Since March I have been relishing the thought of getting back to the bush. During the course of the last few months I would often ponder as to what the animals, with which I had become so familiar, have been getting up to since I last saw them. Thankfully, Londolozi opened its doors to guests this month and I was able to discover firsthand what some of the animals had busied themselves with during ‘lockdown’.
On one particular morning we had found a portion of the Ntsevu pride lying up in an open clearing. As we sat with the sleeping lions we heard a soft call of a lioness. The call was not a roar, but rather a gentle call – the kind of call that a lioness might use to make contact with her cub. Immediately we decided that we should go and investigate a little further. As we rounded the corner where the gentle call originated, we were greeted by the most amazing sight; trotting hastily behind its mother was the Ntsevu pride’s youngest cub. This little cub is so young that it still has its spots clearly displayed on its face and we estimate that the youngster is less than 8 weeks old. As luck would have it, both the mother and cub were very relaxed and we were treated to an intimate sighting of the two playing in the dew covered grass.
After about twenty minutes, both mother and cub got up and descended the tree-lined bank of the Sand River and vanished from sight. As we reflected on this special sighting, it occurred to me that the fact that this cub even exists is proof that the pairing of the Birmingham males and the Ntsevu females has indeed been a successful one. With the Birmingham and Ntsevu’s first set of cubs approaching three years of age, the females are now ready to have new litters of cubs. Hopefully the partnership between these lions lasts long into the future so that this little cub will be joined by many more and continue to grow the Ntsevu dynasty.