My guests had never seen lions before so when we started our safari, we decided to go to an area were the lions had been seen the day before. Magnum (my tracker) found fresh tracks and we followed them for quite some time.

After following these tracks, we found them – three females and a male sleeping next to the dam. As we sat there watching the pride of lions, the one female started calling for her cubs. They came tackling one another while running towards their mother without a care, just enjoying being young and carefree. After watching them play and learn, they started suckling from their mother.

After a while the cubs moved off and we decided to stay with them. The cubs started to spread out and circle a francolin (a small ground bird) and tried, very unsuccessfully, to catch it. As we were watching this, a massive male giraffe walked towards the pride of lions. The lions noticed the presence off the large giraffe and even though they had eaten the previous day, they knew that an adult giraffe was too big for them kill – or at least the more experienced lions had that knowledge.

On the other hand, the three five month old cubs know no fear and they saw this big meal going to waste. To our amazement the cubs started circling and stalking the giraffe. They got rather close before two of them decided they had “bitten off more than they could chew” and went back to their mother for protection. The other cub, however, would not give up so easily and continued the hunt. As he reached the road and ran out of cover he charged the giraffe and even tried to roar.

Needless to say, he stopped short of the unconcerned giraffe and decided to turn around towards safety. This experience was so comical to watch and was amazing to see how fearless such a small lion can be. All I know is that I wouldn’t want to run into him when he is a fully grown lion, ready to rumble.

Michael Lester – River Lodge

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