Interview with Christina, the Ross Pride’s human equivalent

Mufasa is the name of the most revered lion in the movie “The Lion King”. Coincidentally, Mufasa is also the nickname given to Christina Blunden who is the latest addition to the team at the Africa on Foot Camp in the Klaserie.

Christina’s hair is wild, unruly and resembles a lion’s mane. This is why they call her “Mufasa”. The famous Ross Pride of lions has recently given birth to a recorded five lion cubs and the pride is growing from strength to strength. Dominated by two bountiful characters, the Good and the Bad; we’re hoping they don’t find Mufasa’s mane too much of a threat. Christina may have to start using hair straighteners as she firmly believes that her mane intimidates the Ross Pride males.

Today I’ll chat to Christina about the Ross Pride and find out how she ended up becoming a part of the Africa on Foot team.

 

Christina Blunden

Christina Blunden – Mufasa !

What is the origin of your nickname, Mufasa?

My uncle, Courteney, gave me the name when I first arrived at Africa on Foot back in 2010. I was young and wild and had the big hair (mane) to match. So the name Mufasa stuck.

Where did you work before Africa on Foot?

I left Africa on foot in 2011 to gain experience at a few other lodges but stayed close to home. My favourite place during that gap was at Tanda-Tula in the Timbavati Nature reserve where I gained valuable experience from some amazing people. But the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve holds my heart and I always knew I would end up here.

What has been your most unusual experience while in the midst of the Klaserie?

I have had many unusual experiences here at Africa on Foot ; but by far my most memorable was getting my little Honda stuck in a rather big muddy hold about 6km from camp. It was mid-day so I knew there was still a long time before the afternoon game drives began, so I decided to walk to the closest lodge to get help.

As I jumped out my car and started walking I noticed sea of grey in front of me – elephants for as far as the eye could see! Trying to avoid a panic attack, I jumped back into my car gave myself a little pep talk. I tried to remember everything my uncle Courteney had taught me about walking through the bush. I put my shoes on and looped round the back of the herd and made my way to the closest lodge. Eventually I got my car out and set off to start my first day of work at Africa on Foot – what a brilliant start!

Let’s talk about lions. What has been your favourite lion sighting in the Klaserie?

Yes let’s chat about them! My favourite sighting happened about three years ago with the old Ross males Fabio and Tyson.There were no guests in camp and the two boys and two female lionesses made a kill about 1km from the camp. We had the old land cruiser called Beast, so three of us at camp went to find the pride.

Before long we were sitting a metre away from the pride watching the 4 lions feeding on a buffalo. We sat at the sighting until 12h00pm and then decided it was time to head back to the camp. Unfortunately we had kept the spot light on which caused the vehicle’s battery to go flat. We ended up sitting there until 4h00 a.m. when we finally managed to contact a ranger to come and tow us out. It was the most Adrenalin filled experience sitting with the lions in the pitch darkness listening to them feeding.

Do the lions ever walk through the camp?

We often have lions walking through camp. A while ago, the “Bad” walked through camp letting off a roar while walking down our access road. Fortunately, we managed to catch him in the act with all our guests in tow on the vehicle.

Have you seen the Ross Pride’s five new lion cubs?

The five new lion cubs are a beautiful introduction to our Ross pride. I have only had one sighting of them so far but they were very playful. I’m very excited to watch them grow strong with our pride.

What is the best time of year to see lions?

All year round is the best for lion sightings. You can never put a time frame on when we are most likely to see our lions. Right now we are having amazing sightings – female lionesses are creating dens for their cubs on the property.

Courteney says the Ross Pride is growing from strength to strength. In your opinion, what is the future of the Ross pride?

I do agree with Courteney. Our Ross pride is growing. This is partly due to our ranger and tracker team with their ethical guiding and giving our lionesses time to introduce their cubs to the pride and not apply unnecessary pressure. Because of this I see a bright future for our lions and look forward to watching them dominate and grow stronger as a family unit.

On that note, below is a video of the new cubs being introduced into the Ross Pride. Can anyone spot Christina in the pride?