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:

Botswana honeymoon safari

Botswana family safari

Botswana family safari

Botswana family safari

Botswana family safari

Botswana family safari

Botswana family safari

trip to Botswana

trip to Botswana

trip to Botswana

trip to Botswana

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 Lionsso 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.

18 Comments

  • The photos you took are amazing. What cause or organization is National Geo donating the money to?
    Thanks for sharing your wonderful adventure in Duba Plains.

  • I donate regularly to the Big Cat Initative. Since I saw The Last Lions, there isn’t a single day that goes by when I don’t think of Ma di Tau and her surviving male cub. I was dying for news of her, worrying so often of whether they survived or not, beating the unbeatable odds they face each day just to survive. This news truly warms the heart. May nature and God protect her and her new litter. I wish the Jouberts would make a follow up movie about Ma di Tau.

    • Linda, thanks for the comment, and yes, I can say from what I saw Ma di Tau is doing well but continues to struggle for survival. I was truly honored to be able to witness her in the wild and look forward to going back to check on her in the future!

  • I am so overwhelmed with this update! Thank you so much! I was wondering what’s happening with this beautiful lioness…Share more news, please!

    • Mirjana, thanks for the comment. Ma di Tau is doing well with her cubs 🙂 It was so unbelievable to see them in real life as opposed to the television. I hope to go back soon to see her and will of course give an update when I do!!!

      Best,

      Sandy

  • The last lions is an amazing documentary.. I’ve watched it over and over, and I still cry every time. To actually be able to see mau di ta in real life is awesome.. Your pictures are wonderful .. Keep us up with whats going on..thank you.. Cause an uproar.. 🙂

  • Hey, thanks for the update of Ma di tau, it’s nice to hear news from her since i knew her survival story in the documentary, i wish the best for her and her new cubs. Nice blog by the way 🙂

    • Lynn, I would love to go back to see Ma di Tau soon! What a beautiful lioness. Truly one of the most rewarding safaris I have ever been on and look forward to the next time I can see her. 🙂 -Sandy

  • I just watched “The Last Lions last night in NAT GEO and was at first hesitant because I knew at some point some of the cubs will die (usually happens in a lot of documentary)- BUT I’m really glad that I watch until the end as there was just so much emotions when the documentary climaxed during the fight with the Bull. Thank you so much for blogging your experience in Bostwana. I was just in Kenya last month and I saw one of Zawadi’s (a.k.a. Shadow the Leopard int the Big Cat Diaries series ) son – in his prime and looking beautiful. I just leaped with excite so I am sure you must have been sooooo ecstatic to see her alive and well – to have that sense of connection!!! thanks again!!!

  • Beautiful film….watched it the second time already! Does anyone know what happened to her last remaining cub? Was he able to survive and defend against other prides?

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