Most people have a bucket list and a lion safari in Africa would probably feature somewhere close to the top of that list. Pondoro means lion and it goes without saying that we have quite a few. We have access to about 10 000ha of land on which to do our luxury African safaris. 5 Different prides of lions can be seen in this area although the Singwe pride is seldom seen inside our concession. Lions are territorial and would defend their territory from intruders meaning some groups sneak in and would quietly leave again as our concession area would not form part of their core territory (Singwe pride). For others most of their territory might fall outside our traversing area (Mohlabetsi pride of 17 lions) although the coalition of Mohlabetsi males (4 lions) seem to have expanded their territory to include most of Pondoro. Kudyela and his pride have lost some of their land to the Mohlabetsi males and they have now retreated to the western side of Pondoro and further afield.

The Olifants west pride and Mohlabetsi males are most often seen during safari drives at Pondoro’s safari lodge. The Olifants west pride have split into 3 groups, the prides of Noengu Mafazi (13 lions), pride of 6 and Kudyela’s pride (10 lions which keeps more to the west as stated earlier). Noengu Mafazi is the daughter of a lioness called Kokwana who was the pride leader when I first started in Balule many years ago. Under Noengu Mafazi’s reign the pride expanded and have split into 3 in order to maximize the amount of food intake for energy spent per hunt. This sounds very scientific, but basically means that they are getting more food to eat when living in smaller groups.

Living at Pondoro for so many years has given me a unique insight into the life of lions and how their dynamics have changed over the years. One develops a deep affection for some individuals as you follow their life and witness their trials and tribulations. A rare privilege.

We are blessed by having plenty of lions around, but we still cannot guarantee that guests will see these amazing cats. They can be pretty elusive at times, but you will certainly have a better than average chance to see lions at Pondoro Researcif your life’s wish is to go on a lion safari in Africa.