For those of us in office jobs, a slip-up at work involves accidentally emailing a cat meme to the CEO or using a co-worker's personalised coffee mug for your mid-morning instant noodles. But if you're a field guide working in a big-five game reserve, a miscalculation could land you in the middle of a lion pride.

Earlier this month, safari guide Steve Faulconbridge was hosting a game drive in South Africa's Greater Kruger National Park for streaming service SafariLive when he spotted fresh lion tracks scattered across a gravel road. The big cats often use road networks to navigate unhindered through their territories, so guides will regularly check for signs of lion activity in the soft sand. Eager to give his online viewers a candid look at lion life, Faulconbridge followed the spoor, stopping when he reached a junction in the road to assess which direction the cats had chosen.

It was at one of these crossroads where the knowledgeable guide hopped out of the vehicle and began explaining to the camera the finer points of lion tracking. As he strolled further from the safety of the game-viewer, head bowed to examine the spoor, he overlooked a handful of tawny heads peeping out of the tall grass beside the road. "Oh my word," Faulconbridge managed when he finally spotted the cats, now just metres in front of him. Both guide and cats were startled by the encounter and, thankfully, the lions fled the scene.

Faulconbridge kept his cool. He slowly retreated, walking backwards so that he could keep a watchful eye on the lions (ProTip: if you stumble across big cats on foot, don't run). He returned to the vehicle wearing a wry smile, fully aware that SafariLive online viewers probably spotted the lions long before he did.

Our camera crews have also had their fair share of close encounters with these big cats. Here, Graham Springer explains what to do when a lioness sniffs your pants ...