The afternoon safari activities began with the usual mouth-watering High Tea, complete with delicious pastries, cake, tea and coffee, a variety of fruit juice, and even some thirst quenching iced-coffee – a favourite with most guests. We then gathered at the main entrance before setting off on our evening game drive adventure. There is nothing quite like the sound of the dirt road beneath the game drive vehicle, and the smell of the African bush to make you feel alive!

After driving for a short while we noticed some giraffes standing on the side of the road staring intently in one direction – not at our approaching vehicle. My tracker and I immediately knew that this kind of behaviour meant that the giraffes were concerned about something they had seen in the bush – something dangerous perhaps – such as a lion or a leopard.

I asked my guests to look around carefully and to also observe the behaviour of the giraffes. Being very inquisitive and curious creatures, the giraffes did very well in giving us a clue that there was something in the bushes worth looking for. As we scoured the bush, I heard one of my guest’s comment: “Wow, look how cute the baby lion is, and it is so little”. We were completely surprised when a tiny lion cub made an unexpected appearance out of the bushes. The rest of the cubs quickly followed this brave little cub, closely monitored by their mother who kept a wary eye on them to see if they were safe.

These beautiful cubs then entertained us as they started interacting and playing right in front of our vehicle. They romped around giving each of us the perfect opportunity to take those once-in-a-lifetime photos. While observing the cubs and their mother I pointed out to my guests that you can clearly see the difference between an adult lion and lion cubs because the cubs are full of spots on their bodies. The coloration in front of their nose is also different being pinkish when still babies and becoming black as they mature. After a few minutes, the cubs started suckling on the lioness. A tender and extraordinary moment to see the maternal and gentle side of these apex predators.

 

We look forward to watching these little fur balls grow up into fierce predators. One of these cubs may even grow up to become a dominant lion on the reserve. This is what makes wildlife and nature so fascinating – you never know how the story you are observing will unfold.

 

Written by Jeffrey Mmadi, Buffalo Camp Ranger