Lion Cubs on the Kopjes…
We certainly do love these luxury glamour tent camps of Ole Serai…all the conveniences of home, and then some, and amazingly, at this time of the year, no bugs !! Woohoo!!
I love driving under the acacia trees in the early morning. The gentle arches of the forest of these trees overhead is a beautiful canopy with the sun glistening on the yellow bark. It’s a lovely way to start each day with the crisp breeze in the air.
Oh my, we’ve never quite seen the entire group of hippos out of the water but apparently, they are still working on their morning snooze.
Hippos usually spend up to 16 hours a day in water to keep themselves cool, and can hold their breath underwater for up to five minutes. They are grazers, and eat close to 80 pounds of vegetation a day. They also weigh up to 4,000 pounds for males and 3,300 pounds for the girls. Talk about hefty!! Even though they seem a bit lethargic here, these hippos can run up to 30 miles per hour. The pink rosey cheeks you see around their faces and ears is a natural sunblock that their skin secretes to protect them from the harsh rays…nature gave them a natural blush!
We weren’t sure what these big dark blobs were up in the tree…vultures? Upon closer examination, we found an entire troop of baboons resting high on the thinner branches, to stay away from their predators. Watching them scamper up the trunk of the tree was like watching a school of ants…they are so agile with their hands and feet climbing, and do it with total ease! Rock climbers could take a few lessons from these guys.
Once we get out into the Serengeti, it’s miles and miles of broad, expansive grasslands. This is where the lions live, out in the wide open.
Every few miles, we run into these…Kopjes (co-peas). These are a huge stack of ancient granite rock that stick out majestically in the surrounding flatland. Lions use them as vantage points, to bask in the sun, and to hide their cubs.
A mama lion will leave the pride when she is about to give birth and seek shelter under dense cover, and these kopjes are the perfect spot. She remains hidden until her cubs are one or two months old before introducing them to the rest of the pride. They start to eat meat at 3 months old, are weaned at six months. Females will stay with the pride all their lives, while males will eventually leave on their own accord. Cubs stay with their mamas for the first two years of their lives, at which point they will join in the hunts.
We were circling the kopje, and look what we found way up at the top, at the base of that rock, hiding in the shade…four of the most adorable lion cubs. They were just so darn cuddly and cute, you wish you could just pick them up and hug them. They look like Simba, right out of the Disney Lion King movie.
Mama lion was resting just down the hill, under a shade tree, getting a little peace and quiet. I guess when you have four little ones, every mama needs a little break.
Down the hill from them, was another mama lion with 3 baby cubs that were even smaller still! When you heard the tiny tykes cry out, they sound like squeak toys. Oh my, how cute are they!!?
We witnessed a truly scary thing…a controlled fire. I don’t know how they keep it under wraps since we are far from any fire station, engines, or anybody supervising the fire, but burning the grasses is what clears the way for new growth and renewal in the circle of life. It’s pretty darn scary tho, but makes for some amazing photos.
Another day closes on the beautiful Serengeti with our hearts holding close all the beautiful animals of this earth that we have seen today.