Solo and the Eyrefield male had gone south we thought in pursuit of the Southern Pride. Their tracks, the next day, had crossed east out of Sabi Sabi and four, relatively new males to the area, were found minutes later. These new males were found north of where Solo and the Eyrefield male’s tracks disappeared.
The four new males are known as the Skukuza males from the Kruger National Park. They have crossed the Sabie River and are now in the Sabi Sands. This was only the third time we had seen these males on Sabi Sabi. Their presences were enjoyed but their true intentions were still unknown.
The Kruger male was also found that morning and he was mating with Floppy Ear. The two of them seemed blissfully unaware that the Skukuza males had made an appearance. Their mating continued and very little attention was being payed to the rest of the world. The mating process of big cats is a noisy one and the vocalizations can be heard from a long way off, especially if the listeners were other lions.
The evening safari had come to an end and dinner was being enjoyed in the Bush Lodge boma. Slowly guests started to retire for the evening and this is when one of the rangers picked up a distant roar. The remaining guests all gathered on the deck to listen to one of Africa’s most iconic sounds. The roar was being repeated almost every 10 minutes and every time it was heard, it was louder than before. The sound was being produced by more than one lion and they were on a mission straight towards where the Kruger male and Floppy Ear were left.
The roaring went through the night and was still going on right outside of Bush Lodge as we hurried our guests onto the vehicles. Tracks of the four young males had completely circled Bush Lodge but the more obvious clue to them still being around was all of the sound they were still making, although the sound had changed slightly. We followed the sound and found the four males just behind the lodge, but they weren’t alone. Floppy Ear was also there and one of the males was mating with her.
This mating meant that this was now the fourth different set of males to mate with one of the Southern Pride females in the last few months. Was this another set of males to move in and not lay claim to the area or the Southern Pride? How much of a fight did the Kruger male put up after mating for only a day? Were the Skukuza males chased north by Solo and the Eyrefield? With new added pressure on the area will the Kruger male finally lose it all? There are many questions still to be answered as a new set of variables are added to the boiling pot that is the southern Sabi Sands…