The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is a 3.6 million hectare wildlife reserve in the Kalahari region of Botswana.

London - When you go on safari, the general idea is to get close to the animals.

But not this close. Two tourists camping in a reserve in Botswana woke to find three lionesses licking rainwater from the clear mesh on the front of their tent.

The animals were taking advantage of an overnight shower – and, luckily, were satisfied with that – and not a meal of fresh tourist. Holidaymakers Francie Lubbe and her partner managed to stay surprisingly calm as they waited to see whether the lions would try to get inside the tent.

Whispering in low voices, the couple watched as the two lions sated their thirst inches away from the table where they kept their suncreams and a bottle of Bell’s whisky. Miss Lubbe called the moment “a privilege” – and posted a short clip of the encounter on Facebook.

The South African described the experience as “very special”, adding: “[There was] no noise, no smell. We tried to be very quiet not to disturb them.” Another photo, taken through an open tent flap, shows a lioness inspecting a barbecue.

The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is a 3.6 million hectare wildlife reserve in the Kalahari region of Botswana. It is unsure if the couple were on a tour or on their own. Visitors with a 4x4 vehicle can go on self-supported stays in much of the national park.