Tuesday, 17 January 2012

16 January - Lion Cubs!

Photo of the Day
 Morning Drive


Lion (2 Mahlathini males, 1 female, 3 cubs) / Motswari – Shlaralumi River Road
Buffalo (3 dagha boys) / Motswari – Bush Braai Road

Afternoon Drive


Lion (2 Mahlathini males, 1 female, 3 cubs) / Motswari – Shlaralumi River Road
Elephant (1 Kambaku) / Peru – Long Road, Flooded Crossing

Daily Synopsis
After Herold told me that he had seen cubs this morning, I was dying to get on afternoon drive. It explained why the lioness had been so unhappy with Herold and Diff’s presence on foot yesterday morning.  Herold got all new guests today, which meant we could go back to the sighting. By Three ‘o clock, the Foam Nest Frogs were chirping and the wind had picked up, it didn’t take long for the heavens to open, and although we desperately need the rain I can’t say I was too chuffed with it. However, taking this blog seriously and not wanting to miss out on cubs, I wrapped up my camera in a black bag and even donned a poncho! We headed straight for the area of the lion, where they had now dragged their buffalo kill into the riverbed. As we approached, the rain lifted and the sun peeked briefly through the clouds…I couldn’t believe our luck! One adult male was tucking into buffalo ribs (we could hear the crunching!) while the other waited his turn. A few meters away lay the proud mother lioness with her three cubs. The cubs had been a little nervous this morning with the presence of the car, but this afternoon they barely seemed to notice us as they played with each other, fought for milk and groomed.  The buffalo kill was almost finished, so I really do hope they will stick around, as it was a beautiful sighting!

There had been a pre-drive sighting of Kuhanye near to camp, so we decided to investigate. We had also heard bushbuck alarm calls and started in that direction first. We found the bushbuck, doing what it does best; hiding in the bushes! And although we searched for quite a while, all we found was Kuhanye’s tracks. Hopefully we will have more luck tomorrow!

Herold then decided to follow up on the Jacaranda Pride that had been spotted earlier. On the way, we bumped into a solitary bull elephant, who was clearly not in the mood for paparazzi and he moved off. General game was sparse due to the weather and all we found was a small bachelor herd of waterbuck. Once again, we only found the tracks of the lion, which had unfortunately moved into a very thick area. On the way for a drinks stop at Lover’s Leap we came across a small python resting half on the road. It wasn’t very mobile due to the cold and we were able to snap away. Although the rest of our drive was relatively quiet, the lion cubs certainly made up for it.


  1. panda :) such beautiful photos my friend !! you are too talented.. so happy that you can share this with us.. much love xx

  2. Beautiful cubs. What a great sighting. Is this mother the mother of the white lions that was mating with the Mahlathini males back in July?
    Thanks for the good work your doing a great job.
    Jen from Australia.

  3. Wonderful photos, particularly the bush buck. The cubs are absolutely adorable! Any idea if these cubs are the same ones that were seen with the two Jacaranda lionesses and the white cub back in November?

    Tina, NC, USA.

  4. Thanks for the great comments on Andrea's blog - some stunning images indeed!

    to answer a few questions; Jen, yes, this is one of the females that were mating with the Mahlathini males during the middle of 2011...and the mother is one of the mothers of thw white lions that have now rejoined the Timbavati pride - while we are "sad" that none of the cubs are white (as both lioness and the Mahlathini males have the white gene), we are hopeful that in time they will produce white cubs...these three little ones were born in November 2011, so are no more than 10-12 weeks...

    Tina, the lionesses are not part of the Jacaranda Pride that has the other white cub, althoug they are related. These Timbavati lionesses are also the daughters (born May 2004) of the Jacaranda lioness that has the white cub (born September 2011)...so the white gene is alive and well in our area!

    Thanks again Andrea for the great blogs :)



  5. Thanks for that Chad. It is so great to follow what is happening. Can't wait to get back to Motswari again.
    regards ,
    Jen from Australia

  6. Quite a many wild life lovers come by flights to South Africa and experience one of the very best of Africa's wild life reserves. By the pictures you can surely assume how amazingly beautiful the scene could become when ones near to the lion cubs and observing their behaviour from such close.

  7. Ah, that makes sense...thought they looked a little too young to be the same ones, but wasn't sure. Lion family dynamics can get a bit confusing, but then, so can people family dynamics, I guess. ;) Thanks again for the clarification, Chad. Looking forward to updates after the floods recede. Take care, all of the Motswari staff!


  8. Cant believe you found a python. I was only emailing Chad the other day about sightings of snakes.

    I really enjoy reading the Diary as a prep for my visit and the photos are amazing.

    I cant wait for time to go by before I re-vist you guys in May. Last time (2002) I stayed at one of the Managers house as private guest - this time I am staying in a chalet so I am looking forward to the daily game drives and walking safaris.

  9. Beautiful moments between mother and child in the African nature, your photos are special, Thank you very much.