RANGER'S BLOG

28 Nov

Lions of Tintswalo: The Buffalo Are Back!

The summer rains have arrived, the plains are beginning to burst with grass, and that means one important thing: the big herds of buffalo are moving into the area, and it’s going to be an interesting time for the legendary buffalo hunters of the Manyeleti.

As we’ve written before, the Lions of Tintswalo are renowned for their ability to bring down big buffaloes in dramatic showdowns that display their immense strength, strategy and resilience. Now, with the green shoots appearing on the plains, the buffalo are back and we are preparing for some exhilarating sightings in the months to come.

Tintswalo’s regular prides have been out and about, and we’ve already enjoyed a few amazing sightings as the prey animals congregate around the water sources after the rains. Just this month, we have seen five different prides and three different coalitions of lions. The Mbiri Pride has not wasted any time with the buffalo herds, and recently took down a large bull.

With all these kills, the Mbiri pride is looking incredibly healthy and strong. The sub adults are going to be big, mature lions and will soon be a force to be reckoned with, cementing their reputation as the Manyeleti’s ultimate hunting pride.

In one incredible moment, the Nharu Pride managed to bring down a young giraffe. But as they were beginning to gorge themselves, the Mbiri Pride charged in and stole the kill in a fit of rage. The sounds of the battle echoed over us as the two resident prides, so well-known by all our guests, battled it out over the carcass.

A few of the Nharus ran off, but, amazingly, some of them remained behind, determined not to lose their carcass without a fight. Perhaps to avoid further conflict, the Mbiris let these other lions feed on the carcass, and we were treated to an amazing sighting of the two prides eating together. None of the lions from either pride were injured in the fights. Perhaps these battles get to the point where the lions all realise that it’s better to share the food, rather than fight and hurt each other in the process. Or maybe, after so many years sharing similar territories, the lions know each other so well, and are willing to suspend their territorial instincts and share.

The Mbiris really are a force to be reckoned with, and it seems they don’t go for long without a meal. Last month, The pride found an elephant carcass that had died of old age. The pride spent a lot of time with the Avoca Males at the carcass, and as you can imagine, there was a lot of meat to go around, and this provided days of viewing for our guests.

In other sightings, the Talamati pride was seen in the south, with one young Avoca Male, feeding on a wildebeest carcass. These males are amazing specimens and we are sure we will see little cubs soon! The Koppies pride is looking great and we viewed them on multiple occasions with two males growing in stature and into an impressive size.

We’ve also encountered a new and interesting pride in the far north of the reserve, made up of seven females and five cubs. It’s always wonderful to find new lions! A whole new dynamic is brought into the region as they make themselves known to the other lions. We will be referring to this new pride as the Orpen Pride, and the two large males that move with them as the Orpen Males. These two males are very impressive and are moving further south into the reserve, becoming a threat to the Koppies males. It will be fascinating to see where this all leads!

It seems there might be cubs on the horizon here too. The Young Avoca males have been hanging around with the Talamati females in the South. Up in the North, the Koppies Pride has been doing very well with the Red Road male and are covering large areas through the reserve.

As always, the Lions of Tintswalo are in constant change and flux, as power dynamics shift and new blood arrives on the reserve. It’s important to remain up to date about who is who, so here’s the current breakdown of all the lions currently living near Tintswalo Safari Lodge.

Orpen pride: 2x males, between 4-6 females and cubs of about 5 months.

Male in pride is known as ‘Junior Nkuhuma’, originally from the northern Sabi sands and Southern Manyeleti where the Nkuhuma pride rule their territory.

Koppies pride with Red Road male

3 females
1 young male of about 1.5 years old

Birmingham pride: 2-5 females

2 young males of about 3 years old, pretty much independent now

Mbiri pride: 11 individuals plus Nharu young male

4 females
7 sub adults about 2 years old
1 young Nharu male 3 years old

3 Avoca\Giraffe males
Age about 10 years

Nharu Pride

11
3 females
8 sub adults about 3 years old

Talamati pride

5 females

Avoca males

3 males about 5 years old

Nkuhuma pride

Last time we saw them there were 11 animals

Torchwood pride

Last time we saw them there were 10 animals