Familiar (adjective) – ‘well known from long or close association’ – Oxford Dictionary
The Fourways males have been mentioned in a blog post or two of late but are far from familiar. Up until recently these two relatively unscarred young males had been scarce in Londolozi. Large and gaining in confidence they are feeling their way around what effectively is no-mans land.
The Majingilane coalition held a large territory in the center of the Sabi Sand game reserve and at Londolozi we found ourselves in the heart of that territory. Roars from this mighty brotherhood would wake those even in the deepest sleep as they marched past camp. Those days are past now and the Majingilane have shifted their territory further west. This has left a gaping hole in the eastern reaches of Londolozi but even so, exciting times are under way.
There are three groups of males that have noticed this vacancy. The Fourways males mentioned above are one of the possible contenders for this prime piece of bush. Access to females as well as high resource territory either side of the Sand River are part of the motivation. Most of their time has been spent wandering on and off of Londolozi around our eastern boundary. They are however moving further west at times to discover just how far the Majingilane still move. This is a dangerous venture though as they are out numbered two to one. Not only do the older males have numbers on their side but experience too.
In the march to the top, the young still have a lot to learn. When to fight and when to flee is an important decision. When the roars of the Majingilane cut the morning air, younger lions haven’t been nearly as prevalent. They also have to learn when to pick battles, as at some point this will have to take place. With which males and where it happens are all still to be discovered.
Which males do you think are next in line for the territorial battle?
Written and photographed by Simon Smit, Londolozi ranger