Monday, March 7, 2011

big cats

the first time i saw a lion in the wild, i cried, not only because i was awed, but because i was terrified. it wasn't until after the shock and thrill of seeing them sunk in and i began to learn of their dwindling numbers, that i began to realize the privilege of being in the company of these great cats. ten years, three trips, five countries (and many more lion encounters later) i can say that africa and it's lions have truly changed my life.

i'm going to try to do justice to a new documentary and book by conservationist filmmakers Beverly + Dereck Joubert, called The Last Lions.
The Jouberts, both National Geographic Explorers in Residence based in Botswana, are dedicated to understanding and preserving key species throughout the African continent. The couple is particularly interested in large predators, and lead the Big Cats Initiative, a campaign to stop shrinking populations and bolster public awareness.

ngorongoro crater, tanzania

serengeti national park, tanzania

masai mara, kenya

zambezi river, zimbabwe ( on safari)

madwike game reserve, south africa

i've not yet seen the film, but i know it will be epic. i've been collecting the Jouberts books and watching their videos since the early 1990's. they are incredibly talented filmmakers and photographers, and they know the Okavango (and lions) probably better than anyone. if you have an interest i've included some places for you to visit, where you can learn more.

some lovely links :

to meet Beverly + Dereck and hear them share about their new film go here.
to watch the official trailer of The Last Lions, go here. (Fantastic)
for more information about african lions and the Big Cat Initiative go here.
to buy the book, go here, or your independant book seller.

and ...
Enter The Last Lions Sweepstakes and you could be the lucky winner of an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime trip for two to experience the lush landscapes, abundant wildlife, and fascinating culture of Botswana, Africa. You will even get to visit the Okavango Delta (where The Last Lions was filmed) on a 12-day private safari! This incredible trip includes round-trip air to Botswana, travel within Africa, and all hotel accommodations.

Enter once a day for your chance to win, now through
March 31, 2011.

Safari Njema and good luck everyone, i'm crossing my fingers for you!

♥ lori

p.s. i had so much fun going through my old photos, finding the lions and scanning them in to share. i forgot about a lot of film that i want to do this with. i know what i'll be dreaming of tonight! africa africa africa...


  1. I feel nervous just thinking about seeing the big cats in real life, I can understnad your response. Mus tbe an amzing experience, I will look out for the film.

  2. When we were in Zambia and I first had a lion roar not far away, I got goosebumps all over. Haha, they come back just as I THINK about the sound! Aren`t they also the most beautiful animals you can imagine? Thanks for this post, Lori, I wish many many people will see how we must NOW protect them! Thanks to Bev and Dereck of course, too. And your own photos are marvellous, as ever. Those footprints, wow! (and you on safari) I don`t want to stop talking, my head is full of Africa right now, too...

  3. heard a lion, I meant. Got carried away by my memories, did not look at spelling. Memories... On the day we arrived at Norman`s camp, we were told that Peter, a safari guide and friend, had been found the morning before - killed by a lion. African nature is cruel - and still beautiful.

  4. I have GOT to go. Am trying to talk my brother and family into a trip. Love your photos Lori - and those footprints are amazing.
    I'm going to enter every day - what an opportunity!

  5. wooooow! you took all those pictures? amazing and thank you for sharing here! i wish lions were docile kitties and we could have them as pets. they are gorgeous, regal looking animals and i'd love to be in the presence of one everyday. i'd really want to snuggle one! : ) hehehe... that'll never happen. but, your pictures really helped me to imagine that and i felt pretty close to it. i love your passion for africa. it is beautiful.

  6. Wow, your photos!
    Wow, that trailer! I cried watching that one minute :(

    I adore big cats (being a Leo myself.) How wonderful Bev and Derek have devoted so much time to these animals.

    I love the photo of you in the afternoon sun. Wow. What an adventure!

    beautiful post Lori.


  7. Do you know how excited I was when I saw this blog title!!!! I thought you were coming to see the lions, leopards, cheetahs, etc. for real!!!

    I am soooooooo looking forward to seeing this doccie too. I have all the other DVD's Dereck and Beverly Joubert's have done.

    Now one day I might have some money to be able to own a painting by wildlife artist brother Keith Joubert . . . .

    Glad you posted this and had a great time reminiscing

  8. Oh Lori, how lucky you are to have seen them in the wild and have your own wonderful photos. Thank you for this post. xoxo

  9. I am captivated by the King of the Jungle (and elsewhere) too ....

  10. I've seen this amazing trailer, and I really want to see it. We cannot let these incredible creatures disappear. Thanks, Lori!

  11. Grrrrr.... how powerful and majestic these "Furry Kitties" are!
    You were so lucky yo have these magical experiences with them. Oh, those pawprints!

    I'm trying to win too....somewhere I have always dreamed of going!


    ♥ Robin ♥

  12. your photographs take my breath away. you have such reverence.

    i entered right away. now i am fantasizing about africa. you know, lori, i thought i would meet tessa and dr. maithri in swaiziland. i still hope i get there. to see these big cats would be a total thrill for me.

    great post, great contest.
    ps. sys (can you guess?) ♥

  13. Beautiful pictures, Lori. I have always been terrified of/fascinated with big cats. They feature in more than one nightmare I've had (I like casting them, I guess!). It's amazing to look at something that beautiful and wild. They need our protection. How sad if the planet loses these beauties. xox Pam

  14. Amazing pics and I will look forward to seeing the National G film about these wonderful beings. Unfortunately the contest is only in the USA. :(

  15. Last time I saw lions it was in South Africa with Felix and my husband.
    We went to a sanctuary and in the middle of a lot of lions our car broke down and we had to wait hours for rescue. It was very hot.
    For Felix it turned out to be a real adventure. We still talk about it......

    Well as for cats the bigger the better.....
    They are wonderful and the trailer seems magical. Love Jeremy's voice!

    Great shots Lori!
    Thanks for taking me along your adventures;) ♥

  16. Such a beautiful post...nature is a wonderful thing...we have to remember that we're part of it too...and just as precious...thank you for all the info...

  17. Lori, my husband was just telling me about a couple he heard about on an NPR interview about lions and a mother protecting her cubs and...and...I said "Honey, let me send you something."

    So, I'm sending him your post ;)♥

    He won't post a comment because he honestly never has and doesn't know how, but I can tell you he'll enjoy the heck out of this!


  18. bec,
    being nervous lasts only a moment, what comes next is indescribable. Facination takes over and it feels right to just sit and watch them. and be really REALLY grateful.


    hearing the lions roar is one of the most epic experiances of a safari. it is truly magificent. no wonder you remember it so clearly after almost 40 years! chuck does a pretty good impression, always makes me laugh.


    mim, i hope you'll go with your husband if no one else will go. it is an experiance you will love. there is nothing like it. the birthplace of mankind.


    you should see the cubs! it is almost impossible not to want to pick one up. i can't wait for our next trip and i tell chuck it's his fault.


    the trailer is gorgeous isn't it?, i can't wait to see the film, unfortunatly it's not widely distributed, we may have to go to Los Angeles. Our birthdays are near each other!


    I WISH. We are getting close though, i'll email you.

    A painting by K.Joubert? I am SO happy for you and envious for me. How will you choose?


    thank you, i hope you'll get a chance to see this film and maybe enter the contest?


    the lion is a magificent animal, king of the beasts for sure.


    i hope it does show closer to you. if i come to L.A. to see it we could meet and see it together!

  19. robin,
    i'm crossing my fingers extra for you. our guide called the prints 'the daily news'. every morning when you head out, you look for tracks and read them, it's facinating!


    thank you, i really appreciate these words.
    i hope you do go, weather to swaziland or another country, it's a life changing experiance.


    i have to believe we won't let that happen. i want our childrens' children to have the same experiance i've had. i wish everyone could experiance africa.


    i'm sorry, i didn't check that fact. i do hope you get to see the film, the trailer is great. and the book too, i got it today.


    we had the same experiance, but it was with elephants. you have a great story to tell, something felix will always remember!


    thank you for your comment. the thing is we are both important, humans and animals and we need to exist togther, you are so right.


    thanks lo. i hope he liked it!

  20. Hi beautiful Lori... just now I sat down at the computer for a look to see what you've been up too, while the little guy is busy playing in the bath, and I'm a little over the moon to see these photos and hear about lions.

    As a child I had the privilege to hold and play with a lion cub. .(I just happened to be in the right place at the right time)
    I remember being astonished at the weight of it. I knew then that I was very lucky to have the experience.... even if it was at a lion park here in Australia...
    which fortunately doesn't exist anymore.

    Thank you for all the links. I'll make time to check it all out.

    All our creatures big and small need our love and respect.

    love to you
    x Robyn

  21. unfortuantely i'm unable to win the competition as it's only for the US :( x

  22. WOW!!!Amazing captures Lori.You know what...before I got married I was not interested in wildlife and when my husband suggested we go on a lion safari to Gir(in Gujarat, India)I was wondering what would i do there and when I actually saw the lions I was terrified...but after being married for 6 years now I feel taht it's a great feeling to be sighting these big cats in the wild and I really ENVY you...:)
    so long take care


  23. Oh Lori, this is so wonderful.
    I especially like the b&w photos.
    Esp. esp. the one with the lion with his eyes closed feeling the sun.
    I've been thinking alot lately about endangered animals and all the challeneges they face. Thanks for an inspiring post

  24. Robyn,
    I wish I would have checked that fact, I wish the contest was open to all. What a great memory to have, I would LOVE to hold a cub too, but only a very small one!


    I think even being prepared to see certain wildlife,and especially lions, it still comes as a shock, and stays with you forever. I'd LOVE to see the Indian lions!


    Thanks sheperd!


    Julie, thank you so much. I think watching that lion resting in the sun helped me to lose my fear, although I watched for some time before lifting my camera. It's like anything else, having a connection to something, especially a personal one, makes you want to protect it.

  25. Our first week in Australia (some many years ago) we visited an African safari park and got to see Lions up close - being a Leo it was thrilling to see them but I wish they had been a little freer in an African reserve*!*

  26. Thank you, thank you, thank you my dear Lori, you always introduce me to something new and wonderful. I love your awe and appreciation. I hope you never lose it.

    Africa, big cats, rarity, beauty, excitement, you captured it all.

    Sending love across the miles,


  27. i really like how you're so interested with lions...can you believe me being African and yet i have not seen a live lion EVER!
    truly jealous
    when did you come to tanzania??if you ever come down again come say hi, it would be amazing to meet someone who blogs just like me but on the other side of the world.
    fascinating right?
    take care


xoxo lori