It was the end of the migration season and the wildebeests were leaving Masai Mara. Every year hundreds of thousands of wildebeests, zebras and other antelopes follow the rains, in search of fresh grass from the larger Serengeti ecosystem in Tanzania to Masai Mara in Kenya, and back. With so much game available, the predators are spoilt for choice and it is possible to find a pride of lions with multiple kills. As such, this is one of the best times to visit Mara.
The hour was late, and we were following a lioness and her two cubs. The cubs were quite young, and it looked like the lioness hadn’t re-joined her pride yet. Usually lionesses separate from their pride while giving birth.
Soon, she came across a drying pond. There was a hippo wallowing in the mud. We thought that she would continue onwards, as hippos are too large to be considered as prey by lions. But, much to our surprise, she sat at the edge of the pool and started grooming her cubs.
She went around the pool and had a drink of water
She continued circling the pool.
By this time, the hippo got fed up and left the pool.
She had noticed something that we had not. Next to the hippo, there was a wildebeest trapped in the mud. It must have been sometime since it was trapped, as it was completely exhausted and not moving at all. Stepping carefully, ensuring that she herself didn’t get stuck, she managed to drag the wildebeest out.
Soon, the cubs started playing with the carcass.
Tired and hungry after playing, the cubs started suckling.
As though to commemorate the gory scene that had taken, the setting sun painted the sky red and it started to rain. It was time for us to return back to the camp.