I visited Kruger in March 2011, and had a pretty special sighting on this road just south of the Olifants river bridge. Being first out the gate was great, and I was lucky enough to find a big male lion resting on the road. I watched him for a few minutes and he was watching something intently in the bush. It took a moment to work it out, but right there (amazing camoflage-i hadn't even noticed) in the bush jusy off the road was the rest of his pride!
Once my eyes adjusted to what I was seeing, they just kept appearing. First two adult females, then another adult male. I'd wound down my window so I could see them more clearly, and then I could hear a soft mewling sound. And then there was a cub! And then two, three and more
All up I was able to count at least 6 cubs, 2 adult males, a subadult male and at least 3 females. And I had it all to myself (at least for awhile)
The cubs were oblivious to me, and were fighting each other for mums milk. Mum kept a disinterested eye on me, then went back to dozing. Eventually the inevitable happened, and people caught up. They were fine with the first two vehicles, but sadly the third was noisy and fast and off they went back into the bush
Still it was a great moment to have all to myself, and I encountered this pride (never all together again) about three more times over the next few days (at least I think it was same pride-always in roughly same area). The morning after I saw the two males on the road just outside Olifants camp, and saw the females in the afternoon returning to camp. One of the females had a collar on.
Leaving for Satara the next day, I was first out the gate again, which was no mean feat after beer and Amarula! The in approx the same area where I saw the cubs, I caught a glimpse in the bush and thought 'was that a lion-couldnt be that lucky again' I reversed back slowly and scanned intently, until just the top of a lioness's head in stalk mode revealed itself! This was my fourth time to Africa (second to Kruger), and had NEVER been lucky enough to see a hunt. But she was, obviously stalking three Impala approx 50 meters away next to the road. I then noticed 3 more lioness further back keeping cover. I watched her stalk to within 20 meters and felt every nerve on end, my first hunt!!!!
A car caught up, and I could tell they were wondering what I was looking at, and sure enough it was the car that had the ruined the sighting with the cubs. So time to get sneaky. I pretended to be looking
at the impala, and I could see the couple mouthing something like 'stupid tourist, it's just more impala', and off they went. So crisis averted and problem vehicle diverted, the hunt started again.
It was incredible to see the lioness stalk, you could only just make her out if you knew where to look. The impala were getting skittish, but kept blundering closer. At about 15m from the impala, and just at the moment I thought all hell was about to break loose, an animal called out an alarm (think it was a bird) and the impala scattered. The look on the lioness's face was priceless, just 'ahhh shucks'.
Anyway the point of sharing all these stories, is I'd love to find out how this pride is going and what happened to the cubs. So if anyone knows of this pride, and their whereabouts please let me know. I've got some great video of the cubs and the hunt, and I'll try and post it here soon.