Lions at war

Lions at war

Richard Gouveia • 05/11/2023


There’s nothing more exhilarating than waking up in the bush when it’s still dark and heading off on an early morning game drive. We wanted to get a head start on the sunrise and capture a few photos of dawning of a new day.

As we reached the open area with a beautiful view to the east we settled in amongst a herd of zebra, switched off the vehicle and sat in complete silence waiting for the sun to peak its head over the horizon and warm our magical piece of Africa. The sounds of the dawn chorus came in from all directions immediately putting a smile on my face.

Suddenly the chorus was interrupted by the unmistakable sound of lions roaring.  

As the first two finished roaring another group started to roar in return and so the tennis match of the fight of territory began. Soon, we found tracks for the Southern Pride. We tracked for a while and they were eventually found moving south – away from the roaring.

The 6 lionesses with their 8 cubs

As we sat quietly, we watched 6 of the females and all 8 cubs playing but we could also hear the roaring getting louder. The guests were focused on the lions and I was listening to the radio as some of the other vehicles were trying to find the source of the commotion.

Next thing Brett, another ranger called in that he had just seen one of the Mapogos (1 male) running at full pace north and roaring at the top of his lungs. Shortly after, 2 Kruger male lions were found roaring but their body language was very aggressive.

The Kruger Males

When I eventually joined up with the Kruger males they were looking confident and in superb condition. They walked along the road, rubbing their heads through the trees and scent marking as they went along. Suddenly they stopped to listen and we could hear the resounding sound of more males calling in the distance. They returned fire, the awesome roar echoing through the chilly autumn air leaving my guests and I speechless. It was amazing how often they let the roars explode from their lungs making sure that all the competition around knew who was the boss of this land. 

What happened through the night and early hours of the next morning is unclear. From what we have pieced together the Mapogos ran into the Majengies (another coalition) and were chased into our reserve, where they were greeted by the belligerent Kruger Males who too wanted them out as fast as possible!