the return of the southern pride

After months of chaos within the lion dynamics, it appears that the pride dynamics are once again beginning to come back into order. In one morning we had four separate sightings of different factions of the Southern Pride with four of the adolescents, 2 males and 2 females, heading north over the boundary. Over the next two days the pride came back together with the four adolescents still missing but the pride number back up to 10.

southern pride lions while on safari at Sabi Sabi

We left early for safari to hopefully get some cool pics of the pride before the rest of our guests from our various lodges came in to see them. Now this was a big speculator as lions love sleeping during the day but this particular day had been rather cool and anything could happen. We made our way down to the South of the reserve to see what they were up to and when we approached where they had been left sleeping in the morning, there were two young male waterbuck looking very anxious, and so they should have been. Not 5 metres from where they were one of the lionesses was lying flat in the grass just waiting for one of them to take a few steps closer. We immediately stopped the vehicle so as not to interfere with the hunt and waited patiently to see what the outcome would be.

lion sighting while on safari at Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve

After about 10 minutes of staring and listening, one of the waterbuck took two steps forward and all hell broke loose, the female broke cover, the waterbuck broke the land speed record and unfortunately for the hungry female today would not be the day that she was going to feed herself. She turned and went back toward the rest of the pride who eagerly and lazily were waiting to see if their companion had managed to get some food for them. The typical head rubbing strengthened the social bonds as if to offer the female a little encouragement after her failed attempt.

lion sighting while on safari at Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve

She wasn’t finished and as the pride lay and groomed she picked up a sound in the river close by and set off in that direction. This time though the rest of the pride tried to lend her a paw… unfortunately by the time they got to where the sound came from the nervous prey had made haste away from the looming danger. They made their way back to the open area and went straight back to sleep and we left after an amazing sighting. What a way to start a drive and I cannot wait to see how the dynamics play out.

southern pride lions while on safari at Sabi Sabi

Already since then we have seen both Solo and the Eyrefield male looking worse for wear after a run in with the pride but after a great meal Solo was looking bigger than ever! I don’t think I have seen a bigger male in all my time at Sabi Sabi. The Sandriver males have been trying to force their way into the pride but their diseased bodies just don’t seem to have the bulk they need to push any of the other males out of the area. But this is nature and stranger things have happened, so that just leaves us waiting and wondering what the next chapter of this story will hold.



  1. walter ferguson says

    Once again briliant blog richard jus wanted to ask a question.what sort of disease has sand river males (tb

    • ranger rich says

      Hi Walter, Sorry for my late reply! I have no conclusive answer to your question but it would be my educated opinion that all three of these boys have bovine TB. Most of the lions in our area have TB and feline aids (FIV) but both diseases do not have too much of an impact on them till they start loosing condition. The three Sandriver Males might be having a tough time being on their own and this will definitely help the TB along.

  2. shirley says

    Great writing! The craziness continues. The future is unknown. The Past has played out, and the present continues to confuse, as we follow this intellegent group of lions.

  3. tim driman says

    Great penmanship Rich….Love the shots and the flehmening is classic…See you guys from the 7th July…..Woooooowooooo! 😉 Tim and Von

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