Balule Lion Catch Up: Intertwining of Prides

The splintered prides, the coalitions and the lone rangers of the lion world all lead colourfully intertwined lives. Whether it be a showdown between testosterone fuelled sub-adults fighting for dominance or the consistent mating with females from various prides; one thing is for certain, the lion sightings and dynamics in the Balule are never dull.

About two weeks we updated you about the lions of the Balule, a big cat report with the central focus being the burgeoning Mohlabetsi Coalition of four males. While they’re still seen as a central force on the Ezulwini turf, we’ve enjoyed much more of a variety of lion sightings than we did two weeks ago. Duma’s Pride and the River Pride have “crawled out of the woodwork” and it appears there might be cubs stashed away somewhere or safekeeping.

Of course, the Mohlabetsi males sprinkle themselves across all of our lion sightings – especially the older male who is definitely sewing his wild oats. He more than likely sired the cubs – which haven’t been seen yet. Lodge manager Jochen Van de Perre spends much of his time observing and photographing the antics of Ezulwini Game Lodges’ lion prides. With his feedback, documentation and passion for lions we’re able to share our stories with you. Here is Jochen’s update from the past few days. Without further ado, let’s play Balule lion catch-up! 


Mohlabetsi coalition of four males and River Pride lionesses 

The evening game drive started off with a twist! Rangers found two females on a buffalo kill early in the early part of the evening – one of the females was definitely one of the pride elders from the River Pride. Her distinct torn ear and bad eye made her instantly recognizable.

She was clearly lactating which can mean one thing only – there are cubs stashed in the thickets somewhere! Tracks around littered around the area indicated plenty of adults in the vicinity but in between their prints were the smallest little paw prints we’ve seen to date! The next few weeks are certainly going to be an eye opener.

Rangers also found the dominant coalition of four males enjoying their own buffalo kill. They spent most of the time sleeping deep within the vegetation, but the younger of the boys wandered into the open. One of these males is responsible for the Balule’s new cubs.

Mohlabetsi Coalition Youngster Sub-adult Mohlabetsi Male Mohlabetis 4 Lions Relaxing

River Pride lionesses close to the back of Ezulwini River Lodge

The two lionesses were seen at the back of River Lodge at night. The lactating lionesses very hurriedly scurried off into the bush. Rangers are wondering if she’s stashed her cubs in a drainage line closeby to the lodge! The other lioness roared consistently in an effort to contact the rest of the pride. Depending on the age of the cubs, rangers will keep a safe distance from the area where to cubs are stashed, so as not to put pressure on the lioness.

River Pride Lionesses One of the River Pride Lionesses

Duma’s Pride lioness mating with older Mohlabetsi coalition male

The older male from the coalition, the one of the long blond locks is clearly sewing his wild oats. As the evening game drive drew to a close, this male was seen mating with a lioness from Duma’s Pride!

Duma's Pride Lioness Duma Lioness & Coalition Male Mating Balule Lions

Duma’s Pride of lions

Duma’s Pride appear to be a lot more relaxed than usual. 5 lionesses were seen just relaxing in the shade and conserving their energy for their nocturnal activities. There were 2 older and 3 younger lionesses. One of the older ones was missing, but then again she was seen mating the night before!

Lion Paws Ezulwini

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