Posted by: wildsidezambia | November 21, 2011

Walking with ‘mummy’ Ian and his brood

Livingstone: Undoubtedly one of closest encounters of the good kind that one can have with Africa’s big cats, playing with the 3 month old white lion cubs and walking with 9 month olds is a truly unforgettable experience. Not to mention the once in a lifetime photo opportunities! Tourists and school groups visiting Mukuni Big 5 Safaris base camp just outside Livingstone go quite gaga when getting up close and personal with these beautiful animals.

Experienced handlers, headed up by Ian Ngwenwa who hand rears the orphan cubs, accompany you at all times. They are clearly much loved by the cubs as well as the older lions and are considered to be ‘part of the pride’. Or as Ian puts it, ‘I am their mother!’.

Lion 'mum' Ian Ngwenya is much loved by the cubs

Once you get over your surprise of being greeted by two über-cuddly white lion cubs playing on the lush green lawns outside the reception area you become all the more enamoured by these two balls of fluff  when they love you to join in their fun and games. Sharp  little teeth can sink into your arms and legs but what lovely scars to bear!

a 3 month old white lion cub

Walking into the bush with the older cubs, armed with nothing more than a stick in case they get a touch over-enthusiastic, is something so uniquely African and special, you will not be able to stop talking about it. The young lions gambol alongside you, climbing into trees, pushing each other and playing. Your camera will burst with unbelievable photos, often taken with you and the lions by the handlers who are as skilled with cameras as they are with the young lions!

'walkies' of a different kind

The lions are all part of a carefully monitored programme to re-introduce lions into areas where they used to occur but where their numbers have dwindled by up to shocking 80%. By the time the cubs that form the first stages of the programme reach the age of about three they are released in a large holding area where they start fending for themselves without human help – although they are closely monitered in case there are problems. Their offspring are totally wild and grow up being taught life’s skills by their parents. These are the ones that are eventually reintroduced into the planned 80000 ha Mukuni Game Reserve reserve just north of Livingstone as well as areas in Zambia.

For bookings for an unforgettable African wildlife experience contact



  1. Ohh soooo cute the little white one! And indeed these are “walkies” of a different kind! How adorable these wild animals look, pretty amazing they are so tame when young. Lucky you Lindy to be one of the crew walking with them!

    • I am extremely lucky – but anyone can do it!

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