Balule Lion Catch-up : The Boys, the Prides, the Drama

We recently reported the wild card antics from the power hungry Mohlabetsi boys enforcing their dominance over the prides within the Balule. But now it’s time to focus on two other prominent prides on the Ezulwini Traverse – Duma’s Pride and the River Pride.


Before we tell you about our recent sightings from the past five days, here’s a brief background and quick catch-up from the past 10 days:

  • The Mohlabetsi males are a coalition of 4 lions, with Duma’s brother at the forefront of the group.
  • The coalition appears to rule over the Impalabos Pride, River Pride and the Mohlabetsi Pride.
  • The River Pride is often seen in various sub-groups and split offs. It’s a pride of 13, so we’re not surprised.
  • Duma’s Pride seems to avoid the coalition of four.
  • It is speculated that Duma fled to the neighbouring Klaserie Private Nature Reserve, but has recently returned. Duma’s brother appeared to have a scuffle a few days ago and rangers are wondering if it wasn’t perhaps a showdown between him and his brother.

A couple of days ago a lone female was seen casually cruising on a pathway leading from the waterhole back into the thickets. With a full belly and fur looking bedraggled from devouring a meal, it was clear she was going to return to the kill site. The game viewer followed the lioness from a safe distance as she headed west.

River Pride Lioness at Dam Lioness - River Pride Balule Lioness Ezulwini Lioness River Pride

The lioness from the River Pride eventually led everyone to an open area where a young male was waiting close to a recent giraffe kill. The two lions relaxed together close to the kill. The young male lion is rumoured to be about 5 years old and is one of the youngsters from the River Pride.

Thus far, the Mohlabetsi crew have not sought any type of showdown or fight with this male and have let him stay within the pride.

However, he is at the age where he is reaching sexual maturity and will seek to dominate. Jochen questions the situation wondering why these two lions were without the pride.

Questions are:

  • Have the coalition decided that the male is now a huge threat and kicked him out?
  • Did the lone lioness follow this male in his quest for a new life?
  • Was it the lionesses in the pride that ouster him in order for him to seek his own pride and territory?
  • Because of the drought conditions, has the weather had an adverse effect on the pride functioning together? Have they split off?

Within the next year, as the youngsters grow, the dynamics will shift. Young males are always challenging the status quo!

 So, that’s the update about the River Pride of lions.


Youngster from River Pride River Pride Sub-adult River Pride of Lions Lioness River Pride Ezulwini Male and Female River Pride Lioness and Male River Pride River Pride Male

After indulging in a few sundowner drinks during a spectacular golden hour in the Balule, guide Jochen decided to return to the area where the lioness and lone male were fraternizing. In the area, a further three sub-adult males from the River Pride were spotted hovering in the wings. They seemed quite timid and wary of approaching the immediate area because of the presence of the older male.  The three young boys were probably wanting some form of a meal but had to get past the two lion guards first!


Sub-adult Males River Pride River Pride Young Lions Boys from River Pride Lions River Pride Sub-Adults


The following morning Duma’s Pride was spotted on the move but they were strolling around looking for an area to sleep. Lions sleep for up to 20 hours a day to conserve their energy for patrolling and hunting during the night.
The pride eventually lay down and sprawled out everywhere. In total, there were 3 lionesses and 6 sub-adults dotted among the shrubbery! There was no sign of the dominant king, Duma, because they were deep in the heart of the Mohlabetsi pride territory.

Duma's Pride Lioness Duma's Pride Lioness Balule Lions from Duma's Pride Ezulwini Lion Prides

That’s all for the Balule Lion Catch-up . Catch us next week more lion stories from Ezulwini in the Balule Nature Reserve!

Leave a Reply