The magic of night in the Kgalagadi...
There is something very special about lonely places in the dark night. That sense of isolation and threat is increased, it is something built into our nature as humans, something that our distant past reminds us of in the chill night air.
At Nossob, deep within the borders of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park that warning is necessary. While I was taking this photograph I came face-to-face with a lone lioness.
Mere metres away and in the melting grey darkness we both stood still, seemingly for an age. I could see the slope of her back and make out her head balanced on those elegant shoulders. Doubtless she could make our much more of me!
In these heart-stopping moments, of which there have been a few for me, there is both a sense of threat and a wonderful sense of life. Almost a connection to the real world, you know, the one we are supposed to live in, rather than the plastic fake one we seem to have built for ourselves.
I could not see the game fence, so there was a chance she was in the camp with me. I remembered a time when staying at Etosha where an unlucky soul had been killed by a lioness inside the camp.
I slowly moved my tripod in front of me and backed away one step at a time. The lioness did not move.
I crept into the meagre shelter of a little stone booth with no door and waited - tripod held like a weapon. The lioness, or her grey shape, which was all I could see, walked forwards and then to her left, before melting into the darkness.
Ruefully, in silence and with much greater care, I placed the tripod and stood for 30 seconds to capture the moon rising over Nossob.