During one of the afternoon drives on our recent At Close Quarters Big Cat Photographic Safari, our guests were treated to a really special sighting. We made our way to “first rock”, the name given to an area where the top of a large granite hill juts out into a large flat rocky area. Normally first rock is the perfect spot used for coffee/sundowner stops on game drives. Today it was the location of something far more unique.
When we arrived, we found a large male lion from the Birmingham Coalition and a young female lioness from the Nkuhuma Pride, sleeping peacefully in the setting sunlight. Suddenly, the female stood up and walked off, the male following closely in pursuit. She lay down submissively before turning around and allowing the male lion a chance to mate with her. He grumbled and growled and whimpered at times, holding the lioness firmly by the neck in his massive jaws. In a flash of claws and growls, it was all over, and the two mating lions settled down for a cat nap.
This behaviour was then repeated multiple times, sometimes just meters from our vehicles. Our guests were able to capture some ‘once in a lifetime’ images of this interaction and even more special, all in the golden light! Ecstatic with another superb sighting and wanting to leave the lions in peace, we pushed off for a celebratory sundowner, wide smiles across all our faces.