It is hard to describe the sheer power of a lions roar. There is something spellbinding about how this sound carries through the air, especially when your day has only just begun.
The two Tumbela male lions and the three Othawa lionesses broke the silence of the morning just as the sun was about to rise. Although the clock had just struck five in the morning, I could hear that they were not far away.
I headed out in the direction of the calls. Within a few hundred meters I got visual of the lionesses moving in single file. They had their cubs moving swiftly along, trailing just behind their mothers. At the back of the line the two Tumbela males strolled in.
I managed to get ahead of the pride while they moved through a dense, tree lined block. A large grassy clearing lay ahead of them and I waited for them to pass through. I waited and watched eagerly as a single male wildebeest stood boldly in the middle of the clearing. There must have been just a slight air movement in the direction of the wildebeest. He gave a stout snort just before the lions emerged from the tree line.
The wildebeest took cover and any potential for a hunt was over before it even began. The lions entered the clearing and split into two groups.
The cubs decided it was play time and they ran up ahead across the clearing. One of the mothers followed along to keep an eye on the mischievous youngsters.
The two Tumbela’s decided that they had enough walking around for one morning. They took a break and held back just a fair distance from the remaining two Othawa’s.
The cubs kept running in the direction of the wildebeest. It was entertaining to watch their inexperienced pursuit. The adults watched their antics with great consternation.
Eventually the larger Tumbela male got up and walked confidently across the clearing in the direction of the cubs. It seemed as if he was intent to tell them to quit their shenanigans.
Once he had regrouped with the female and youngsters, the remainder of the pride slowly arose, stretched and yawned and moved along to join up once again. Soon afterwards they all settled down for the morning.