Sunday, September 4, 2016

A Mama Lion and her Cub in the Moremi Game Reserve

Today was Barb's birthday and the guys in the camp serenaded her in the morning and gave her a present. Another poo story!

We were heading to the Moremi Game Reserve this morning. Up bright and early, we met up with this African buffalo.

Another steenbok, which I believe is male because of the horns.

This floating water fern is a problem as it covers the water and destroys aquatic life.

At the reserve..."Don't ride on the roof." I think we're pretty safe with that one, but I can't guarantee the "Do not drive off roads." Chief was still with us and we know he's pretty determined.

The bridge to the game reserve. We had to make two attempts at it.

The park offices...washrooms! That was always a big draw.

While they were completing park business and people were using the washrooms, I decided to go back over the bridge where I had seen a pod of hippos. This bridge was not that easy to walk on!

The hippos were doing their usual thing...I was waiting for a photo of one coming out of the water. Not yet...

Within 20 minutes of being in the park, Chief spotted this lioness with a cub in her mouth.

She walked right by our vehicle. Chief was pretty excited, so we knew we were seeing something special.

The animals don't seem bothered at all by vehicles. It has become a part of their everyday life. However, if you get out of the vehicle, that's a different game.

Lions move their cubs every couple of weeks to try to throw predators off the scent.

She walked by us and seemed to be on a mission.

We slowly moved ahead just trying to keep her in sight...

She headed off and we sat back amazed at what we had just seen. Chief said in his seven years of guiding, he had never seen that, so we were happy for him as well.

It was only 9:30 a.m. What could we possibly see that would top that? Pretty much on cue, out came another lion. This lion was about two years old and was following his mama, the same lioness with the baby in her mouth.

And right behind him, his sister. They walked in front of the vehicle...

Pausing to try to pick up the mother's scent...

They decided to lay down right beside us...

You can see the beginnings of a mane on the male lion in front...

This other lion now joined them...

Notice the sideways glance he gives us as he walks by...

And the three of them headed off...OK, it was going to be really, really hard to top that.

We spotted a kudu with magnificent horns...

Zebras and impala...

A beautiful red lechwe, another type of antelope, reflected in the water...

I think this was a Wattled Crane...

A Burchell's Starling...

A crocodile with an Egyptian Goose nearby...

A Saddle-Billed Stork...

Hippos that are only half submerged this time. Hippos have very short legs, so they will sometimes stand on rocks in the water. They also cannot jump, so they have to go around any obstacle that they come up against. Hippos secrete a red fluid which acts as a sunblock. They can hold their breath for 5-6 minutes.

Hippos with oxpeckers on them. The oxpeckers make small cuts in the hippos and extract the parasites in them. The hippo is kept clean by the oxpecker, and the oxpecker gets protection and food from the hippo. A beautiful relationship!

Another blue bird! The Lilac-Breasted Roller is a sneaky little thing. It was hard to get a photo before they flew away.

Warthogs rolling in the mud...

Back at the park office, we checked out the map with the pins indicating where animals had been sighted over the last three days.

It was hot...we were getting ready to head back to camp now. I was looking forward to a shower.

Here is Manuel, our guide for the safari...see the whistle around his neck? These were given to our group by the Kiwis. They are sheepdog whistles and there is a trick to blowing them consistently. I managed a peep out of mine and then would forget how I did it.

Manuel needed to pay the park fees so Chief took us to a little shop to buy cold drinks while we were waiting. He met a girl that he knew who agreed to take us to her kraal. We offered to buy her some food to bring home and thought she would select sugar, flour, etc. Nope, she picked up three packages of cookies and a 2L bottle of Coke. I bought a package of these cookies as well, mostly because I loved the name. But the cookies were really good shortbread.

We're at her hut as she shows us how they balance things on their head. This is when I realized that the first village we went to outside of Victoria Falls might have been a "model" village. This one was not quite as clean and well kept. Four generations of family lived here from her grandmother down to her own children.

She graciously answered many of our questions and we bought a woven basket that her aunt had made. They had a 45 gallon drum of beans and sugar fermenting for their beer. Beer seems to be an essential part of village life.

And then it was time to head back to camp...

We showered and had time for a drink before going to dinner and celebrating Barb's birthday.

The hut in the background was the public washroom which saved us going back to our tents. I learned a lesson here: shake the towel before you wipe your hands. I was bitten by something. Manuel thought it was probably an ant. It stung just like a bee sting.
It was dark in the dining tent, but these videos are precious and great memories of that night.

Happy Birthday, Barb!

And this will only be funny to those who knew Mbusi, our driver. I love the African singing so much.

Tomorrow we leave the Bedouin camp and head to our next stop, the Guma Lagoon Camp. It has been a wonderful stay.


  1. BARB & Ed
    We loved hearing the African singing again. They were so in harmony and such good fun.

  2. Happy Birthday Mom!

    Looks like you had an unbelievable birthday!

    Thanks for posting the blog Kim, it really brings the Stories Mom and Dad tell to life!

  3. The lioness and the cub...pretty amazing.