Meet the family

06th August 2012
On a recent trip to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in South Africa I was very privileged to spend an hour watching a pride of lions at a waterhole all alone one evening. I was staying at one of the wilderness camps, Urikaruus, which only has four rooms. This meant I had a good chance of having a sighting 'to myself'. The pride of lions in question is known affectionately to me as the 'Craig Lockhart Pride', as that is the waterhole where I first encountered them, and spent many an hour watching their antics. It had been two years since I last saw them, so this sighting was extra special in my books.

Family portrait

On arrival at the waterhole, the pride of two adult females, two younger cubs, an adult male and one very young cub had just made their way down from the dunes. The youngest cub cannot have been long with the pride, and was of great fascination to the lionesses and older cubs. He had a lot of bravery for one so young, and continually plodded up to various pride members, giving them a small tap on the nose, or a cute cat-like bite on the ankle.

The newest edition bravely marching across the riverbed

It was extremely special watching a pride of powerful killers playing with each other. Lions are the most social cats, and usually live in prides ranging in size from two to twenty. They can take out prey as large as young elephant, or adult buffalo, but show surprising gentleness toward each other in play. Even the older cubs seemed to be limiting their strength when they pushed the new addition gently around. It was such a pity that we had to leave to get back to camp, but it was an hour I will always remember fondly.

Playful cats
My 'lions' gallery can be viewed here for more images of these impressive cats!

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Photo comment By Hennie Cilliers: Great sighting Laura. Hope I'm as lucky when I visit. Will be at Mata Mata 16 Sept for 2 nights, then Nossop for 2 night and Mabuhasahube for 3. Thereafter western side of panhandle for about a week and then Caprivi, Kalizo Lodge for the Carmine Bee-eaters for 8 night. Can't wait.
Photo comment By Marcelle Robbins: What a special time spent with this pride. We due to plan a 30+ day trip to Kgalagadi,Bots and Namibia aug/Sept next year. Would love your feedback on the right areas in particular for spectacular photography.

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