As mentioned a few days ago in an update on the Mhangeni pride, no-one can really predict with any amount of certainty what is going to happen from one day to the next.
One of the hot topics of debate is exactly what would happen in a Matimba vs Majingilane clash, should a proper one ever occur.
We have seen the two coalitions roar back and forth and chase each other, but there has yet to be a sighting of actual physical conflict, although we are certain that they have made proper contact before. Blood in the road and bits of mane, as well as a badly cut up Matimba male were sure signs that the two groups had met on at least a couple of occasions.
So far, what we have generally seen is a retreat by the Matimbas, but having said that, it is only fair to mention that that has been when the Majingilane have made a show in force, by venturing east with at least three of their number.
The latest encounter was different.
Rangers heard roaring near Londolozi’s western boundary, an area one of the Matimba males had been seen in the day before, and it was naturally assumed that it was the same lion(s) vocalising. Ranger Greg Pingo and tracker Equalizer Ndlovu caught sight of a male lion moving quickly through a rocky section, sniffing around and bellowing continuously. As he was shortly afterwards joined by a second male, both Greg and Equalizer presumed it to be the Matimba males, chasing the Mhangeni sub-adult males. This was by far the most likely scenario.
It wasn’t long though before Greg gave a further update, that these were in fact the scar-nose and dark maned males of the Majingilane. Both were roaring all the time, and they were clearly on the scent of other males. No answering roars were forthcoming, and the Majingilane pair began moving east, into Matimba territory.
All of a sudden from up on the crest came the roar of two more male lions. On the spot and without hesitation, both Majingilane turned and began moving quickly back westwards, not deigning to roar again. The duo of the Matimba males answering back was enough to deter two of a once mighty brotherhood.
Last year we ran a post on a sighting in which two of the Majingilane chased one of the Matshipiri males off a wildebeest kill, pursuing him for a long way. As soon as that first Mathsipiri male met up with the second, a few kilometres away, and they roared back in unison, the two Majingilane quietly turned and hastened back westwards, without roaring again.
This clip documents that encounter from last year:
It appears as though history has repeated itself, in that on this occasion, as soon as the Majingilane sensed that they no longer had the upper hand, they disdained an encounter. Two vs. two weren’t odds they fancied. Coming from a coalition of four, in which numerical superiority has always been their strong point, such an approach makes perfect sense.
“Pick your battles” would seem to be the mantra of the Majingilane, and so far it seems to be keeping them going.
Video footage courtesy of Terri Abadi, Londolozi Guest