As the green season reaches its lushest, the Lions of Tintswalo continue to amaze guides and guests alike — as their movements, mating and magnanimous presence in the Manyeleti make game drives all the more enthralling.
The bush is thick and beautiful, and there’s plenty of cover for hunting, so it’s very rare that the lions are hungry and without a kill. The days are also hot and humid, so the lions tend to sleep a lot — and then hunt in the cool hours of the night.
The huge Scorro Pride are still residing in the north of the reserve — all eleven of them — as they rule over one of the largest and most remote regions of the Manyeleti. But there is a new threat in their midst — two new, big, unknown males who are pushing in from the Orpen section. They seem to be putting some pressure on the big Orpen males further south of the Koppies area. That’s not to say that the new males have taken over. The Orpen males are still mating and ruling with the koppies pride of four lionesses. They managed to father a cub with the Koppies Pride recently, but the cub seems to have passed away.
Closer to the lodge, we have got the resident Mbiris — eleven lions in total now. They seem to have lost one of the original females who went out on her own — or died. We have not seen her since. The young Mbiri males are reaching teenage size, and just like any teenager, they are causing lots of trouble in the pride by fighting over kills and generally overpowering their mothers and aunts at the dinner table. It’s time they move on and formulate their own territory.
Further south of the Mbiris, the Nharu Pride have joined up with the Red Road Male. It looks as though they are moving further south towards the main camp. The mighty Talamati Pride remains in the deep south of the reserve, with all nine cubs, five lionesses, and the one northern Avoca. And finally — further to the south and west — the two Shemongwe females are still active around dixie dam.
Food has been abundant in the Manyeleti, with lots of rain, lots of young antelope to hunt, making the competition between the prides and predators less of an issue. The buffalo, on the other hand, are fat and healthy, and able to ward off most attacks by the lions. But as the rainy season passes, and the pans begin to dry up and the grass fades, the Lions of Tintswalo will once again wage war on the buffalo — and we will be in for some amazing sightings.