First Images of the New Tsalala Pride Cubs


Tsalala Pride New cub Thumb

It is with huge excitement that we, at Londolozi, are able to share this magical moment with you. Caught here is the first ever footage of the newest addition to the Tsalala Lion Pride. Although we have been aware of these cubs for the last six weeks we have not been able to get a good view of them. They were born on the 29th May 2011…we know this because on the night of the 28th we saw the soon to be mother still pregnant; the next morning we tracked her down finding her much thinner. Mere meters from her we could hear the tiny squeaking sounds of the new-born cubs. At that stage they were stashed away in the Wild Date Palms of the Manyaleti River.

Yesterday the two adult lionesses managed to kill a Waterbuck on the northern end of the Causeway. Rangers, trackers and guests sat in delight as the lionesses proceeded to fetch the four ‘older’ youngsters and lead them to the kill. They fed throughout the night and into the following morning. We sat with them knowing that when the kill was finished the mother of the newest cubs would need to head back to the den site to suckle.

Around midday the next day the kill had been devoured and the barrel-bellied lionesses, cubs in tow, headed off. They made a bee-line for the area known as Marthly Pools and climbed the rocky koppie nearby to this beautiful area.We sat in baited breathe. She must have moved den site as this was not where they had been one week prior when James Hobson and Elmon Mhlongo got a fleeting glance of the cubs. At the time they said they thought there were four of them.

Tsalala Lioness lyning on rock at densite by Rich Laburn

Half an hour later and we saw movement from some hidden boulders…out they came one by one stumbling down to mom. I can’t be sure if there were three or four cubs but time will tell. But we were not the only ones watching this magical scene unfold…perched on the granite rocks above sat the other lioness (a proud aunt) with her four five month old cubs.They watched the commotion below. It had not been too long ago when we witnessed similar scenes for these cubs.

The mother tempted us, giving us glimpses of her little treasures but never quite giving us a complete view. This taster is all we need…we are hooked and can’t wait to get more shots of these cubs as they grow and develop.

 One of the New Tsalala Pride Cubs by Rich Laburn

So as it stands the Tsalala Pride is looking in great shape. Even without the leadership, guidance and numbers of The Tailess Female and the the four sub-adult lionesses who have broken away, this little pride is starting to reform. If things continue to go well then soon we will be looking at a pride of 9 or 10. And who knows…what if Tailless decides to come back and rejoin her daughter’s pride. We could have the making of the next Sabi Sands Super Pride! Let us know your thoughts on this wonderful moment and how you think things will shape up for the Tsalala Pride…

Tsalala Lioness and Older Cub by Rich Laburn

Written and filmed by Adam Bannister
Photographed by Rich Laburn

Rich Laburn
Rich Laburn is filmmaker, photographer and writer who is based at Londolozi Game Reserve in South Africa. Spending his time capturing scenes of the wild and communicating the beauty of the African bushveld, he runs the Londolozi Blog as a way to entertain and engage people wishing to visit these wild lands.
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