Conservation & environment

Olakira Pride

03 January 2019

It started out a wet afternoon as we set out from camp to find the Olakira Pride.

I had never seen this pride myself, but had heard that three lionesses had birthed 6 cubs, of two different ages. 2 were still quite small, while 4 were a touch larger. I knew roughly where they were, so we headed out in the general direction. A big storm was brewing in the east, menacingly looking our way, making me wonder if we would even make it. We crossed a small gully, took a sharp left turn, and we started heading north, away from the storm. Amos, one of our guides, had given me directions over the walkie talkie. "Head straight to Olakira rocks" he said, "and at the back, where the largest boulder is, start looking on the left". He then told me that the mothers had tucked away the cubs for the last few days, so he had only seen about 3 of them in total. It was about a 30 minute drive there, and as we were approaching Olakira rocks, we were met by the entire pride, right on the road! A great surprise!

Amos told me they had killed and eaten a Zebra 3 days ago, and I knew that they would be hungry again, and possibly in search of their next meal. It was exactly this that brought them out of the Kopje's and onto the open grassland this evening: they needed to hunt. Led by the above Lioness, who seemed more hungry than the others.

The second lioness was not far behind, and was "on duty" with the youngsters, as they ran around tackling each other in the grass.

Wait for me! The smallest of the cubs lagged behind and had a short run to catch up with the others. At that age, 20 meters seems like 200!

As they approached the edge of the plains, they climbed up some rocks to get a better view of the valley in front. This mothers' patience has been tested, and tells the cubs to settle down. Insert

The last Lioness has a look backwards, making sure all the cubs are here, and that there is no threat from behind.

This little cub decided to stay close to mummy! Insert Image 7 The walked through the long grass about another 400 meters until they found their resting spot that they would stay in until sunset.

This lioness had spotted a herd of about 500 Wildebeest on the ridge line in front of them. This was her plan all along. Move the pride towards the gully at the bottom of the valley, tuck in the cubs, and set out hunting during the night.

The cubs, completely unaware of the plan, follow through the grass innocently.

It is play time now, but not without an awkward smile for the camera.

Getting a good spot next to mummy.

A friendly little kiss.

This is where we left them. This was the place the had chosen to spend the last hour of daylight, before the hunt begins. It was great to see this pride for the 1st time, and I'm glad they took me on an adventure with them, and thankful they let me into their life for an hour or so. I wish them well on their hunt, and hope to catch up with them soon to see how the little ones are getting along!

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