A Dutch couple marking their first holiday together as a newly-wed couple at the Makweti Safari Lodge also happened to witness another special moment – the first sighting of a lioness and her newly-born cubs.
Jacquline and her husband Chris stayed at Makweti, which is nestled within one of South Africa’s largest and most pristine private game reserves, for five days during late November, during which time they came upon the rare and very exciting sighting of the female lion and her two cubs during a game drive.
Makweti’s Manager Gary Parker, who snapped the pictures on this page, said he believed the cubs had been born in early November. “The fur of lion cubs is dotted with darker spots which help to camouflage them while the adults are out of the den hunting.” This spotting is known as rosettes.
Some statistics show that less than half of lion cubs survive the first year of their lives, and four out of five have died or been killed by the time they are two years old.
Female lions in the same pride have their cubs around the same time, and help suckle and care for each other’s offspring. Lion cubs start to eat meat at around 12 weeks old, and suckle on milk until they are about six months old. Hunting activity starts when they are about a year old.
Makweti is situated in the heart of “Big Five” (elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard) wilderness terrain, within a UNESCO Biosphere.