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It's all about the cats..... the cats... the cats...

Happy Friday - with apologies to Meghan Trainor :-)

Well, I promised to share some more photos from our trip to the game reserve and today it's all about the cats.   We were so lucky on this trip to see 2 of the 3 big cats.  We saw lion and cheetah on the first day and then cheetah on the second day.

Let's start with our day 1 cheetah.... He was just lying around in the grass watching the world go by and trust me, when these guys lie down, it's almost impossible to see them.  You'd think with all those spots they would be easy to see!  He sat around for a few minutes, then started walking away.  He moved to the nearest log, stood on top of it - lifted his tail and marked his territory... as if to say... yeah... you guys don't bother me, I'm the king of my domain!  

Cheetah1He was just so gorgeous.  Here's the shot of him marking his territory - sorry it isn't clearer - but my camera wouldn't get any closer!

Cheetah2

After we saw this guy... we bumped into two lioness laying in the grass sunning their bellies!  Once again, they were impossible to see when they were lying down!   Let's play I-SPY WITH MY LITTLE EYE... can you spot the lions

Lions1

Yep..they were pretty hard to spot until one of them stood up!

Lion2

While we were looking at the two females sitting around and rolling and warming their bellies one of the people in our group said - in a very loud whisper - OMG - look to the left here's the male.... we all turned around and saw this gorgeous, young male coming towards us from the left.

Lion3

As he walked towards us, he realized there were two landrovers and he wasn't quite sure what to do... so he decided to sit down and wait us out.

Lion4

Once you had settled down, he decided to let us know he wasn't in the least bit bothered by us and gave a very large yawn:

Lion5

What a beautiful boy!!!!  And what an experience to sit and appreciate these beautiful animals in their natural habitat.

On day 2 we saw our next Cheetah with 4 extra special additions!!!  We saw this beautiful mother Cheetah and her 4 babies.  The babies were behaving just like kittens, chasing each other, jumping and rolling and chasing each other again.  It was wonderful.

Here she is:

Cheetahmom

Here she is with 2 of her babies:

Cheetahmom2

The one at the back was quite the character..... Once he found the termite mound he decided it was a good idea to sit on top of it and play "I'm king of the castle"!

Cheetah-babies

Then he decided, he needed a much closer look at this strange rectangular thing with multiple heads... so while the others were wandering off, he walked up to the landrover and about 15 feet away from it sat down and just stared at us!!!!

Cheetahbaby2

It was only once his mom and siblings were almost out of sight that he sat up and ran off, giving us a glimpse into the speed that he would develop as he grows up!  What a wonderful sight and how lucky we were to be able to be so close to these magnificent and endangered animals.

On our way back, the sun was setting as we drove past hippo pool.  I'd forgotten how magnificent the nights are in the African bush.  I captured this fabulous shot with the acacia trees in the distance, the hippos in the pool with the silhouette of egyptian geese and a couple of blacksmith lapwings along the shoreline.

Africansunset

I'll finish up the post with some quick facts about lion and cheetah.

  • Nearly all lions in the wild live in sub-saharan Africa.  There is one small group of lions living in Asia in the Gir Forest National Park.  An interesting fact about that - the lions native to west and central africa are more closely related to the Asiatic lions than they are to the Southern African lions.
  • Not all male lions grow manes.  they are common across their range and this lack of mane is thought to be an adaptation to the climate.
  • Yes, some lions do actually climb trees - but only till they reach a certain weight!
  • Cubs are spotty when they are born and are reared together in groups and will suckle from any female that has milk.
  • Lions are the only cats that call together.  even the cubs join in and their group roar can last for about 40 seconds.  That sound can be heard up to 5 miles away.
  • Cheetah are critically endangered and there are an estimated 6.600 left in the wild.
  • Cheetah are closely related to Cougars and Jaguarundis
  • Cheetah can accelerate from a standing positing to 64mph in just 3 seconds.  Most sports cars would be very jealous of that acceleration!
  • Cheetah purr and do it when exhaling and inhaling.

Well, that's my story of the cats.... beautiful animals that they are.  I was sitting with a woman in one of the art classes onboard and I asked her if she was going to visit a game reserve and her response was: "well, no.  we decided not to.  a friend of ours went on safari and said she saw a leopard up a tree and it just sat there.  It was so boring"!!!!!  I was so tempted to ask her what the heck was it supposed to do, wear a pink tutu and dance the dance of the sugar plum fairy?   Really!!!! seeing a leopard never gets old.  EVER.  It really doesn't matter how many safaris I have done over the decades, I get as excited about seeing the animals - large or small - just as I did on my first trip.  We are so blessed to be able to visit with them in the wild!

I'll be back tomorrow with another post.  In the meantime, warm hugs and prayers for those of you who need a little lift tonight.

Hugs

Jaydee

Comments

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Ruth Ann Vincent

Jaydee,
Thank you for sharing these lovely pictures.
I liked them all, but the little one, who came for a closer look at your vehicle, just touched my heart.
Thank you, that was my hug for the day!
Be safe and enjoy! Ruth Ann

Joan

Thank you for sharing your trip with us. I think that lady was crazy - I could have sat there all day watching a leopard sitting in the tree. Seeing the cats must have been magical. It's wonderful you were able to see lions and cheetahs. Extra bonus seeing the babies. Excellent photos and that sunset is gorgeous.

jaydee

Ruth Ann, you are right... it really did feel like a warm hug. He was just so curious and when he sat down and just watched us... it was truly magical!
have a fabulous Sunday
hugs
jaydee

jaydee

Joan, I thought she was crazy, too. I mean... a leopard in the wild!!! the eight of us who were in the land rover thought it was amazing to have seen the cheetah and lion on day one, we were all overjoyed with the babies and mother cheetah on day 2.
have a fabulous Sunda
hugs
jaydee

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