My recent adventures to Africa brought me to the breathtaking Duba Plains of Botswana where I witnessed some of the most spectacular game on the continent. From buffalo to elephants, and crocodiles to hippos, Duba Plains is a majestic haven for thousands of birds, mammals, reptiles, insects, and amphibians. And although these sightings were absolutely brilliant, the highlight of the trip was witnessing the two Duba Plains lion prides (they’ve actually split into 3 groups recently).
During the days we would witness nature at its most raw as lioness hunted for their next meal and to protect their cubs from the perils of nature. The common theme we witnessed during our game-viewing adventures was an overall sense of “survival.”
Botswana’s Duba Plains and Okavango Delta are so famous for their lion populations, that National Geographic spotlighted The Last Lions, an epic documentary film produced in the Duba Plains area by the famous filmmakers, Dereck and Beverly Joubert. In the film, Dereck and Beverly follow Ma di Tau (“Mother of Lions”), a lioness who will do anything in her power to keep her cubs safe and alive. During our adventures to Duba Plains we were lucky enough to see Ma di Tau and her cubs!!
Ma di Tau is such an amazing warrior and be able to see her in the wild was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had in the bush. In the film, Ma di Tau’s bravery is tested as she travels across the Botswana plains in search of food and away from Silver Eye, a lioness who kills cubs. We were unable to see Silver Eye during our travels through Duba Plains, as her and her pride were on Paradise Island where a huge group of buffalo fled to.
Below are some pictures I took while in Duba Plains:
Our guide (who was commonly referred to as James 007 for his fantastic guiding skills!) was absolutely brilliant. He shared with us all of the dangers that the lions face, as well as stories of survival. He was actually with the Jouberts during their filming of The Last Lions, so he was able to provide us with fascinating behind-the-scenes details!
The core purpose of the film and the inspiration behind its creation was to introduce the world to the plight of the lions. Today, lion populations have decreased by the THOUSANDS since the 1960s and there are approximately 20,000 of these creatures left in the wild (compared to the 450,000 we saw in the 60s).
You can help in saving the last lions by simply watching The Last Lions trailer on YouTube. For each viewing, National Geographic will donate $0.10 to the cause until 1,000,000 views are reached (we have half a million views to go until we reach a million!). Click here to view the trailer.