See our new blog for May and June 2011

Day 73 (Satara 30 of 30) June 22

Last day at Satara, left early to do the S100 for the last time this year and was it special.
Traveling along the S100 next to the Nwanedzi River at just after 7am, Lettie spotted a Lioness in the distance walking towards us, when she was about 80 meters from the river she let out a soft call and out of the riverbed on the other side of our car came running five nervous but healthy Lion cubs

They ran to their mother obviously extremely happy to see her after spending the night alone hidden in the riverbed. In typical Lion fashion, they rubbed faces together

The Lioness immediately lay down and let them suckle for a few minutes giving them some warm milk and sustenance on a cold morning, it was still about 5°C. After drinking their fill they did their toilet routine,
she got up and started moving, leading them away from us to rejoin the rest of the pride.
She had obviously fed that night, as her stomach was full and round.

As I watched her disappearing into the distance with the cubs following and playing, tripping each other, play stalking and all the mischievous things young lions do, I reflected on what magnificent creatures these were.
What communication and how took place when she left them in the riverbed to go hunting, how did they know not to follow and be quiet not to attract other predators?
Why did they respond to her call and come out of hiding to feed, how did they know it was their mother?
How did she know where she left them and how did she navigate back to the exact spot?
Was she leading them to a kill she made during the night, how far was it, how does she know her way back?
Was she going to let them feed on the kill with all its dangers?
We sat there alone in the early morning sunshine, at one with nature and all its surprises.
It is scenes and experiences like this that make us do what we are doing and renew our e
enthusiasm to return every year and stay as long as we can.
Returned to camp to clean and pack up
It is not a good idea to park under a tree, after 30 days every bird in the area must have shat on my rally tent and add-a-room. It took me most of the afternoon to wash it off and let it dry.
We moved the caravan to allow a young couple to set up on our site, which they had been eyeing for some time and approached us when they saw us packing up.
As is custom on the last night at a camp we went to the Restaurant for supper. Watched the Soccer, fantastic first half, why can’t they play like that all the time and for 90 minutes?
Satara is a great all action camp, plenty of game, people, cars, yet it has its quiet and peaceful times as well. Looking forward to Maroela, a much smaller quieter camp.

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