the grasses and foliage. Seeing them in their habitat helps me understand how perfect their coloring and markings are. The young lions with spots that gradually fade into lion-colored fur are a perfect match for their surroundings, and they know to stay hidden until their parents return from hunting. On a safari drive, we pause and spend as much time as we want watching elephants, leopards, lions, other wildlife, and the ubiquitous hippos. Join us for our upcoming safari to Zambia this June.


Written by Patricia Cole

An Africa Hope Fund board member for 7 years, Pat is a writer and a conservation activist. After traveling to Zambia, she became dedicated to helping Africa Hope Fund provide education to the next generation of Africans and ensure their future by protecting wildlife. Find Patricia on Facebook and Twitter, or on her websites and

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Carol Van Brugen