Last day at Porini Lion Camp – best of all!
December 2017 | Gail Steckley and Serge Courville
A few minutes into the last game drive of our safari, our guide Christopher received a radio message. I picked up “Moniko” - the name of the 24-strong lion pride we had observed the previous day. But today offered something even more special.
As we drove, Christopher explained that one of the pride’s lionesses was on her way down from the hills to introduce her four three-month cubs to the pride. This would be a rare moment. Soon, there they were ahead of us. The four small cubs with their enormous paws were bouncing around their mother, who was striding towards the steam where the other lions were waiting. First to be greeted was a sister, and then the “teenage” cubs caught sight of their cousins. Such excitement! New playthings! Mum kept a close eye and intervened when needed, but otherwise the cubs and teenagers had a great time playing and being played with.
Soon enough, mum decided it was time to head with two of her sisters and her cubs back up to the hills. We followed them a while, feeling incredibly fortunate to witness this scene, the affectionate connection between mother and cubs, and the joyous interaction between the pride and their new members. It was purely magical.
As they headed up the rocky hillside, we turned towards camp, feeling that we had fully lived every moment of our safari. But it wasn’t over yet. Halfway back, we spotted Olarai, a large male lion of the Hammerkop pride. Just the evening before, we had observed a lioness of the same pride who would be giving birth at any moment. As we stopped to gaze at the splendid big cat, we heard small mewling noises from the dense bushes right beside us. It was hard to believe, but hidden under the bushes was yesterday’s lioness. The mewling came from the two cubs she had given birth to not 8 hours earlier. A few minutes of quiet observation, and we were able to make out one of their little kitten faces deep in the bush, eyes still firmly closed, determinedly seeking mum and her milk. Yet another extraordinary sighting!
This may have been our last day, but thanks to our excellent guides Christopher and Little John, it was perhaps the most amazing of our entire safari. They were every bit as thrilled by these extraordinary sightings as we were. As Little John said, the area is their home, and they know it by heart, and it gives them pleasure to share it with guests. Thanks for sharing your home with us!