We were able to witness something spectacular during a game drive near Sand Rivers camp – lions mating. I guess this is a common sighting here but I’ve never seen it happen in the wild.
The mating rituals of lions are interesting. A male will choose a female (she has to want to be chosen by him) and they will stay together for up to seven days. In the first three days they mate every 15 minutes – approximately 190 times! The intercourse only lasts for a minute but both male and female will growl during the act and show teeth. The male will sometimes lightly bite the female’s head and ears and that is supposedly to keep her still while the act is completed.
The lion is then pregnant for about three and a half months and will give birth to approximately four cubs. Usually only three survive to become adults because of predators and male lions from other prides that try to kill the cubs.
On our last afternoon at this camp I took a “bush walk” with Jeff, the camp manager, and James went with our guide Mussa for a game drive. We met up in the same spot around 6:00 p.m. for a “sundowner” (cocktails in the wilderness while watching the sun set). We drove up to a great vantage point to watch the sun and there already on the mountain was a female lion with three cubs! It was so special to watch the cubs play and stare at us with curiosity. Jeff opened a bottle of South African sparkling wine for us and we had a glass while watching the sunset with four lions. This will likely forever be one of our most special safari memories.
James and I had such a fun time together. It was nice to experience such gorgeous nature side by side. We were very happy.