Sleepless Safari: Lion Dad’s Restless Night with Playful Cubs

Parents worldwide can relate to the experience of being awoken by eager children. Just ask Mburri, a male lion from South Africa who recently had his sleep interrupted by his two energetic cubs, Impi and Dela.

A 24-year-old aspiring wildlife photographer, Zoe Cole, captured the heartwarming scene at the Selati game reserve in South Africa’s Limpopo Region.

Despite being the king of the beasts, his boisterous offspring treated Mburri as just another playmate.

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This is the moment two lion cubs called Impi and Dela gave their sleepy father, Mburri, an early-wake up call. Source: Daily Mail

Cole, who hails from Italy, volunteered at the reserve to help monitor and collect data on endangered species, including the pride of lions Mburri is a part of.

The pride boasts four lionesses, with Mburri as the only fully-grown male, giving him the undisputed title of king. This visit marked Cole’s second time at the reserve but her first encounter with the playful cubs.

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Aspiring wildlife photographer Zoe Cole, 24, captured dad’s very unimpressed look as he was woken up. Source: Daily Mail

The lion family soon emerged from the bush into a clearing, basking in the morning sun. While the two adult lions settled down after a night of stalking, Impi and Dela were a bundle of energy, tumbling and rolling around.


Cole noted that Mburri appeared less than thrilled with his cubs’ early morning antics, but he allowed them to jump and jostle him without issue.

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Ms. Cole captured the images while working in South Africa as a volunteer at the Selati Game Reserve. Source: Daily Mail

Since Impi and Dela are Mburri’s offspring, their playful interaction posed no danger to them. According to Cole, the situation might have unfolded quite differently if the cubs had not been him.

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The adult lions were trying to sleep after a night out prowling, but the playful cubs had other ideas. Source: Daily Mail
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I’m awake: Seemingly oblivious to his father’s bad mood, the cub continues batting at his mane. Source: Daily Mail
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Cubs Impi and Dela are part of a pride of endangered lions that are carefully monitored at the nature reserve. Source: Daily Mail
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Back to sleep: One of Mburri’s cubs hides his eyes from the morning sun that had just woken him up. Source: Daily Mail
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There are four lionesses in the pride, but there has never been another lion, meaning Mburri has never had a rival… that is until he had children. Source: Daily Mail
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Photographer Ms. Cole said Mburri was very patient with his children but added: ‘If they weren’t his, I think it would have been a different story.’ Source: Daily Mail

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