Our safari was almost complete. We only had one night drive and a morning drive left. It was time to look for what we haven’t seen yet. The answer – lion cubs. Setting out, all the other rangers were determined to find a leopard. So we were alone. We did however have an idea of where the animals had been by trying tracking them that morning. But they hadn’t been found yet. And the tracks disappeared because of a soft rain all day. So this was going to be a mission from the start.

As we drove around, we started losing hope – there was no fresh tracks to be found, and the spots that were most likely to be their end destination turned up empty. Until that one unknown turn you go around and they are, lying on the road. Mom and the older sisters sleeping while the cubs play around and on top of them. It turned out to be fantastic. With everybody else still looking for leopard, that ensured that we had the sighting to ourselves for as long as we wanted. Then however, we got thirsty for more.

We made our way to a nice open spot, far enough away from the lions to enjoy a sun downer drink. Just as the guests were finishing up their last sips, we heard a lion roaring. Then a few minutes later another roar. Closer this time. So we packed up and got back onto the vehicle. It didn’t take as long to find the big male walking along slowly up the road, marking his territorial boundaries after the rain. He walked closer to the car and flopped down a little distance away from us, but still facing the vehicle. We got the opportunity for some amazing photographs and then he started to roar. Lying down, head up. Full volume roar. It sounded like it came right from the stomach, straight through the car! Awestruck, we realized again the immense presence this magnificent animal has wherever it goes. And there is no place I would have rather been at that moment than right there. Beautiful, amazing Africa

Story by Jacques (River Lodge)