Sabi Sabi yesterday, today, tomorrow

from ashes, rise friendships and coalitions

by Sabi Sabi on February 6, 2014

The night air was heavy with humidity but there was no mistaking the echo of male lions roaring close to Bush Lodge. The roaring continued all night and allowed for huge excitement and anticipation of who it was. Was it Solo and Eyrefield? Was it the Kruger male? Was it the Sandriver males? Or even the Majingilane males?

We set off early in the morning trying to head into the last location of the roaring which had left an eerie stillness within the African bush. We drove with intent and a sense of urgency trying to find any signs of the lions, twenty minutes became forty five minutes. No tracks or signs.

Heavyness (my tracker) and I were in continual chat about the possible location. We decided to head down towards the Msuthlu riverbed to pick up signs. As we turned the blind corner, there stood the unmistakable image of a huge male lion. His size was unmatched by the vegetation and the coloration of the mane and droopy eyes led us to immediately conclude that this was the Kruger male. His stomach was stretched to bursting capacity and we immediately began to assume that he had just finished a kill and that potentially around the corner he would lead us to the Southern Pride. We could not have been more wrong.

the kruger male lion at Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve

“Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still” – Chinese proverb. The Kruger male began to walk off the road and immediately Heavyness spotted another male lion. The doubt that hit me was incredible, had I mistakenly identified the Kruger male for what could only now be the Sandriver males? ‘Deep doubts, deep wisdom; small doubts, little wisdom.’ As we approached closer, there lay Solo, unmistakable.

The Kruger male walked straight up to Solo, goose bumps and shivers running up and down my body. Was I about to witness the fight between the two previous enemies over the Southern Pride that we had all been expecting? NO…..

The kruger male and solo at Sabi Sabi

“Whenever you are confronted with an opponent. Conquer him with love” – Mahatma Gandhi. This is exactly what happened, the Kruger male approached Solo with soft contact calling and indulged in facial rubbing, an essential part of lion bonding, they stood up like two giants who had just defeated an army of warriors. Their confidence shone right through them, they scent marked together and led us to a kill. Not any kill, this was a huge buffalo bull. They fed in harmony, no growling or hissing at all and no signs of the Southern Pride lionesses. We are still unsure of what happened during the night, had they been calling to get on touch with each other? Had they killed the buffalo together? Is this new bond/coalition temporary? This is only what we can leave up to the imagination and wait for time to write the story that follows within the African sand.

The kruger male and solo at Sabi Sabi on a kill while on safari at Sabi Sabi

The kruger male and solo at Sabi Sabi

The kruger male and solo at Sabi Sabi

The kruger male and solo at Sabi Sabi

Over the past three days the bond between the Kruger male and Solo only seems to be growing stronger with absolutely no aggression having been shown at all towards one another – only continual facial rubbing and grooming each other to soft contact calling. I cannot help but just smile thinking about the incredible events that I was lucky enough to have witnessed.

The kruger male and solo at Sabi Sabi

two lions under the african sky at Sabi Sabi

With there being intense pressure of male lion coalitions at Sabi Sabi and 16 different male lions having been seen over the past 8 months, was the Kruger male turning to an old known enemy in Solo? Solo is a nomadic male whose coalition partner, Eyrefield, is still missing within the depths of the Sabi Sands after a recent fight with the Selati males. This move could lead to a huge and strong coalition being formed and finally creating the much needed stability for the Southern Pride. “If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner” -Nelson Mandela.

male lion at sabi sabi luxury safari lodges

lion while on safari at Sabi Sabi

BY: STEVE VOLKWYN (BUSH LODGE RANGER)
IMAGES BY: STEVE VOLKWYN AND LANCE VAN DER VYVER

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

shirley February 6, 2014 at 7:07 am

Nice, and amazing Blog. Well written.

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rosie February 6, 2014 at 7:28 am

Wonderful pictures, thank you ! Shame they’re apart already and Solo is hurt though :(

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sarel nel February 6, 2014 at 8:00 am

Thanks for this. Really interesting stuff going on. Will have to see how this all play out.

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tim schauer February 6, 2014 at 11:31 am

Wow. Great story. Thank you, Steve.

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tonya February 6, 2014 at 1:20 pm

Steve, amazing story and pictures! You are so lucky to see the changes within the reserve on a daily basis! We miss it, but keep up to date here on Facebook. Thanks for always taking the time to write the blog and post pictures!

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pawel February 6, 2014 at 2:54 pm

to me these two together could means that Eyrefield male (Cleo) could be dead. KNP was looking for company since his brother died couple month ago. Solo could be looking for company as well if Cleo is missing.

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luke February 6, 2014 at 6:41 pm

Epic story! Your writing really drew me in, and the pictures were timely. Thanks many, many, many times over for sharing with the public. How much it is appreciated simply can not be expressed in words! Thanks again

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robbysdad February 6, 2014 at 6:49 pm

Amazing…been blessed to have been to Sabi Sabi twice in the past year…including just as recent as January…have witnessed the fight or lack of fight for the southern pride females and saw Eye & solo making many a play for the females…have seen this coalition developing…just a few weeks ago Eyerfield with Kruger male and now Solo with the Kruger male…

This is a great post guys and a great recap of what is happening up to day real time…love to keep getting these updates…best to Michelle (Earth), Richard, Jonas & Voster (Bush) & Lauren & Rod @ Sabi Sabi Bush

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helvio February 8, 2014 at 1:09 am

Que Bueno que esteen juntos The Kruger male and Solo , Espero que se una a Ellos el Eyrefield Male , Serian una Coalicion de tres Fuertes Machos , Muchas gracias por la Informacion sabisabi , Saludos desde Argentina.

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kevin February 11, 2014 at 4:42 am

We were all expecting or anticipating this to happen, so there we are .. :)

Can we have news on Cleo please. These 3 lions must be all together

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mj February 21, 2014 at 1:13 am

Is there an update on the friendship of the Kruger Male and Solo? Is Eyrefield male still missing?? It makes for an interesting day, not knowing what you will find in the bush!
Thank you for sharing.

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cheryl heaton March 9, 2014 at 7:21 am

Also my love with whispers Cleo is likely dead can not die with him! So saddened we simply do not know what happened to Cleo a Mapogo relative! Hope Solo is out there and doing alright very difficult a lion alone! Any one with info I’d love and appreciate an update! Thank you Cheryl Heaton

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EKIPAME April 23, 2014 at 2:49 pm

los leonoes no son tontos , y menos cuando estas solos

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EKIPAME April 23, 2014 at 2:55 pm

Coalitions are formed, not born ready-made,! and lions are very opportunistic,
see that the future holds …. these two stars.
Try see them in heaven soon!

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EKIPAME April 23, 2014 at 2:57 pm

You are great, thanks for reminding us of all the wild side!
And may God bless you all!
And keep protecting life

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