I can vividly recall the first time I encountered a lion in the wild. As far as lion sightings go, this one was rather nondescript, but it is indelibly scorched in my memory. It was a single lioness laying in midday shade next to a water hole in Tarangire National Park. Despite distance, I remember my initial reaction was marveling over her lean strength. Even in repose, her muscles were tensed like sinewy springs, belying an awesome predatory acumen. Since then I’ve had countless other lion encounters -like this one in Uganda’s Murchison Falls National Park - but they all invariably elicit that same sentiment of awe.