Having the Opportunity to See the Big Cats of East Africa

We are currently contemplating returning to East Africa, although the focus of this trip would be to see the Gorillas and Chimpanzees, as well as other animals, in Rwanda. During our previous visit, one of the things that we truly enjoyed during our eleven-day safari in Eastern Africa was seeing all of the big cats like lions, leopards, and cheetahs. We certainly weren’t disappointed with our encounters as we had several that were all amazing and different in many ways. Whether watching the lion cubs at play, seeing a leopard climbing up a tree, or having a cheetah jump on the hood of our Land Cruiser, seeing these animals up close was something truly special. We saw lions at almost every park that we visited throughout both Kenya and Tanzania, but the leopards and cheetahs were rarer to see. We know that we were very fortunate to see the amazing variety of cats, including the caracal cat, which not everyone gets to see.

Lioness Snuggling with Her Cub
Cheetah Relaxing in the Grass
Leopard in the Tree
Caracal Cat on the Prowl
Male Lions are Majestic Looking

Cats have very expressive faces and keen eyesight and they definitely kept their eyes on us as we watched them from our vehicle. Regardless of the species of cat, one thing that they all had in common was how they ignored people and their vehicles with the exception of the encounter of the cheetah who definitely was not afraid of our presence. We visited the parks during the lion’s mating season and one of the more unique things that we saw during our safari was actually a lion and lioness mating. We also saw a leopard eating a gazelle as well as a pride of lions eating the remains of some sort of antelope. When on safari, you are in their environment and the animals are going to go about their lives regardless of the visitors that may come along to watch them.

Family of Cheetahs Heading Our Way
Lions Getting Ready to Mate
Unique Coloring Cheetahs
Caracal Cat on the Move
More Cuddling Lions

It is hard to decide which of the big cats was our favorite to see during our time, but there is no denying how impressive it is to see a large male lion within arms reach of the vehicle. We had many different encounters with male lions including one that was lying right on the edge of the road. We moved very slowly without sudden movements and spoke in low hushes as instructed by our guide so as not to provoke the lion. We were literally so close to him that we could almost feel his breath as he panted in the warm sun and kept a wary eye on us as we snapped photographs. For the first twenty minutes we were the only vehicle and as other vehicles arrived having been notified by our guide, the lion took offense, growled at us and for a moment there was a sense of fear that he might retaliate against us, but then wandered off into the tall grass before the others had the chance to see his power and beauty.

Male Lion on the Side of the Road
Leopard Climbing a Tree
Curious Cheetah
Pride of Lions
Caracal Cat Blending in with the Grass

There certainly isn’t any single animal that could be the considered the most important to see during a safari, but certainly seeing the big cats is a highlight. We took so many photographs during our trip that it is difficult to narrow down our favorites. Seeing how affectionate and playful they were was something truly spectacular. They definitely displayed a variety of emotion and caring for one another whether brushing against each other, wrestling with one another, or the lionesses cleaning the young cubs by licking them with their tongues. Although photographs can’t truly provide the same experience as being there, hopefully these images will give you a sense of what it is like to see these magnificent cats in the wild.

Close Up on the Male Lion’s Face
Lionesses Cleaning After Dinner
Leopard Walking on the Branches
Male Lion Laying Next to His Mate
Chasing Cheetahs

Affectionate Animals in the African Grasslands

When we went on our eleven-day safari a couple of years ago. It was great to be able to spend so much time up-close and personal with all of the various animals. One thing that quickly became apparent was that animals of all kinds showed affection to one another. Knowing that their lives were in constant threat due to different predators, the environment, and other circumstances, it is clear that the various animals relied on each other, and families were extremely close, especially the lions.

Whispering in His Ear?
Absolutely Adorable
Do Birds Kiss?
Elephants a Notoriously Affectionate Parents
Cheetah Siblings Playing Tag

It wasn’t just the mother’s affection for their offspring, but it was also the playful affection among the siblings and even that of their mates. It was a common theme amongst all of the different species of animals that saw throughout our time in the African grasslands. We have looked back at photographs from our safari many different times and the photographs showing the loving interactions amongst the animals are certainly some of our favorite memories. We were very fortunate to catch some truly adorable moments.

Mating Season
Rhinos are Caring Parents as Well
They Have Each Other’s Back
Mother and Cub Snuggling
Caring Cubs

The Beauty of African Sunsets

Sunsets can be beautiful no matter where you are, but there is something magical about watching the sunset over the plains of Africa. Since we spent eleven full days on safari, we got to see many different sunsets during our time there. For several of the sunsets, we were able to enjoy a nice glass of wine as we relaxed after a long day of animal watching. We also saw many wonderful sunrises, but we were usually driving around in the Land Cruiser at the time either heading out to see the wildlife or heading from one national park to another.

Sunset at Lake Nakuru
Sunsetting in the Serengeti
Sunsetting Over the Hippo Pond

There were certainly too many wonderful sunsets to choose a favorite, especially since they each bring back wonderful memories. Whether it was watching the sunset over the hippo pond, sitting by the fire in the Serengeti, or watching the baby giraffes just outside of the Amboseli National Park, every photograph transports us back to those moments. Because we were in camps that were far away from any city or civilization in general, the moments were quiet, tranquil, and completely relaxing. Watching the sun set also meant that it was time to be sure that we were with a guide or heading to our tent as it wasn’t safe being out on your own after dark.

Sunset on Our First Full Day on Safari
Sunset from the Camp
Sunsetting Over Lake Naivasha

Each of these memories were magical. We often took many photographs of the same sunset as it changed from minute to minute as the sun went down below the horizon. Whether it was the sun shining through the clouds or the colors of the sky as the sun disappeared, every moment was uniquely different.

Just One of the Sunsets from the Camp in the Serengeti National Park

African Sunsets are Spectacular
Another View of the Sunset Over the Hippo Pond