(continued from my South African safari trip in 2013)
My first drive was in the evening. They brought me to what I had heard so much about...the lion pride with the 2 young cubs.
Other than seeing the rare white lions that frequent this area, seeing the full pride with its cubs was the absolute pinnacle of my hopes for this trip. There were 4 or 5 adult or near adult female lions with 2 very adolescent males who risked being shooed from the pride by the 2 dominant males any day now. Today they hung with the pride as the 2 dominant males were not in the immediate area, so they were safe for now. I'm told that when these 2 pride leaders, brothers themselves, are in the area, these 2 adolescents make themselves scarce so as not to provoke the 2 older brothers, one of whom is their father.
After climbing all over, biting and rolling around with her brother for awhile, the female cub wanted to play with one of the older females, probably an aunt, who seemed a bit cranky and didn't take too kindly to the youngster climbing on her head while she was trying to sleep. She abruptly got up from where she was laying with a grunt and moved to another location. The young cub stood looking after her as she walked away as if to say "What?! . . .what did I do?" A priceless scene with absolutely adorable cubs and beautiful lions.
On the other side of the group, two of the ladies laying near each other exhibited the fond affection I have come to see so often by the lions. They rolled touching each other, laying heads on each other and nuzzling one another. The familial connection, nurturing and love that can be seen among lions - even between males - is one of the most beautiful scenes to witness. The loving energy from this group emanated everywhere.
We arrived back at camp, had dinner, wine, a fire in the campfire pit, and I returned to my perfect bed in my perfect room overlooking the plain. I slept with the open wall to the sights and sounds of the African bush under my white netted, perfectly cozy bed. I heard later that one of my neighboring guests observed a giraffe eating from a tree right next to my tree house around 2am. It would have been just exquisitely more than I could have asked to greet a giraffe face to face…few would ever have that opportunity. Too bad I was happily sleeping so soundly….
To see more about nThambo Tree Camp see here: nThambo Tree Camp. To see more of my pictures from the Klasserie Reserve and my time at nThambo, see here: South African Safari - Klaserie Reserve Best Shots