Copyrighted by Chris Fallows @2020


The black-manned lion is an undisputed African Icon.

It is the most spectacular looking of all lions, but due to indiscriminate trophy hunting and poaching, the species gene pool is both small and isolated.

There are now but a few locations, primarily in Southern Africa’s arid reaches, that offer a small chance to encounter one such specimen, and the 55,000 km2 Central Kalahari Game Reserve in Botswana is such a place.

 It is a huge wilderness; remote, wild and the size of many small countries.

Seasonally, the landscape is a chameleon of change, oscillating between flushes of summer green and winter browns.

It is seldom a place of plenty, and days can pass without any significant sightings of much life at all, let alone a black-manned lion.

It is a place where you will be tested as an individual.

There is no water, no fuel and no food. You need to be completely self-sufficient as you may go ten days or more without seeing another human. And if you make a mistake, or get yourself into trouble, you are likely to be firmly on your own.

For me, the artistic process to create a truly meaningful photograph involves so much more than just pressing a button. It is about truly living with all senses engaged; watching, listening and feeling, thereby understanding the essence of your subject’s world.

At night the resonance of an approaching lion’s roar causes the fabric of my tent to vibrate, leaving me with a dry palette as I lie awake. My heart tries to break free of its prison of ribs as I wait and listen. Soft pad strokes and deep breathing symbolize the coming, and then passing of my feeling of insignificance, as the Dark Manned One strides by, and into the darkness.

In the morning I beat the sunrise to interrogate the saucer-sized paw prints that are etched onto the sand tracks left behind by my night visitor.

After following them for many miles, I see a springbok standing rigid, alert and focused on an approaching tawny colored shape, dividing a flaxen canvas.

Finally after many days, and over many trips, I have found him. A magnificent black-manned lion walks towards me, bobbing in and out of the golden seas of grass.

Will he keep walking towards me, and will he stay in the path that I have chosen to lie in?

So much is left to chance.

Nervous minutes pass, and then he appears out of the grass, walking deliberately towards where I lie.

With every step closer, my pulse increases. It is intense being alone on the ground, with an animal as formidable and magnificent as this, walking towards you not more than 60 feet or so away.

I take a deep breath, compose my frame and hit the trigger.

The perfect location; shadow less even light; a clean simple background; and the most magnificent black-manned Kalahari lion gazing undisturbed in contemplation.

As he pads past me, I feel the heady mix of adrenalin and euphoria that come from these fleeting moments. 

The search in the heart of the Kalahari for its most famous of lions has been as much a main course for the soul, as it is a dessert for the lens.    

Available Sizes

Exhibition: 173cm x 109.5cm (68” x 43″)
Large: 146 cm x 92.4 cm ( 57.5″ x 36″)
Classic: 118cm x 75 cm ( 46.4″ x 29.5″)

Available Editions
Exhibition: 12
Large: 12
Classic: 12

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 * Please note that prices start from USD5,500.00