ODP Botswana Overland Safari: Eight Rough-and-tumbling Lion Cubs

Wim from Savute:

As always we were out well before sunrise, and this time it was straight to the Savute marsh area where we left the lions last evening.

                         photo Sav 1

We found the lion tracks and followed these across the marsh and then south to an area called Marabou Pan where the tracks disappeared. We scoured around and were totally thrilled when we found a lioness with eight cubs.

The cubs ranged in age … some were just a month old, completely adorable as they stumbled around, rolling and tumbling as they played and tried hard to climb small logs, and even small stones were big obstructions. The oldest cubs were about eight months old, and there were two around three months old.

We spent at least two hours watching and photographing the cubs in the glorious morning light. They were nonstop bundles of energy, seldom stopping as they rough-and-tumbled around. It was a beautiful sight, and our memory cards are full of fabulous and adorable action shots. 

Finally the sun became too warm for comfort and the cubs joined the lioness in a shady area with thick vegetation, and we stopped for a welcome coffee break.

photo Sav 5  photo Sav 3     photo Sav 4

We returned to the camp, stopping frequently for different birds, including a magnificent Tawny Eagle.

After lunch –

photo Sav 2

– and a rest, this afternoon we headed straight to Peter’s Pan, but the lions that we believed were there were keeping a very low profile. 

While searching for the lions we found five Yellow Mongooses. They were playing around in the sand and when we arrived their inquisitiveness brought them right up to our vehicles for a thorough inspection. Obviously their curiosity meant great images in the beautiful afternoon light and our cameras were very busy again as we were inspected thoroughly.

The raptors today were simply stunning. Not only the Tawny Eagles, we also photographed a fabulous African Hawk Eagle, Bateleur Eagles, Dickinson’s Kestrels, and African Marsh Harriers.

The sunset this evening was spectacular and when we found some iconic African trees as a foreground, the scene was perfect. Umbrella thorns and Baobabs looked wonderful silhouetted against that incredible sky.

Maybe the lions will be there tomorrow …