A video taken by ranger Rul on the 9th of June 2016 of the Mohlabetsi pride with their lion cubs drinking at Deadend dam. The southeastern section of our traversing area forms part of their territory with the rest extending further east into the southeastern parts of Balule.

The Mohlabetsi pride formed in 2008 when 3 young lionesses split away from the Olifants west (York) pride. The Olifants west pride was first seen in 2003 consisting of 2 lionesses called Kokwana and Mother lion as well as the legendary males Big Boy and Mazinyo. Mother lion gave birth to 4 cubs, 3 females and a male in June 2005 and it is these 3 lionesses that split away to form the Mohlabetsi pride. The Olifants west pride at that stage were 13 lions strong and the amount of food intake per energy expanded to make a successful hunt made it more beneficial to split away and start their own pride.

They were seldom seen after this as they spend most of their time in the Strydom/Jejane section of the reserve only making infrequent visits to our area. This only started to change when the Mohlabetsi male, who is also a son of Big Boy and descendent of the Olifants west pride took them over. The younger members of the pride who were not habituated to vehicles soon started to relax and we are currently enjoying fairly regular and very good quality sightings of this huge pride.

The Kudyela pride is under pressure from the Mohlabetsi males coming from the east and Singwe males from the west. Kudyela’s days are running out quickly, inline with my prediction that he will not last for another year. We actually have not seen Kudyela/Duma for a while. The Single males were seen on York/Balule plains last night very deep into Kudyela’s territory which looks ominous.