BIG 5 or cute cubs?

Text and photographs: Guest Astrid Bluemel

MalaMala is just about the best place for wildlife photography. You’ll almost get a guarantee to see the Big 5, and that’s within a day or two! So I keep coming back, and there is always something to see and photograph. My husband asked me why I wanted to go, yet again… he said it couldn’t possibly get any better than last time. But somehow it always does get better, (or it is at least equally good) and I always get some incredible sightings, proving I was absolutely right to keep coming back.

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Just one thing missing on my bucket list that I would really like to see are lion cubs! I always seem to just miss them, one time we looked for them for 5 days, my flight left at 2pm, and you’ve guessed it… they found the cubs on the next morning game drive! I missed them by 17 hours! Or they just moved their den site, or just crossed the boundary and returned a day after I left, but I’m not giving up. This time I got lucky, my patience was rewarded, we saw the lion cubs on three game drives, and believe me, they are absolutely adorable.

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We sat and watched, for I don’t know how long, as there is always something to watch. They fight, chew on just about anything; grass, branches, mum’s tail, and preferably on each other. They crouch and try to sneak up to birds, play hide and seek, or go up to mum to cuddle and say hello every once in a while. When three at last are quiet, number four will decide to jump on one of his brothers and sisters and the whole thing starts all over again.

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So next time I’m asked what I would like to see, my default answer will once more be lion cubs, as small as possible, at play if you could organise that…. Thank you once again Pieter, for three very cool days at MalaMala! We’ll be back!

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