As field guides, we drive through the gates of the Pilanesberg Game Reserve and never know what is going to happen. This all adds to the excitement and thrill of what we do. On the morning of 14 March 2018, three of us had a group game drive departing from Sun City. For a few weeks, there had been two lionesses hanging around Lengau Dam, Ntshwe area. They had split from the pride as one of the females was pregnant. For a few days leading up to the 14th, there were only sightings of the one lioness around Kgama so we decided to go and look for her.
It is all about ‘right place right time’ and a little bit of luck… I was driving the middle truck and drove up Ntshwe towards Kgama. The truck ahead of me managed to spot the single lioness so I was heading that way. I passed the river crossing on Ntshwe close to Kubu and headed towards Kgama. The next thing field guide Greg, who was behind me, radioed and said, “You you might want to turn around and come back towards the river crossing.” I’m so glad that I did.
In the thicket close to the river crossing a lioness had emerged carrying one of her young cubs. It has always fascinated me that teeth and jaws that are used to kill can also be used for something so delicate. As she came closer to the road another little bundle of fluff followed her. We didn’t want to get too close so we gave her loads of space to do what she needed to. It was clear it was time for her to relocate the little ones as the mothers do in order to keep them safe. But man oh man, did this mom have her work cut out for her.
As she picked up one cub to carry it across the road, the other cub would cry for her. You could see that she was torn between crossing the road with one and leaving the other momentarily. She eventually made it across the road, put the first cub down and went to fetch the second... Sounds easy right? Not so much, the one she had just placed gently on the ground followed her back to the opposite side of the road. Poor mom; if only she had two mouths to carry them at the same time. After two attempts and a whole lot of exhaustion, she managed to get them both onto the side of the road that she wanted to. After taking a moment to catch her breath she headed off into the thicket with her two little ones not far behind her.
Photo story: Tarryn Rae, Mankwe Gametrackers
This story is taken from Pilanesberg Self-Drive