(Thandi and her cub lying together on a log, Screenshot Credit: Kim Eckert, safariLIVE, Djuma).
In the early hours of the morning, WE found a special treat to ring in the New Year: Thandi and her cub were lying together on a log near their den. Due to hyena activity in the area, Thandi was a bit stressed and snarled at us to vent her frustration with close proximity to multiple predators. Her cub was very happy though and treated us to some playtime. The cub jumped about the log and climbed over its mother, grooming Thandi in a series of cute displays. WE decided to leave them soon after to avoid stressing out Thandi further but this was still a very cute sighting.
WE found Thandi again outside her den, her cub alongside her. The cub was in a very playful mood, bouncing about and playfully stalking Thandi, who patiently tolerated her excitable ‘attacks’. After a bit, the two moved into the road, when suddenly an impala alarm called. Thandi, sensing possible danger, tried to pick up the cub to move out of the open but the cub wasn’t having it. The cub (confirmed to be female) rolled out of Thandi’s gentle grasp and continued playing. Thandi let her and they moved away from the road, eventually ending up at the new den site where they settled down together.
(Hosana panting as he lies in the heat of the afternoon, Screenshot Credit: MaryAnn, safariLIVE, Djuma).
Hosana was found, as he usually is, lying flat in the bush. He looked rather stuffed, as if he had recently eaten, and seemed content to sleep in the hot day. He eventually roused himself and plodded over to a nearby watering hole. There, he happily lapped up a lot of water, hopefully quenching his thirst, before he wandered off and we lost sight of him in the brush.
(One of the Nkuhuma cubs lounging on a lioness, Screenshot Credit: Debbie, safariLIVE, Djuma).
WE found the Nkuhumas between Vuyatela Access and Sandy Patch, where about twelve of them (several females and a few cubs) were having a rest. The group had found a pair of leopard tortoises and were trying to eat the reptiles. The first tortoise had its shell broken open and was feasted upon by by the lions. The second tortoise proved a bit more stubborn and the lioness just played with it after sometime of futilely trying to crack its shell. One of the lionesses still has a wound on her back leg, but it was looking much better than the last time we saw the pride.
(Mvula staring ahead as he rests in the grass, Screenshot Credit: Shmama, safariLIVE, Djuma).
Mvula was found in the bush, following his trail to a dense thicket in the woodland. He looked tired, resting and breathing heavily in the thicket. He lay there for a while, looking in decent shape despite his old age, although it was noted that he was covered in a lot of scars and wounds from his long life. Eventually Mvula managed to rouse himself and ventured to a nearby watering hole, where he had a drink. He looked a bit skinny when he rose and perhaps hasn’t caught something large for sometime. After his drink, he flopped down, falling asleep.
(Miale and her son standing tall amidst the grasslands, Screenshot Credit: MaryAnn, safariLIVE, Maasai Mara).
MIALE AND SON
We found Miale and her son on the hunt, prowling across the rugged plains. They appeared to be after something but alas, we didn’t see them hunt during our time with the two.
(The black rock lionesses and their large group of cubs resting together. Photo Credit: Mrs Zero, safariLIVE, Maasai Mara).
BLACK ROCK PRIDE
WE were finally reunited with the black rock pride in the early hours of the morning, finding three lionesses and nine cubs striding across the plains of the Mara. The group met up with a male who had a kill. He briefly allowed them to feast on the remains; the lionesses and the cubs helping themselves to the remnants of the carcass. But the male, not willing to share, soon returned and one of the lionesses made a run for it with the kill in her mouth, the male racing after her. She eventually gave her kill to him after he caught up with her and the rest of the pride moved on, looking disappointed that the kill had been stolen.
Later, in the evening, the group was found again. They were all resting, but one female was notably lying separate from the rest of the group.
(The five musketeers on the move. Screenshot, Credit: Payton, safariLIVE, Maasai Mara).
THE FIVE MUSKETEERS
The five musketeers were found on the move, looking like they were getting ready for a hunt, but as they looked full it is possible they had recently eaten. The five soon hunkered down and took a nap together, resting with full bellies.