The lioness that we saw last year has had more cubs. Of her litter last year, only one cub survived: a beautiful male who is now sub-adult. He has all the awkwardness of being a teenager, his mane is wispy, uneven, and quite pale. He still loves his mother and is never very far from her. His new brothers and sisters are only four months old and are impossibly cute.
The first time we saw them they were at Shumba Camp: literally IN camp. They had hidden themselves behind the palm fronds on the island that houses Rob and Ingrid’s home. Rob is the concession manager, and Ingrid, who fulfills a number or roles, is currently the manager at Shumba Camp. Neither Rob nor Ingrid had a moment to go to their house on this day because the pride had taken over! At one stage, the mother was actually lying on the little ledge between the ground and the canvas. It is not a large area at all, but she just wanted the comfort.
For the last three years the lionesses of the Busanga Pride have come into the camp to have their cubs. The only possible reason we can think of is that they feel safe in the camp. This makes for many exciting moments throughout which the lionesses remain relaxed and not aggressive.
The cubs are always cute and wonderfully entertaining, unlike their older brother, aunt and mother who are quite content to just be lying around. The mother is still lactating and during our stay, we noticed that they were eating regularly from the lechwe and puku that fill the plains in front of both the Shumba and Busanga Bush Camps. She would be found lying on her back with her paws flopped over and her full belly and teats heaving to the tune of her contented breathing.
We were so happy to be reunited with the pride during our stay. Their territory extends between the two Wilderness Safaris campsites, behind The Lone Fig Tree and beyond, but they mostly tended to frequent the areas between the camps during our ten-day stay in the Plains.