Killer Cats of Kwandwe

by Kymri /
Kymri's picture
Sep 21, 2009 / 0 comments

When my family and I visited Kwandwe Private Game Reserve
in South Africa last summer, it was well timed. The rangers were
boasting two pregnant lionesses and a litter of four cheetah cubs! We
had 4 days to track them down, with plenty of time to enjoy our
spacious accommodations at Ecca Lodge.

The lions made their appearance in grand style, and were anything
but elusive. Here is the first somewhat pregnant female stopping
traffic to cross the road.


Killer Cats of Kwande


She was followed by the second very pregnant female, seen here picking up the male lion’s scent-marking left on a bush.


Killer Cats of Kwande


These females were not just going for a walk. They were going for a
hunt. You see, even in pregnancy, and about to give birth any day, the
female still takes care of all the household feeding the
male. So it is up to the female to hunt and take down prey, while the
male follows lazily behind.

Killer Cats of Kwande



In this pride, there is only one male, and he has impregnated both these females. He is gorgeous, one must admit. But oh, there is nothing more pathetic than the whimpering yelp of a male lion hungry and waiting to be fed. The king of beasts, and here he sounds as helpless as a lost kitten waiting for dinner. The females carried on off in to the bush, while the male stood impatient and too lazy to keep following. “Feed me, feed me!” he whined in their direction. “Hurry up!”









Well, there we were enjoying the great African light on this beautiful
beast, and I decided to take some video in hopes of recording the
pathetic whimper. Apparently, he was very hungry and impatient…and at
this point all he could smell was…

He was close! I could have reached down and touched his mane, but, as
you will see from the video, my maternal instinct kicked into high gear
and I wrapped my arms tight around my daughter and read the headlines
in my mind. That was the closest any of us cared to get to a hungry
lion! Even our ranger, who had no door between himself and the lion,
had to change his shorts. We all had tale to tell around the campfire
that evening! Here's video of the close encounter:

No worries, we came out unscathed, and the hungry impatient whimpering
male carried on in the direction of the two females who carried his
legacy in their bellies. (I assume by this point you’ve forgiven the
sudden camera angle of the clip!). By the way, apparently this male was
not satisfied with the black wildebeest the females brought down
earlier that morning – here are the remains of that kill:

Lions eat their prey from the back forward, and for whatever reason,
these lions abandoned this carcass with still plenty left to satisfy
some hyenas.

As for the cheetahs, the fastest land animal on the planet, they were
far more difficult to spot than anticipated. Probably because they are
already spotted…..(insert laugh track here, or simply a “ba-da-boom”).

After being elusive for 3 days, mother cheetah finally appeared one morning, exhausted after taking down a springbok. She rested in the shade of a bush with her fresh kill, and called to her cubs, which emerged from the hills timidly and cautiously.

In a matter of 20 minutes, these hungry cubs devoured the dinner mom had prepared, and here they are with their bloodied faces.

They ate fast, cautiously keeping a low profile, for at any moment a
lion could appear and challenge them for the meal. This was their lucky
day, and mom did well. We returned hours later in the afternoon and the
cheetahs were still there, bellies full, and enjoying a long afternoon

Kymri Wilt

Nature & Wildlife Editor

Blog: Mira Terra Travels

Photography: Mira Terra Images