For nearly five decades, Hannetjie van der Westhuizen had been waiting to see lions up close at Kruger National Park in South Africa, but maybe not this close.
“Most of my 48 years of visiting the park, I have had to use binoculars and a lot of imagination to spot a lion,” van der Westhuizen told LatestSightings. “[We’ve] never ever had an encounter like this!”
The close encounter occurred on August 14, but her video was posted publicly for the first time Tuesday by LatestSightings.
The footage shows a lion using the mirror of their vehicle as a chew toy, wiping its paws on the window and attempting to bite the glass.
“We were very excited and scared at first, but then we realized that the lion was more curious and playful and was just merely investigating a strange object,” van der Westhuizen told LatestSightings.
The curious lion was among a pride of five lions famous for interacting with cars. The encounter occurred on the most popular road in Kruger National Park. The S100 is an open road with open plains that attracts lots of prey and, as a result, lots of lions.
LatestSightings reported that Kruger National Park allows tourists to drive with the windows open. It’s actually encouraged since you can hear the sounds of the bush, but officials also recommend keeping the windows closed when lions are close to the road—for this very reason.
The curious lion eventually started doing something that prompted them to leave the incredible scene.
“He was seriously chewing on the tires, and I thought those sharp teeth may damage them, so we decided to move one,” van der Westhuizen explained.
Photo is a screen grab from the video.