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An immersive moment, the pride of lions surrounds the game ranger’s car looking for shade in the South African sun

A compelling moment, a pride of lions surrounds the game ranger’s car as they seek shade from the blazing South African sun

  • Pieter can Wyk, 34, was detained when the apex predators stopped at his vehicle
  • The pride of 22 lions surrounded the car in the MalaMala Game Reserve in Mpumalanga
  • He was forced to wait in the car until the lions no longer needed the shadow

A group of 22 lions stopped a game guard when he surrounded his car in a South African game reserve.

Pieter van Wyk filmed the lions when they saw the big shadow of his jeep and were on their way to escape the bright sun.

Soon, the 34-year-old was surrounded by pride in the 15,000-acre MalaMala Game Reserve in Mpumalanga.

He was forced to sit it out and wait for the sun to move and the shade to shrink before the lions finally disappeared and he could move on.

The proud 22 lions surround the game rangers' car as they try to stay out of the sun on a blazing day in South Africa

The proud 22 lions surround the game rangers’ car as they try to stay out of the sun on a blazing day in South Africa

The lions spot Pieter's car as they roam the 5,000-acre MalaMala Game Reserve in Mpumalanga

The lions spot Pieter's car as they roam the 5,000-acre MalaMala Game Reserve in Mpumalanga

The lions spot Pieter’s car as they roam the 5,000-acre MalaMala Game Reserve in Mpumalanga

A female lion pants first in the shadow of Pieter’s car before the rest of the pride starts to tilt.

She looks directly at the forester as he says “they passed our vehicles and this eventually became their chosen spot, as you can see.”

One by one, the lions are in the shade behind his car, each with their heads up to watch him as he films.

He jokes that these are ‘South African problems’, although it’s unclear whether he means the hot sun or the 22 top predators that keep him in his car.

The first lioness to lie down in the shadows looks up as he gasps at Pieter while filming her

The first lioness to lie down in the shadows looks up as he gasps at Pieter while filming her

The first lioness to lie down in the shadows looks up as he gasps at Pieter while filming her

The rest of the pride is behind her as she keeps staring curiously at Pieter in his car

The rest of the pride is behind her as she keeps staring curiously at Pieter in his car

The rest of the pride is behind her as she keeps staring curiously at Pieter in his car

Pieter: ‘It was late in the morning and the mercury level rose as the sun climbed higher into the sky.

“The lions, Africa’s top predators, were not hunting for food, but for shade.

“They decided that the shadow on my car would work just fine.

“It is not uncommon during hot days on MalaMala Game Reserve and it was their decision to get into my ‘personal space’.

“Animals have priority, so I had to wait. But it wasn’t long before the shade got too small and they moved on. ‘

34-year-old Pieter Can Wyk took the film as part of the 'Rangers in Isolation' series to show MalaMala's wildlife to people trapped at home during the closing

34-year-old Pieter Can Wyk took the film as part of the 'Rangers in Isolation' series to show MalaMala's wildlife to people trapped at home during the closing

34-year-old Pieter Can Wyk took the film as part of the ‘Rangers in Isolation’ series to show MalaMala’s wildlife to people trapped at home during the closing

The moment was filmed as part of a series called ‘Rangers in Isolation’, in which rangers share videos of game drives and fieldwork online during the lockdown.

They hope that people who wanted to visit MalaMala but couldn’t because of the pandemic can still see the African bush and some incredible natural encounters.

The reserve is home to the Big Five animals – lions, leopards, elephants, rhinoceroses, and Cape buffalo – as well as cheetahs, hyenas, giraffes, hippos, and wild dogs.

It also housed Tjololo, a famous leopard who starred in the National Geographic documentary Stalking Leopards, until he died in October 2007.

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