It’s not often that we as photographic guides are given the privilege of being able to set up in advance for the ‘perfect’ photograph. We are usually trying to predict the future and capture the moment in split seconds. On this particular day we used our knowledge of animal behaviour and this allowed us to prepare for the shot; to align ourselves in a good position and to ensure the settings on our cameras were what we needed to ensure we got the shot!

We had been following two of the Majingilane Coalition members for the entire morning and when we saw what route they were taking we knew that we had landed on a gold-mine. They were heading north and they were going to cross the river at the notorious and beautiful Finfoot Crossing. David and myself, two passionate photographers sped ahead and went to the crossing point leaving the lions still moving. We knew it was a risk…what if they decided to change course ? What if they simply found shade and fell asleep ? Or worse still; what if they attempted a kill on the journey of giraffe we had just looped around? We took the risk…15 minutes later and our risk paid off beautifully.

The crossing is perfect for a situation like this although it can be a little tricky to maneuver around without getting stuck. Together David and I decided that he would cross the crossing and face onwards to get the lions full frontal as they crossed. I was going to park in the middle of the river and get them side-on as these brutes braved the Sand River.

Below you will see some of the pictures we took. There is of course fun rivalry and competition between guides so don’t feel afraid to cast your vote in the comments section…just for fun of course!

Having just entered the river this male still had some distance of water to wade through by Adam Bannister - Canon 7d ,A mode, F- 7,1,Focal Length 120mm, 1/2000 shutter speed

Male Lion crossing at Finfoot Crossing by Adam Bannister - Canon 7d ,A mode, F- 7,1,Focal Length 85mm, 1/3200 shutter speed

The scar-nosed Majingilane Male crosses the Sand River by Adam Bannister - Canon 7d ,A mode, F- 7,1,Focal Length 80mm, 1/3200 shutter speed

David Dampier and his guests perfectly positioned for the full frontal lion crossing by Adam Bannister - Canon 7d ,A mode, F- 7,1,Focal Length 95mm, 1/320 shutter speed

Two Majingilane Coalition males drinking by David Dampier - Nikon D80 , AV mode, F- 4, Focal Length 200mm, 1/1000 shutter speed

Brothers in arms by David Dampier - Nikon D80 , AV mode, F- 4, Focal Length 145mm, 1/2500 shutter speed

Scar nosed Majingilane comes through the river splashing water as he walks by David Dampier - Nikon D80 , AV mode, F- 4, Focal Length 145mm, 1/1600 shutter speed

Eye level and full frontal by David Dampier - Nikon D80 , AV mode, F- 4, Focal Length 80mm, 1/1600 shutter speed

Written by Adam Bannister
Photographed by Adam Bannister and David Dampier

Filed under Photography Wildlife

About the Author

Adam Bannister

Guest contributor

Ranger at Londolozi Game Reserve

View Adam's profile


on Photographing the Epic Majingilane Coalition

Join the conversationJoin the conversation

Sue Prince

Fantastic pictures boys, shame its a Nikon David!…….

Rich Laburn

Haha Sue, I couldn’t agree more 🙂


Just for fun – I love David’s shot of the lions drinking, it has perfect balance, the lions are in harmony, the three tiered effect is so pleasing to the eye giving land, water and beast equal presence, wonderful light and shade and to top it all reflection. But honestly if I could take one of the above shots I would
be on top of the world, so well done to both of you!

Penny Parker

Sensational! To see the photo of David and his guests, and then the close up of scar nosed Majingilane by David, just gives me shivers – what an amazing shot. It all definitely paid off. Ones quality in life is determined by the risks that they take.

James Weis

Adam – awesome stuff once again… love it.

I had a bit of a laugh reading about how you “took a risk” to speed ahead and hope that they crossed, as this is what I have done seemingly countless times in the Okavango with situations where cats and elies are heading towards a crossing… gets the excitement going and when it works out – it is time for high-fives!

Well done.
See you guys in December.

Mary Beth Wheeler

I love ‘Brothers In Arms!” Two such magnificant males, looking like they own the world! And a wonderful reflection of the first as he crosses the river. And the last two of scar-nose as he crosses – I could almost hear the water splashing!

Well done!! Thanks for taking me back to Londolozi today!

Graeme Marais

What an incredible series of photographs. Its the shot we all dream of gettting. Well done

Christa Blake


Patty Trom-Bird

They are all very cool…but the full frontal with the splash and the two brothers w/the reflection= awesome!

Rich Laburn



Handsome lads

Luke Galardi

Brothers in arms. Wow, cool shot. One brute leading the way, and his partner in crime in the background. I *really* enjoy reading the Londolozi posts. Extremely well written and very engaging.

Sandy Johnson

Double WOW! All incredible photos, but the last one – magnificent! I want that hanging on my wall. Have you guys put together a book?


Rich Laburn

Working on it Sandy. Stay tuned to the blog as we will let you know once it is ready and where you can get your copy.

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