In the early 1990’s, two dominant male lions controlled the territory throughout Londolozi. Known only as the Black Maned and Golden Maned males, the pair were formidable and very much in control of the lion dynamics. It was however the fence between the Sabi Sands and Kruger National Park that would change everything. Up until 1992 the fence had limited the movement of game between these vast tracts of wilderness, fragmenting the 6 million hectares of open wilderness that we currently enjoy today.
Shortly after the fence had been removed, nomadic and rogue male lions began to push further west from the Kruger National Park into the Sabi Sands. And on one fateful night, a coalition of 5 male lions journeyed west to setup a territory for themselves.
Londolozi General Manager, Chris Kane Berman, was a ranger during this period and he recalls the event.
“We had spent the afternoon with the two males and it wasn’t long after dinner in the boma that we heard them vocalizing again. Roaring deep into the night, the calls were however suddenly rebutted with the sound of new males steadily advancing east of our boundary. When we headed out at first light there were lion tracks everywhere. These tracks led us to, what is today known as, Tsalala Pan. Scattered around the pan were 5 new male lions lying around the dead bodies of two previously dominant males.
It wash’t long before two of the males lifted their heads and vocalized once again. The remainder of the lions then got up and attacked the carcasses of the two established males who they had obviously fought and killed during the night. Interestingly, this behavior continued throughout the day. By the time this new coalition left the scene, they had already fed off of them and were quite content to let a nearby crocodile as well as hyenas finish off the remains. As dusk broke, all 5 males stood up and declared their dominance by roaring into the night.”
Written and Photographed by: Chris Kane Berman