What a lion up! Thirsty big cats stop to drink in unison

A pride of thirsty lionesses were captured enjoying an early morning drink at a safari park waterhole.

Robert Watson, 37, was at Pilanesberg National Park, South Africa, with his family and was woken in the early hours of the morning by agitated impala and wildebeest snorting and stamping their feet.

Pic By Robert Watson/Mercury press

Realising their restless actions where due to nearby predators Robert sprang out of bed, grabbed his camera and followed a dry creek bed in the hope that the mystery mammal would pop up into view.

The dad of one’s patience paid off when eventually seven lionesses emerged from the undergrowth and he captured the ‘magical’ moment they lapped at the water.

Engineer Robert from Chicago, Illinois, said: “The instant I woke up that cool summer morning there was a certain predawn electricity in the air – you could just feel the muted anticipation all around.

Pic By Robert Watson/Mercury press

“The impala and wildebeest were going crazy stomping their feet and snorting their alarm calls

“A moment after I sat down and was still catching my breath the mystery revealed itself, it was not one but seven lions from a nearby pride that had come down for a morning drink.

“This is what I had been waiting for, a perfect opportunity in superb morning light to finally capture a pride of lions at close distance.”

Robert, who has been taking photos for six years, captured the serene scene at sunrise using his Canon DSLR camera.

Pic By Robert Watson/Mercury press

Robert said: “I was shaking with excitement as I removed the lens cap on my camera, focused in, set my exposure and fired off a short series of photos like an artistic machine gun.

“Seeing those lions having their morning drink while the sun rose above was one example why I keep coming back to this magical motherland that has called my name ever since I was a boy.

“After the pride was done drinking they slowly stood up, sauntered off with that confident swagger that only an apex predator can manage and melted into the bush as if they had never existed.”