By Noelle DiLorenzo

August 9th & 10th, 2012

Gusty winds and cloudy skies turned into an unseasonal wet 24 hours for all of us here in South Luangwa National Park.

Woken at 04h00 by the ratter-ratter of rain on tin roofs we raced around the camp to cover vehicles and skylights on the guestrooms.

After an early breakfast, my guests and I departed on a muddy adventure to see iff any of our wildlife was out and about during a short respite of rain. We were greeted by a few short light showers, soggy impala and the crisp sweet smell of the African bush after the rain.

We approached the spikey combrenum thicket where a Mwwamba lioness had been keeping her new three week old cubs. At first there was no sign of mother or cubs and we were getting ready to leave when small sounds were heard next to the vehicle.

We looked down and there, nestled in the grass, were the three cubs soaking wet and shivering, calling plaintively for comfort. Two went into the bushes and one stayed looking at us with the still blue eyes of a very young lion. We waited, hoping the mother would return to give her cold and lovely cubs some warmth and nourishment but she did not come.

Young lions can die from such harsh conditions and so we set out the next morning with heavy and anxious hearts hoping against hope the cubs would still be alive and the mother would be there.  It had rained continuously the rest of day, so the situation could have gotten a lot worse for the cubs.

After searching for a little while we decided to have a tea break and wait for  the day to get warmer before we searched again.

Just as we were sipping our hot coffee and looking at fish eagle and saddle billed storks, our other guide Sylvester radioed to say that the mother was back and suckling the three cubs! We joyfully watched the family for the rest of the game drive and returned to camp for our breakfast with big smiles on our faces!

The cubs were fine the day after the rain, once mom returned

Now that is a very very young lion cub!

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