by Ashley Kennedy
BSc Animal Behaviour

Venturing deep into the unknown parts of the Ngorongoro crater fighting through wall after wall of ungulates, we came across a scene that was fitting enough for a place in a Lion King Movie sketch. Sitting motionless and in ore as two adult female lionesses and one female cub casually prowled in front of our seemly defenceless jeep against the queen of Africa. We watched for minutes, which seemed like hours, as the three frolicked around their natural landscape.

It was a picturesque scene with a family of lions playing in a carefree manner. Instantly, if only for a few precious minutes, allowed us all to forget about the possible troubles and dangers within our lives and share this moment together. Until the larger of the two females brought us back down to reality, as she began to play the role of a male Mufasa, bellowing out across the plain. As time passed the calls became more agitated and desperate, without even noticing us. Then without warning her frantic searching switched instantly to sheer delight as a young male adolescent veered into sight from nowhere. They lovingly exchanged head bumps, whilst the young female came bounding over to greet him. After all the pleasantries had been given, the family of four began to slink across the road coming within touching distance. As we all began to frantically wind up the manual window winders the female Mufasa of the group gave me a calming look, as if to say Hakuna Matata. Then she and her family vanished proudly and elegantly into the long grass to continue her majestic adventure.

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