Friday, May 3, 2013

NOT TO BE MISSED!!! OUR AFRICAN SAFARI - TANGALA: LIONS MATING... and more! (Day 3)

GREETINGS FROM SOUTH AFRICA!
MAXMOM here...
After a quick cup of coffee we set off into the early dawn. It's hardly 6am and the golden rays of sunrise are already peeping through the trees.  We've all slept well and are ready to take in all that Tangala Private lodge has to offer. 
 I have so many photos of our game drives today, so, once again, I am going to let the photographs paint the scene and tell the story. However, for practical reasons, I am combining some of the footage from both the morning and the evening game drives.
Take a ride with us into the African bush... 
 A lone giraffe greets us just down the road.
 Raptors look down at us from above.
 Terrapins soak up the morning sun.
 Buffalo bulls lie in the shade...
 ...and elephants are up and munching, as usual.  
Have you ever taken a closer look at an elephant's tail?
 Have you ever taken the time to think about how many muscles and nerves are present in an Elephant's trunk?  And have you thought about what a wonder of creation this big pachyderm is? 

An elephant's trunk is used for everything - to slurp up water, to pick up a sent, to reach into the branches, pick off little leaves, to heave out bushes, to push over objects, to stroke and guide elephant calves, etc, etc....it is a marvel of nature indeed! 

 Have you ever taken a closer look at an elephant's eye...and its long eyelashes?  And have you studied the wrinkled skin around its eyes?
 Have you thought about why Impala are known as the 'McDonalds' of the bush?
(Yes, they are fast-food for lions and have a distinctive 'M' on their behinds)
 On this particular day, we were to be treated with one of the rarest sightings in the African bush...

LIONS MATING!!!

The male lion - which we'd seen the previous evening - had travelled overnight to be with one of the females in the southern pride.  This was the first time EVER that I have witnessed lions mating in the wild.  What an incredible privilege it was to be able to see this on not one, but TWO occasions! I can't wait to show you...

  Can you see the two lions in the next picture? Go on...spot them  --->
If you didn't know they were there, I am sure you'd pass them by. They are so well camouflaged.  Thanks to the amazing trackers and rangers at Tangala Private Lodge, we were able to see them.  

The lioness will decide when she is ready to mate.  The male lion simply has to wait for her to be ready.  He settles in and is very patient during this time.
 Decisions, decisions...
 Finally, she'll get up, move towards the male and flirt with him.  Then the coupling happens. The male will mount her, nibble her neck and roar.  She sits quietly and looks pretty throughout the event. The entire affair lasts for a couple of seconds - aided by some roaring and grunting.
 The male will then move a short distance away, roar, grunt some more and wipe his paws on the ground.  With tail held high, he'll spray and mark his territory.  
 The pair will spend a few days together - mating every 20 minutes.  They may stay in one area, or they may move along.    

 On the morning drive, we stayed with this pair for about half an hour; following their trail...
 What a beautiful specimen of a male lion.
Lions are great opportunists:  If the chance arises, they will make a kill.  This wildebeest was extremely lucky to get away this time.  (see him behind the bushes?)


 Can you believe it, during the afternoon drive, we saw the whole affair again?!  
Incredible!  
Two sightings of lions mating in one day.  I can still hardly believe our luck. 








 Time for a well earned rest...
 And yes, to seal the deal, we did indeed get amazing video footage of both events.
Take a look:




Back at the lodge we enjoyed a  hearty breakfast - savouring the memories, watching the waterhole and looking forward to another beautiful day at TANGALA.
My grateful thanks to the amazing trackers, rangers, management and staff at 
TANGALA PRIVATE LODGE
(Thornybush Game Reserve, SOUTH AFRICA)

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share this incredible experience with my readers.

Sending lotsaluv

7 comments:

Ally and Eclipse said...

I am absolutely loving the posts about your vacation! If I could take a vacation anywhere it would be Africa. I have an immense love for African animals and you got great shots of some gorgeous lions! My heart truly belongs with the elephants, though. Elephants have such sensitive souls, looking into their eyes, watching their interactions, knowing them, loving them, it's obvious. I had the privilege of knowing and loving three African Elephants 7 years ago when I worked with them at the free-range zoo in my hometown. Thank you for reminding me of the love I have for them!! What an amazing experience you've had!

Homer said...

Incredible sightings!

Kisses,
Homer

Mitch and Molly said...

What an incredible adventure you're having, Maxmom!

Love ya lots,
Mitch and Molly

kks said...

wow! wonderful series of mating pics!!! (she looks unimpressed) until she rolls lovingly on the ground! :)
xoxo
very cool!!

Two French Bulldogs said...

Wow, fantastic pictures. The lioness looks like she is saying hurry up already
Benny & Lily

Raelyn said...


MAXMOM....
I'm back!! At last, I am finished working on Little Miss Secretive Writing Project!! It feels so very good to be back soaring through Blogville again!! ;)
What breathtaking pictures!! I love, love, love lions!! I always have!! ;op
Love, Raelyn.... Plus Rose, my BEAUTIFULLY UNIQUE "Mystery Dog"!!

Sam said...

Oooh...happy lions :)