A few years ago the Vuyela male lions made their presence known on the Africa on Foot and nThambo Tree Camp traverse. These burgeoning beasts embodied the male lion stereotype and were looking for territory to claim. They entered at the right time. The pride dynamics in this section of the Klaserie were complicated, and at the time there seemed to be a gap for a powerful coalition to take over. The Vuyelas quickly seized the opportunity to make this portion of the Klaserie their stomping grounds. Their burly bodies, lustrous manes, confidence, and sheer power quickly caught the eye of three local lionesses, who are believed to be the Ross breakaways. To cut a long story short, they all mated and now we have lion cubs in the Klaserie sired by the Vuyela Kings.
If you recall, Warick Wrede said this, “Vuyelwa/Vuyela means to come back and they are a lion pride of 9 individuals. The make-up of this pride is 5 males and 4 females. No one is sure of where these 5 males come from, but we think they came in from the Kruger National Park. The males range in age from 7 to about 9 years of age. These 5 males are very seldom seen walking together and generally, we see at the most 2 together.”
Over the past two months, we’ve received regular lion updates from Warick Wrede and guides “on the ground”. Whether it’s a sighting of two Vuyelas, the females, or the entire pride, there now appears to be regular lion sightings in the Klaserie. One of the most recent and memorable sightings includes a report from Fabien who says he followed the 5 Vuyelas to Buffeldam, where there were the Ross breakaway females. A huge scuffle with a clan of hyenas ensued, giving onlookers quite the show.
On 14th Jan, the first lion cub was spotted, and since then there have been a few more notable sightings. Because lion cubs have a high mortality rate in the wild, lionesses will ensure cubs remain relatively hidden until they are more mobile. So far, the cubs are faring well in the wild, and we expect to see more sightings of them in the coming months.