A few days ago we ran a post about the Tsalala Pride taking down a buffalo in the Sand River near camp. Three mornings after the kill, ranger Dean Smithyman and myself decided to take our guests to see if any feeding activity was still taking place.
To our disappointment, the pride had moved off during the night, but we enjoyed spending some time watching a wake of vultures, their patience finally rewarded, squabbling over the remains.
Trackers Elmon Mhlongo and Mike Sithole soon found tracks of the lions heading west along the North bank of the river, and it wasn’t long before we spotted the older tailless lioness and her cub in the distance, lazing about in the shade of a Jacket Plum.
Sitting watching the two lions, Dean suddenly cried “Look!’, and as all eyes turned, we were greeted by the sight of the remaining two Tsalala females, followed by all four of the Majingilane coalition slowly walking in our direction through the clearing.
After a brief greeting between the Hip-Scarred male and the older Tailless female, all the lionesses began heading east, back in the direction of the Buffalo carcass, while the Majingilane followed at a distance.
We hurried round ahead of the lions, arriving back at the kill just as Hip-Scar had finished scattering the vultures.
One-by-one the procession arrived. Hip-scar was there already. The Scar-nosed male came next, followed by Dark-Mane and then the lionesses and cub. Last on the scene was the Blonde-maned male, whose disappointment was evident at finding an entirely consumed buffalo carcass with barely a morsel left to scavenge.
While the Tsalala females left the scene, heading North to the Manyelethi River, the males lingered, reluctant to accept that today there was to be no free meal.
They were to give us one last treat however, lining up for a wonderful photo opportunity in front of Varty Camp, before following the scent-trail of the females over the hill to the dry riverbed.
Seeing lions on any day is special enough, even when they are sleeping, which they do a lot!. To have all four Majingilane interacting with one of Londolozi’s iconic prides, crossing clearings, rocks, and providing as perfect lion viewing as it is possible to have, certainly made that morning one to remember.
Written and Photographed by James Tyrrell