The Majingilane can be frustrating animals. With such a vast territory, they are forever traversing from one side to the other; visiting the various prides over which they hold sway and roaring out their calls of dominance to the night air. Their territory is so large that it encompasses a number of properties within the Sabi Sands, not all of which are traversable by us. As a result, much of what happens within the coalition and their interactions with other prides are not witnessed on Londolozi soil, and we must rely on hearsay and second-hand reports to fill in the gaps in their lives.
The stories began filtering in from the west recently that the Majingilane had clashed with the Selati males and possibly killed one of them. Reports of the dead Selati male were premature however, as he was found alive a short while later, injured, but not too badly.
Let us not forget that the original four Selati males who overthrew the Mapogo in the west once numbered five, but one of their number was killed by the Majingilane during an ill-advised foray onto Londolozi soil. In fact, looking at the respective histories of the two coalitions, they follow eerily similar paths in many ways. Both the Majingilane and Selati males numbered five originally. Both coalitions took their territories by force, with the Mapogo being on the receiving end each time. While the older and bigger Majingilane have remained four-strong, the Selati males have been reduced to three after one of their number died after reportedly being gored by a buffalo last year.
It seems that the Majingilane’s presence further west in the reserve may well be a result of the Mhangeni pride’s movements. With this relatively new pride exploring territory to the south and west, territory which has essentially been a lion no-man’s land until recently, it is quite possible that the Majingilane coalition are trying to put their stamp firmly on this new ground to ensure the Mhangeni females have a safe area in which to raise their cubs. The Mhangeni pride themselves were found recently at Xinkhovana Pan, quite far west on Singita’s property, feeding on the remains of a zebra in attendance with three of the Majingilane (the fourth male, with the scar on his hip, was with the Sparta Pride). The dark-maned Majingilane, believed by many to be the dominant male in the coalition, had separated himself from the pride to lie on a termite mound, staring off into the Western reaches of the reserve, into Selati male territory.
The irony of all this is that the Mapogo, who were ousted by both Selati and Majingilane coalitions, fathered the Mhangeni lionesses, and it is partly their bloodline that now flows through the nine cubs which the Majingilane are trying to protect.
Is it the Majingilane that are pushing west as a result of where the Mhangeni lionesses have been operating, or are the Mhangeni females moving the cubs west as a result of Majingilane movement?
We’d love to hear your thoughts…
Written and Photographed by James Tyrrell