MSL

The Mighty Sounds Of Future Lion Kings

Having been guiding in Madikwe for just over 2 years now, I have been treated to some of the most magical moments this reserve has had to offer. There is however a certain group of youngsters that have captured me from the first time I ever got to view them.

Now, when I first saw these 3 young male lions, scurrying around with their mother at the tender age of about 18 months old, they still looked slightly vulnerable, not having the safety of a pride to look over them.

They were young boys still much smaller than their mom, teaming up all the time at failed attempts to tackle and bully her. I’m sure some of the guides were uncertain about where the future of these three lads would go, but watching them grow up, against all odds, and become what they have today, has truly been a privilege.

As I am positive that most of the guides within Madikwe will agree that these have become lions that everyone is eager to see, knowing that the beauty and raw power of these now nearly 4-year-old males will most definitely fascinate any guest who is lucky enough to see them.

Within the last couple of months, they have started to show signs of ever-growing independence, leaving mom’s side for longer and longer periods, which shows that they will soon be looking to start challenging the top dogs of the reserve for territory.

They have already started actively scent-marking and are treating us to numerous early morning and late afternoon vocalisations, which make the hair on the back of my neck stand up each and every time I hear them. These displays of territorial behaviour are becoming regular and the dominant males in the vicinity should most certainly be on the lookout for these up and coming kings.

Listen to their vocalisations below:

The guides in the Eastern sector of the reserve have started counting their lucky stars because this is the area in which they have been spending most, if not all of their time as of late, ensuring that quality big cat sightings are abundant. I most certainly am in awe of these lions and cannot wait to see them continue to grow and develop into mature adults.

On safari at Madikwe Safari Lodge, be sure to ask your guide about the possibility of seeing these 3 brutes, you will not be disappointed.

Words and video by – Kyle Olivier

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"Unexpected and sometimes comical sightings linger around every corner for our guests. But for a guide, the absolute best is to watch lion cubs at play. Playing is so incredibly important for bonding. It also helps to build up reaction impulse and strength, so that one day they can have the stalking and hunting skills to follow in their mother's footsteps." – Steph Hornsey, Field Guide

Photo: Steph Hornsey
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