wet but happy cats

At 3am yesterday morning I woke up to the sound of the rain pouring down on my roof. The sound sent me straight back to sleep and before I knew what was happening my alarm was booming in my ear telling me it was time to get up. The rain had all but stopped and it looked like we would have a dry drive. After a cup of coffee, cheese and crackers and some fruit we jumped into the Land Rover and started the next adventure. As we drove away from the lodge, we picked up lion tracks and started to follow. Solly (my tracker) and I jumped off periodically to get a bearing on the direction of the cats but it wasn’t long before we found them all huddled together looking very wet.

southern pride lion while on safari game drive at sabi sabi private game reserve

As we watched them they started getting a little more active, licking the water from each others fur and grooming. Another female came in from a distance and the rest of the pride went charging in to say hello. Once the pride was back together they all started moving off. The cubs played boisterously as they moved with the pride, tackling one another, jumping on the females and stalking the rest of the pride. They looked like they may have eaten something but it was nothing substantial.

southern pride cubs on safari at sabi sabi

southern pride cubs on safari at sabi sabi

As we followed them, they took the opportunity to drink from the newly formed puddles after the rain and then moved on. Finally they found a nice clearing with a jungle gym (a fallen down tree) for the cubs and nice morning sun for the females to dry their coats.

lion drinking while on safari at sabi sabi

We sat for about an hour and a half just watching them interact as the cubs climbed the tree, using it as a scratching post and resting for a while. We left the lions to sleep and went off to have a look at the herd of buffalo that were no more than 500 metres from the lions.

southern pride cub

cub in tree

The whole herd was spread out over an open area grazing peacefully with a nice herd of zebra close by. We again just sat and watched as the herd moved slowly along and we moved closer to the zebra to get a better look. As we got close to the zebra, Solly stopped me because there were some remains of an impala. We had quick look at the fresh kill and then parked closer to the zebra.

buffalo herd on safari game drive at sabi sabi

herd of zebra while on safari game drive at sabi sabi private game reserve

While watching the zebra, the buffalo came rushing in towards us and sniffing around the kill. The wind had obviously changed direction and the buffalo could smell the lions all over the place. It was amazing to see their reaction to the smell! Eventually we left the massive herd and headed home for breakfast and it was only then that I realised that through out our drive we had not travelled more than one kilometre from Little Bush Camp.

buffalo herd while on safari at sabi sabi

 by: Richard de Gouveia (Little Bush Camp ranger)


  1. sheila says

    Great photos Richard, especially the ones of the cub drinking and on the ‘jungle-gym’. Goes to show, logs are never just logs, lol.

  2. stefi says

    Hi Rich,where did all those buffalos come from? We only saw a herd of about 15 last week. Did they move in from the Krüger NP? Amazing!

    • ranger rich says

      Hey Stefi, they came from the northern part of the Sabi Sands and they move in out of all the reserves as they search for food. It is always amazing to see such a big herd!

    • ranger rich says

      Thanks so much Colton! I must say that is my favourite photo of the lot and my best in a long time!

  3. stefi says

    Hi Rich, thanks. We miss the thrilling tours with you and Solly seeing nothing except Zebra-, Gnu- and Impala- skins on bags and cushions here in Cape Town ;-(

    • ranger rich says

      Stefi, Solly and I are missing your spunk on the game drives and i am particularly missing your art lessons…hope you get past all the skins and enjoy beautiful Cape Town!

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