The Life of a Lion

While staying in Addo accommodation, we had the most amazing game drive. This is the story that we watched unfold.
Lying stealthily in the grassland, golden coat perfectly camouflaged by the dense grass twinkling in the sunlight, the lioness waits patiently for an opportune moment to pounce. She pants softly and her nose twitches, smelling the air. A fly is buzzing around her haunches, irritating her, so she flicks her tail agitatedly.

It’s a tiny motion, but it’s enough to spook the herd of impala she’s stalking. The male pricks his ears and raises his head, suddenly alert, eyes scanning the grassland for possible threats. He’s impossibly still and his nerves are clearly influencing his females, who become visibly agitated, moving into a tighter group. The lioness knows that her moment is dwindling – soon they will run and she will lose her chance to attack.

She rises softly to her haunches and then onto her feet, staying low to the ground as she prowls forwards, massive paws padding quickly but incredibly barely moving the grass. She is almost upon them. The male impala can sense her presence and the herd starts to flee, pronking at a phenomenal rate. The lioness bursts forward with a mighty, primal acceleration of pace and gives chase, only seconds behind the impala.

The race is on – it’s a game of life and death and unfortunately, one young impala is straggling behind and ripe for the picking. The lioness jumps onto its back and ends its life with one powerful bite to the back of its neck. It’s all over and the hunter has her prize. She trots back to the thicket and begins to eat; savagely pulling the meat off the bones and getting the life-giving nutrients that she needs to survive. It’s not long before vultures start circling overhead, desperate for their part of the carrion.

All at once, there is a quiet mewing and we notice a tiny bundle of fur hidden in the grass. The mother has a cub, which she concealed while she sought for food. The helpless baby is still very young and defenceless – its eyes have only just opened and the world is still very new to it. It can crawl, but mostly its mother picks it up gently by the scruff of its neck, carrying it to a new den frequently, to prevent predators from locating it.

Panthera leo is just one of an astounding number of creatures that we have been privileged to witness in the park. Staying in Addo Elephant Park accommodation is one of the foremost ways to experience the beauty of the area, while enjoying the utmost in luxury and comfort. Addo Game Reserve is a place renowned for its conservation efforts, particularly regarding elephants. Here you can experience the famous ‘Big Seven’ while immersing yourself in a truly Africa landscape