Matt, I’m so happy to see your update on the Tsalala lioness, my favorite! Save for the gash on her head that you have confirmed has completely healed, she is definitely a beautiful young lioness!! I’m hoping by the time I arrive in 3 weeks, the river will be crossable and you all will be able to cross into the northern part of the reserve. Enjoy a fantastic week!$
It has been quite some time since we have put out any updates on the Tsalala Female. So I thought I’d give a brief update on her, having seen her recently. In summary, however, she is exactly four years old now and is doing incredibly well. She has become an extremely beautiful-looking lioness. Her resilience and willingness to survive on her own as a youngster has given her an elite level of experience compared to most lions her age.
She is now sexually mature, and the natural inclination to have cubs of her own is very much on the cards in the near future. I’m sure this day will bring watery eyes to some of the Rangers and Trackers at Londolozi.
In terms of males in the area she occupies, stay tuned for an update on that. It has been quite volatile lately with the two Black Dam Males slowly starting to venture more and more southward into Marthly from the north. If they find unoccupied territory with a young female willing to mate, they will definitely want to stake their claim. We’ll see what happens over the next few months.
For about the past month or so, we have had an incredible amount of rain across the Sabi Sand region. We have been unable to cross the Sand River due to the water level being so high. Many parts of the reserve have been inaccessible for vehicles as they were either too muddy or soft because of the water table rising so drastically. Especially along the Sand River, and some of the drainage lines that feed into it.
With that said, sightings of the Tsalala Female, who spends most of her time in these areas, have been few and far between. A few weeks ago however she was seen with quite a large gash on her head, about an inch or so above her left eye. We are not 100% sure what it could have been, but most likely an injury sustained from another lion. Fortunately, it looked like quite a clean wound, despite its size. She was not seen on Londolozi for a couple weeks after that.
Last week we were driving back to camp following a great sighting of the Senegal Bush Male. We were miles from camp and it was pitch dark, and starting to rain. So we decided to call it and head straight back. I was driving at quite a steady pace so as to try and avoid the inevitable rainstorm that was fast approaching. The gusts of wind were starting to get stronger too. I was just thinking to myself how great hunting conditions these would be for the predators.
We were halfway up Strip road when Tracker Terrence flicked his spotlight in the direction of the airstrip. Catching our attention was the reflection of a train of eyes, moving at a serious speed down towards the open clearings at the southern end of our Airstrip. The speed and steady galloping nature gave away that it was a herd of wildebeest. Anticipating that there was most likely a pride of lions on the hunt, I drove to the airstrip to see what was unfolding. As we turned the corner and had the tarmac in sight, Terrence’s spotlight illuminated the bright tawny coat of a lioness in hot pursuit down the runway. Fortunately, we managed to just get a view of her face as she quickly trotted past us with serious intent – it was the Tsalala Female!
We were so happy to see how healthy and strong she looked. Even though it was only for a full second that we got a good view of her face, the gash on her head had completely closed and healed. We did not pursue her during her hunt as we did not want to interfere with the outcome. She was found the next morning and the next day and has been seen regularly within the last week.
It certainly isn’t all smooth sailing for her, but as we have observed through the past 25 years, the unrivalled willingness to survive runs deep within the bloodline of the Tsalala Pride. We will never count her out.
The Tsalala Female comes from a pride that has defied the odds time and time again. It will only be a matter of time before she will face the challenges that her own mother faced whilst raising her as a little cub. We can’t wait to see what the near future holds and how she handles the pressures of adulthood going forward. Some of the most incredible stories ever told are the ones written by Mother Nature herself.
Filed under General Nature Lions Ranger Safari experience Wildlife
I was frightened that the post would be not so happy. But very glad to see the Tsalala lioness is persevering.