It was another typical hot summer afternoon on the 30th December 2011. If anyone knows this time of year, especially two days after a heavy down pour of rain, nothing beats these afternoons. Just before leaving on the afternoon game drive my guests had requested to see a pride of lions with cubs. This was their first drive ever at a private game lodge in South Africa.
While driving we managed to find some tracks of a small pride of lions consisting of a young male and two females. We tracked these lions on foot for about an hour. The tracks indicated that the lions had been moving in a north westerly direction from one of the waterholes into a big block, where they crossed over into a block neighboring it just west of another smaller waterhole. After several minutes of driving around the area we managed to find, to our surprise, three of the most beautiful lion cubs (probably about two months old) and their mother just on the side of the road. No the lions we had been tracking but a treat no less.
They were so relaxed just staring at us. All three of the cubs in front of their mother in perfect few. We watched them for about 5 – 7 minutes without saying a word, with just the occasionally “wow” and many photographs. While watching the unexpected lioness and her cubs play in front of the vehicle, the lions we had originally been tracking appeared out of the brush near by. Unfortunately, as these cubs were still very young, they were nervous around the male and quickly disappeared into the thickets leaving us alone with the young male and two females.
The real surprise however was that the young male had fathered these young cubs. We know this because male lions will kill cubs that are not their own in order to force the females back into oestrus so that he can mate with her and have cubs of his own. This was unusual to see as the large dominate male lion usually does not allow the young male to mate with the females. The reason for the cubs moving off on the arrival of the male was due to them not having been introduced to him yet. Females will move away from the pride when she is ready to give birth and will only introduce the cubs to the rest of the group once they are slightly older. What a superb day for myself, my tracker and my guests. A real dream come true.

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