(Tingana peers out over a sunset bushveld, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Chitwa Chitwa)
After a storm of electrically epic proportion the Sabi Sand was left soaked through and shell shocked. None more so than the prey species, reports from all over the reserve indicated that the big cat predators stalked, pounced and killed with abandon. Tingana was no different and WE were all impressed to see the dominant male perched up a large marula with no one, but two impala kills!
The impressive male was once again found pacing angrily along the Chitwa dam wall. He nose slightly out of joint as his two hard won kills had been stolen! Two of the Birmingham male lions had succeeded in chasing him off his two kills. At least he was able to feed to bursting on one carcass before his dinner was so unceremoniously stolen!
(Nenha considering his precarious elevated position, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Chitwa Chitwa)
At first WE bumped into Nsuku walking regally in the bright morning light across Chitwa open. His mane gleamed in the sun as he strode towards Tingana’s marula of death. WE followed him until we saw something very rarely observed in the Sabi Sand. Nsuku’s brother, Nenha was perched in the sturdy “V” of the trunk meticulously and carefully feeding off Tingana’s kill. In the distance WE heard the Tingana sawing (with a slight tone of annoyance.) Later that afternoon both male lions were found relaxing in the shade, until one of the got a little peckish and scaled the marula once again to feed. He soon realised that feeding in the tree (with an already substantial belly) would become unsustainable. He pulled the carcass from security and descended the tree where he continued to feed.
(Sausage Tree lioness carries her kill, Screenshot Credit: Ann DT, safariLIVE, Maasai Mara)
SAUSAGE TREE PRIDE
One of the lionesses was out evaluating a topi and her offspring as a potential choice for dinner. However, she opted against the hunt and returned to a very warm and affectionate welcome from her cubs. Together with the rest of the lionesses, they reclined until the sun had set. After which, the lionesses got up and were on the move.
Day broke across the vast expanse of the Mara to reveal the Sausages feasting on a buffalo that they had hunted the night before. A male lion was also near the kill, but he soon distanced himself from the ladies and their cubs. There was a brief moment of unease when a hyena appeared in the periphery with one eye on the carcass. However, without any backup of note, the felines successfully defended their haul and spent the rest of the day alternating between sleeping and feeding.
The Sausages were still working on the buffalo carcass when WE came across them again.
It had been a few days since the Sausages had fed on the buffalo, and the ladies had to find more food. They were successful in bringing down a zebra, which they enjoyed feasting on until the heat of the Mara forced all bar one to seek respite under the shade of a nearby tree. Seeing that only one lioness had been left on the carcass, a hyena decided he liked his chances and would make a play for the meal. The lioness weighed her options and knew that the only way to defend the carcass would be to surround it with the other lionesses. And if the ladies would not come to the carcass, she would indeed take it to them! While they watched from the safety of the shade, she dragged the zebra carcass to them and made it. They rewarded her effort with a warm welcome which included a lot of nuzzles.
(Black Rock Pride having some family fun, Screenshot Credit: Janet Marchie, safariLIVE, Maasai Mara)
BLACK ROCK PRIDE
The day broke to usher in the Black Rock Pride feeding off a zebra kill. The 9 bouncy cubs were just old enough to eat fresh meat. However, the cubs showed us that they are still reliant on mum’s meat as one of the cubs tried to suckle during the feed.
WE came across an adorable scene of the cubs napping with their moms.
The Black Rock Pride were stalking wildebeest in the black of night. The hunt was almost ruined by the calling of a male lion in the distance. However, the ladies managed to take one wildebeest down and they fed off it with two males lying nearby. James was astounded as this is the first time he’s seen this (males not moving in to a kill and taking it away from the girls.) He surmised that the males must have been full.
In an atypical marvelous morning, WE found the cubs playing, while stopping to suckle intermittently. It seemed that the lionesses must have returned from their kill in the early hours of the morning to suckle their cubs. Unfortunately, one of the cubs wandered off from rest of the pride – seemingly in the direction of the den. By evening, the cub had still not returned. The rest of the cubs were playing around with the moms, in an effort to keep warm in the impending chilly night air. Then out of the darkening night, the missing cub appeared and re-united with the rest of the pride. It would seem that mom whispered a gentle reproach in his ear as she nuzzled his tiny neck in greeting.
(Angama Pride lionesses relaxing in the sun, Screenshot Credit: MaryAnn, safariLIVE, Maasai Mara)
The Angama Pride enjoyed the early rays of the sun relaxed on a termite mound.
WE noticed that one of the lionesses has a fresh (but superficial) wound, which is most likely the result of an attempted buffalo hunt. In the evening, the lionesses stalked a zebra, patiently inching forward every few minutes. They eventually attempted to launch an attack by running toward the zebra, but they failed.
(Oloololo lionesses protecting the newest member of their pride, Screenshot Credit: Lily Brown, safariLIVE, Maasai Mara)
The Oloololo ladies were relaxed enjoying the crisp Mara air, while one of the lionesses cleaned one of her bigger cubs.
(An amorous male with a Salas Pride lioness, Screenshot: Lily Brown, safariLIVE, Maasai Mara)
A strapping male and a beauty of the Salas Pride decided to copulate.
(Salas Breakaway Pride lioness standing on the plains, Screenshot: Lily Brown, safariLIVE, Maasai Mara)
SALAS BREAKAWAY PRIDE
Some members who have broken away from the Salas Pride were seen eyeing zebra with incredibly little interest. However, they were very playful with each other.
(Rongai Pride cubs bounding through the grass, Screenshot: Laura B, safariLIVE, Maasai Mara)
The cubs seemed to be frightened by something. To increase the mystery, the lionesses didn’t lavish the cubs with the affectionate greetings that is their norm. They all appeared very uneasy. Eventually, WE found out that it was the hot air balloon passing overhead that made them skittish.
(Mara River Pride having a night out, Screenshot: Lily Brown, safariLIVE, Maasai Mara)
MARA RIVER PRIDE
When WE came across this pride, they appeared to be enjoying the aftermath of a good feed. WE later also found a male nearby – also reclined for his evening nap. Eventually, the lioness got up and invited the male to mate with her. After the copulation, they rendered the night air with thunderous roaring.
(Ridge Pride having a beefy dinner, Screenshot: Lily Brown, safariLIVE, Maasai Mara)
WE came across the Ridge Pride enjoying feeding on a buffalo carcass.
(A nomadic pride of lions feasting on a zebra, Screenshot: Lily Brown, safariLIVE, Maasai Mara)
WE came across 6 nomadic lions. They were 5 young males with one female in their company. One of the males was feasting on a zebra carcass which was mired in some water. He attempted pulling it out of the water. After failing, he settled in next to the water and dug in.
WE came across a Triangle Male taking an afternoon walk by himself.
The Triangle male looked like he had enjoyed a good meal. He was enjoying the shade when two hippos walking out of the water gave him a bit of a fright.
(Kichwa male lion walking off into the evening, Screenshot: Don Johnson, safariLIVE, Maasai Mara)
WE came across a Kichwa Male scent marking. WE also noticed that he had a limp in his stride.
(Bila Shaka male getting some sun on his mane, Screenshot: Marco, safariLIVE, Maasai Mara)
BILA SHAKA MALE
On this fine day in the Mara, WE saw the beautiful Bila Shaka Male scent marking. He also seemed to be hot on the trail of 3 lionesses.
(The five Musketeers enjoy some afternoon sun, Screenshot: Lily Brown, safariLIVE, Maasai Mara)
FIVE MUSKETEER CHEETAHS
The 5 boys took a break from their relentless marching to lie down and enjoy the fine Mara weather.
(Musiara on the open plains looking for a snack, Screenshot: Lily Brown, safariLIVE, Maasai Mara)
MUSIARA FEMALE CHEETAH
On this magical day in the Mara, we came across the sleek Musiara getting ready for a hunt.
MALAIKA AND HER TWO BOYS
Even though they were at a distance, Malaika and her two boys seemed to be hiding in preparation for a hunt. There was a herd of gazelle right in front of them. cheetahs looked like they might start hunting herd of gazelle. The suspense was raised when we noticed that one of the gazelles has a limp. However, the trio stopped on top of the termite mound and continued to watch the herd with apparent disinterest.
2 UNKNOWN CHEETAH
All the way across the river, WE came across two cheetah who had had their kill stolen by hyenas. Although one of the cheetah seemed to be limping, he seemed to be full and none worse for the wear.