Thursdays Special ~ Profile Of The Leonine Kind

Marsh Pride male 1

We came upon the Maasai Mara’s famous Marsh Pride on a morning game drive out from Mara River Camp. It was August – as close to winter as Kenya gets – the skies leaden, the plains parched and dusty, the whole place waiting for the short rains that will not be happening for another two months; and perhaps not at all. In fact this trip had started out from Nairobi in thick fog, and descending the Great Rift escarpment was even more hair-raising exciting than usual.

But to get back to the lions. The pride was resting up in home territory, most of its members – mothers and cubs – scarcely visible in the grass. For one thing they were the same colour as the vegetation. For another, it is what lions do – disappear in twelve inches of grass.

As we drove nearer we spotted this male. He was pacing through the grass, roaring. This was answered by another male some distance away. It seemed they were busy marking out their patch. They ignored us anyway, which was comforting, though I have to say that lion-roars, especially ones at close quarters, make your spine resonate, and not in a good way.

Another hair-raising exciting moment then.

We watched them for a while from the safety of the safari truck, then left them to it, the roars following us down the track. By which time  we were  wondering if we were really there at all. Out in the African wilds it mostly feels like dreaming.


Profile:     Panthera Leo

                    Simba in KiSwahili

Weight:    Males 420-500 lb/110-135 kg

Length:     Males 5-7 ft/2.5-2 m

Lifespan:  Males 12 years


Thursdays Special: Profile

Please visit Paula to see her fantabulous shot of a snowy owl.

33 thoughts on “Thursdays Special ~ Profile Of The Leonine Kind

  1. I can’t get over how huge, heavy elephants disappear into the bush so quietly! One minute there, the next phoof! Gone. Lovely prowling, growling lion.

    1. Thanks Jude, and yes the disappearing tricks of elephants – the quietness is down to their padded feet – they walk always on tiptoes, toes resting on cushions of fat – or so a Zambian zoologist told us. You may of course know this 🙂

  2. I would love them to live longer. I was under illusion that they live at least 20 years. Thank you for the king! He looks mighty and majestic. Excellent job, Tish!

    1. The females apparently have a longer lifespan – up to 20 years just as you’d thought. Interesting disparity in longevity. I suppose ageing males get kicked out of the pride by upcoming males, and don’t survive too well alone. Glad you like him 🙂

  3. You are a great ambassador of Kenya. I think our tourism department would be well served with you as the brand ambassador.
    Seeing lions and leopards in the wild is a thrill.

  4. I love that word leonine, Tish! He does look hair raisingly (sorry, excitingly 🙂 ) grumpy. I’m sad too that he only has 12 years to look so magnificent. I don’t suppose it’s an easy life.
    My daughter has a great fondness for lions and it’s her and Leo’s 4th wedding anniversary today. They will be having afternoon tea in a posh caf in Lincoln. Not very leonine, is it?

  5. It has to be impressive and even breathless in real life. Would love to have one fo these safari experiences, I guess you feel very close to wild nature, a feeling that currently very few people have.
    Thanks for sharing!

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