By Nelson Groom
This is the priceless moment an inquisitive meerkat used a woman’s head as a lookout post on an African Safari.
British photographer Charles Kinsley, 69, was holidaying in Bostswana, Southern Africa, when he captured the perfectly-timed snap.
Charles had been trying for days to get up close with the shy critters in the Makgadikgadi Pans when one of them put on the rare display on the eve of his departure.
The playful creature suddenly scaled the head of a woman named BK, the manager for the camp they were staying in, and looked around to check for predators.
Charles, from Bristol, said: “They are normally extremely shy animals.
“Bk was trying one last time to get up close on our last day.
“She was delighted to experience a meercat climb on to her and use her head as a ‘lookout’.
“There are just a very few places where this can happen and this area of Botswana is one of the only ones.”
Meercats are gifted survivors, striking their trademark pose on their hindlegs to watch for predators.
Their numbers in the wild are stable as they have adapted to living in harsh desert conditions with limited food and water and ample predators.
For this reason, close encounters with humans are rare – which makes the images all the more remarkable.
Charles, who has been photographing wildlife for over 30 years, said: “I have been to Africa to photograph wildlife many times, but this is the first time I have caught them on camera.
“This capture was remarkable.”