He was so close that had he decided that I was worth investigating as prey (something that vehicles and their contents generally aren't) our ranger Bruce in the driver's seat right in front of me would have had no time to get his gun out and instead would have had to face the lion down, trying to look big, and yelling at him. Apparently this does happen, occasionally - "It's why you sign a disclaimer," we were told cheerfully, afterwards.
But this time our close encounter was simply thrilling, and a perfect way to end our too-short stay at Phinda, itself the perfect finish to our rhino crusade to Zululand. This last early-morning game drive was followed by 3 hours on the road to Durban airport, an hour to Joburg, 11 hours to Sydney, and a bit over two hours back to Auckland and home. Plus all the bits in between, that's a long journey, but so very worth it, in every way, and one I'd make again anytime. Africa.