The Majingilane are back in the spotlight. Have they ever not been? Taking appreciation for everything else is important, but when male lions step up to the plate the whole world seems to stand still.
The prolonged and ongoing battle between the Majingilane and Matimba coalitions is doing anything but cooling down. Despite long periods of time between interactions, the two mighty forces continue to keep up their guards as tensions rise.
Initially, the two Matimba males took strain from not only the Majingilane males but other surrounding forces; one of the two almost fell before clawing his way back to the security of his brother. The coalition had a second chance. After many vocal and endurance wars with the Majingilane males, the first physical contact saw another almost fatal encounter for one the Matimba coalition. If the Majingilane males managed to find them during the nights following that encounter we strongly suspect they would have finished at least one of them off.
But the tables did turn thereafter, as late March saw the Matimba males stand up to a storming Majingilane coalition, evidently singling out perhaps an over-confident dark-maned Majingilane male and inflicting injuries on him, before the arrival of his two brothers who split up the underdogs. Although the Matimba males retreated from the three Majingilane males that night, their mark had been left on at least two of the older and more experienced attackers, who slowly pulled back into the heart of their territory in the west. Both Matimba males are looking well and have healed recently, and with the added responsibility of protecting their cubs born into the Tsalala Pride the two males are finally starting to show promise of expanding their territory.
However, a few days ago saw the return of the old guard; a weathered but not-quite-spent force of the Sabi Sands, the Majingilane. Not for over a month have these males ventured as far east as Londolozi to confront the Matimba coalition. Their wounds from March’s brawl have clearly healed and their attitude seemed to be one of intent.
Three of them were found moments before sunrise, strategically perched on a high crest with all ears and eyes honed in towards central Londolozi where the Matimba males usually roar from. All three were in seemingly good condition despite their advancing age, and the ground shook when they boomed out minutes of continual roaring. Immediately a response came from the far north-east. All three necks snapped around to listen; it was only this reaction which encouraged us to listen carefully and hear the distant roars ourselves. All three were suddenly up and moving in that direction in unison. Perhaps the calls which they were responding to were those of the tailless female of the Tsalala Pride, who was beyond our boundary and that of the traditional Tsalala territory since the arrival of the Matimba males last year. The Matimba males themselves were nowhere to be found on this day and did not respond to the Majingilane challenge… Fear or absence? It is unclear, as they did have the bigger punch in the previous encounter.
The marching Majingilane males never reached their tailless female nor did they find the Matimba males, as an opportunity for a meal presented itself. As has been so often the case, the dark maned male led the march, and spotted a lone impala ram in the thickets. The coalition proved once more that they are not a spent force as they caught and devoured their prey in a matter of minutes. A mere snack for the three beasts. By then the day was hot and shade caught their fancy. They rested before another night of vocally laying down the challenge and then returning back west. Only now after their departure have the Matimba males returned to their usual areas around the Sand River either side of camp.
The Majingilane’s recent presence was very evident to them, and the Matimbas’ absence during those 36 hours could have led to the death of their new cubs. They’ve managed to get away with their poor showing. This time.
Perhaps next time they will be present, and the return of the ageless Majingilane three will culminate into an unavoidable brawl. With both coalitions having landed strikes to the other, the match is still evenly balanced. With cooler mornings on the horizon and an opportunity to remain energetic well into the day, what will early winter bring?