Madikwe Game Reserve is home to the full range of large predators that are found in Africa, but few hold as much respect as the Panthera Leo – otherwise known as the lion. At Jaci’s Lodges we are used to seeing the largest African cat regularly, and often view prides of lions, as well as male lion coalitions.
We recently saw signs that a lioness was suckling cubs and this made us very excited, as to see lion cubs is a real treat. We headed out on an afternoon safari with the intention of attempting to track this female and hopefully get a glimpse of her new litter.
After a fairly long drive, we picked up tracks of a lioness who was in the company of a male lion, and we followed. A short while later, we hit the jackpot and located the lioness, her three cubs and a male lion. We presume the father of the cubs to be a male lion referred to as Chimbro.
There were four of us on the vehicle, and we all started filling our memory cards with images of these tiny cubs. It was interesting to see the type of images that everyone was taking, so I asked everyone to submit one image, and a short description to show how everyone viewed and captured the sighting:
Lauren Perry: “For a first time photographer who didn’t have a clue what she was doing, this was an uplifting, ‘got me hooked’ moment. Not only did this give that ‘awwwww’ feeling, but the joys of being able to capture the cubs and have the images that you took to look at afterwards is priceless.”
Armand Steyn: “As the New Year is now on our doorstep, Madikwe says ‘hello’ to three new members!! Three lion cubs have made their appearance and we were fortunate enough to steal a glimpse of them.”
John Ray Spurs: “A high five for me seeing cubs this young in Madikwe for the first time in eight years, and I didn’t even know lion cubs’ paws are pink underneath.”
Jaci Van Heteren: “The mother lioness was incredibly relaxed, lying together with the male lion. As a result we were able to sit long enough to enjoy both watching and listening to these tiny cubs. The undergrowth was thick, thorny and shady – providing the mother, cubs and father with shelter from the scorching day.”
This picture by Jaci van Heteren is the first glimpse that we had of the cubs and, for me, this captures that special moment as I held my breath whilst my brain processed what my eyes were actually seeing. It was magical and an experience that I have not had the privilege to savour for several years.
We are sure that these cubs will provide us with hours of viewing as they grow in size, and we look forward to sharing these incredible moments with our guests.