Hey Mom . . . wait for me!

This post is part of  Kalahari  Series II – 2011. The previous post in the series is Nossob. Also see Kalahari Series I – 2009.

Date: 18 August 2011 – Approximately 09:00

Place: Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. On a game drive north of  the Grootkolk wilderness camp (see map).  On the left side of the road is a low ridge, and on the right side the wide, dry Nossob River bed with the savanna extending beyond it.

We were travelling a little way behind the first two vehicles in our group. Somebody in the front vehicle spotted the lioness up on the ridge. And then noticed that she had a little cub with her.

The lioness and her cub on the ridge. ©Heyns Kotze

Zooming in on the photograph above. ©Heyns Kotze

It is a very young cub. Somebody in the group later estimated it to be under a month old. I have no knowledge of lion cub development, but if anyone reading this can give a better estimate, please leave a comment.

The lioness, first having checked the situation close to the road, goes up to fetch her cub and encourages it to follow her.

The lioness crosses the road. ©Theo van Zyl

And stands on the other side, waiting for her cub to cross. ©Theo van Zyl

After a while the little one makes its appearance.

The little cub crossing the road. ©Theo van Zyl

It makes it safely on to the other side. ©Theo van Zyl

The lioness then takes off walking at quite a speed. What was interesting to me is how large a distance she allowed to build up between her cub and herself. She seemed to be very sure there was no danger in the area.

The lioness immediately carries on walking, leaving her little cub to struggle along behind. ©Theo van Zyl

We could hear the little cub bleating as it struggled to keep up with its mother . . . “Mom, you’re walking too fast” . . . “Hey Mom, wait for me!” . . . In this photo you can see its mouth open as it is crying out. ©Heyns Kotze

The lioness stops now and then to see if her cub is making progress. ©Heyns Kotze

©Heyns Kotze

©Heyns Kotze

After a while she lies down amongst the trees to wait for her cub to catch up. It’s got a little lost in the long grass. ©Theo van Zyl

In this zoomed in photograph, you can just see the cub’s little round ears sticking up above the grass, close to the tree on the left. ©Heyns Kotze

Almost there . . . The lioness lies waiting until her cub reaches her. ©Heyns Kotze

“Hi Mom!” ©Heyns Kotze

She stands up to greet her cub. ©Heyns Kotze

Immediately after greeting it, the lioness turns and starts walking again. ©Heyns Kotze

And her cub again struggles to keep up with her. ©Heyns Kotze

Life is tough for a little lion! We lost sight of the lioness and her cub shortly after this.

Thank you to Heyns Kotze and Theo van Zyl for allowing me to use their photographs for this post. See individual photographs for credits.

The Kalahari 2011 Series:


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Categories: Nature/Environment


I live on the Southern coast of South Africa, and write about the things that interest, amuse or inspire me. You can find me at https://notesfromafrica.wordpress.com and http://southerncape.wordpress.com (my photoblog)


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20 Comments on “Hey Mom . . . wait for me!”

  1. September 26, 2011 at 8:47 pm #

    Wow these pictures are awesome – what a great sighting!

    • September 27, 2011 at 7:52 am #

      Thanks! It was an awesome experience. It’s always so nice to have a sighting where you can watch the animals for a little while before they get out of range.

  2. Estie
    September 26, 2011 at 11:47 pm #

    This is truly awesome. Thanks.

    • September 27, 2011 at 7:54 am #

      Glad you liked the post. It’s difficult to describe something like this in writing.

  3. September 27, 2011 at 12:35 am #

    What a fantastic grouping of shots!! SO Cute.

    • September 27, 2011 at 7:56 am #

      That little cub was very cute. It was so tiny compared to the mother.

  4. September 27, 2011 at 2:02 am #

    Beautiful pictures! I guess that’s how lion cubs learn to be independent.

    • September 27, 2011 at 7:58 am #

      Thanks! It seemed very young and small to be made to walk so far on its own. Just thinking in human terms – a child at a similar stage would never be allowed to toddle around without an adult close by. The lioness just made it struggle through the long grass by itself.

  5. September 27, 2011 at 3:16 am #

    Absolutely precious! This is truly, truly darling, Lisa!

    • September 27, 2011 at 7:59 am #

      It is really sweet isn’t it? I’m glad you also thought so, Kathy.

  6. Sarita Botha
    September 27, 2011 at 9:12 am #

    What an awesome story. Thank you for sharing.

    • September 27, 2011 at 7:07 pm #

      Thanks for reading it. It’s quite difficult to describe exactly what we saw to others.

  7. September 27, 2011 at 11:53 am #

    Amazing pics! I can’t believe how many great sightings you had on this trip.

    • September 27, 2011 at 7:06 pm #

      Yes, we had some amazing sightings on this trip. It really is all about being lucky – being in the right place at the right time.

  8. September 27, 2011 at 5:16 pm #

    Awww that is so cute. Love how the mother waits for the cub instead of going back to it.

    • September 27, 2011 at 7:44 pm #

      Yes, those lion mothers sure make their little cubs toughen up early! I was also wondering why she didn’t walk more slowly or stop more often to let it catch up.

  9. jacquelincangro
    September 28, 2011 at 4:13 am #

    Wow! I bet this is quite a rare sighting. I would have never guessed that a lioness would have allowed that much distance between herself and her cub. But I’m sure if any trouble had cropped up she would have been on top of things in an instant.
    Amazing photos as usual! I feel privileged to get to see them.

    • September 28, 2011 at 7:02 am #

      It is rare to see something like this. I was also concerned about the distance between the lioness and the cub. I think she would have been able to cope with any danger on the ground, but there are big eagles in the area that drop onto their prey from quite a height – and at quite a speed.

  10. October 1, 2011 at 1:02 pm #

    Aw, that is awesome! Well-spotted, Lisa. I particularly like the story told by this sequence of pictures.

    • October 2, 2011 at 8:54 am #

      Thanks Reggie! The distances made it difficult to get really good photos of the lioness and cub, but I think the photographers did well.

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