Throughout my career as a guide, I have often wondered if the day would come when I would get to see a lioness pick up a new born cub and carry it to a new den site.
Having seen that one of the Ntsevu lionesses had given birth and with sign of fresh suckle marks, I had a glimpse of hope that I would get to witness something spectacular with this pride.

We had an idea of where these little cubs were being hidden and a couple vehicles had tried to find them, with ranger Peter Thorpe being the very first Londolozi ranger to hear the cubs whining for milk from their mother, but he was unfortunately not able to get a view of them.

Tracker Jerry Hambana, myself and our guests the Hall family set out on the final morning of their 3 night stay. When I had woken up that morning, I had an incredible feeling inside me, telling me we should go look for these lions and try to find these cubs. We set out at first light, heading straight to the area hoping to find some fresh tracks of lions heading back to where we thought the cubs may be. However there was no sign. We drove around the area for a while and minute by minute my hopes were fading. I said to Jerry that we should check one last spot and as we got there Jerry with his impeccable vision managed to spot a lioness on the far bank of the river, about 300 metres away.

This lioness moved down into the Sand River and continued to head south. Incredibly excited, we stared through the binoculars looking for suckle marks and swollen mammary glands to see if it was the lioness who had cubs.

It was her, and we were all on the edge of our seats, thinking that we could be the first people at Londolozi to potentially view these cubs.

What happened next I could only have dreamt about; I would never have thought I would have seen something like this in my lifetime.

I’ll let the pictures and video below speak for themselves:

The lioness approaches the water from the far bank.

Carrying the first cub over.

Returning for the second cub.

Disappearing with the second cub.

Sadly, I know it will most likely be a long, long time before I am lucky enough to see something like this again, if ever…

Filed under Featured Lions Wildlife

16 Comments

on Incredible Sighting: Lioness Carries Cubs

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Joanne Wadsworth

I’m so happy for you Grant and the others on the drive to see and record this very special moment. It truly was exciting….even for me. Now you have it recorded with excellent images, a clear video and will always be retrievable in your mind’s eye. The green lushness at the river gave the images a subtle sense of freshness and new hope. Congratulations on your discovery. May the two Cubs survive and safely grow up!

Grant Rodewijk

Hello Joanne. It really was a special moment. It’s a moment the will stay with me forever. Hopefully we will see more of these cubs soon!!

Marinda Drake

Incredible experience Grant. It is these moments that will stay with you forever.

Jennifer Ridgewell

What a exceptional and very moving experience for everyone.

Denise Vouri

What an incredible sighting!! Your guests must have been smiling ear to ear after that. I can’t think of anything more special to see save for a leopard carrying her cubs, or perhaps a cheetah mom. Thanks for the video!!

Mary Sewell

Divine providence….what awe-silencing experience. Watching the short clip slips me back to our safari days at Londolozzi…Firstly the awe feeling and then slipping into silence to cradle the witnessing of a mother’s enduring actions of survival for her offspring. What the wilds hold for us…❤️️

Susan Strauss

Incredible indeed. Thank you, Grant. Today is my bday…and a perfect gift of the photos as well as knowing there are new cubs! See you. In April!!

Grant Rodewijk

Hello Susan. Happy birthday for yesterday. I’m glad that this made your day more special. We look forward to seeing you here in April.

Linda Clews

What a sighting! ❤️

Mary Beth Wheeler

What a thrill, Grant!! Thanks for sharing your experience!

Gillian Evans

Wow! What a sighting! Great photos and video Grant! Well done Jerry.. your eyesight is phenomenal!! Fantastic team!!

Grant Rodewijk

Thank you Gillian. Jerry sure does have spectular eye sight. Hope you are keeping well.

Gillian Evans

All well but missing Londolozi!

Michael & Terri Klauber

Incredible once-in-a-lifetime sighting Grant! Congratulations on your persistance and patience! We look forward to seeing more of those cubs!

Grant Rodewijk

Hello Michael and Terri. Thank you for your wonderful comment. It sure was a special moment to witness. Hopefully we will have more sightings of these cubs in the near future.

Callum Evans

Perhps one of the most precious sightings possible!! I’ve never come close to experiencing something like that!

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