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:
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…