Wow, talk about bad luck!! I've been to the park 3 times this year and have seen several lions. Last year was also great with lion sightings everywhere. But don't despair; I have got the block on cheetahs. Have not seen one since Ã¢â‚¬Ëœ99. Can't even find it at Rietvlei dam near Pretoria
Lions occur right through the park, but best areas to spot them for me were Croc Bridge, Lower Sabie and Satara. With the latter swarming with lions. The Sweni area (+- 40000 ha, as big as Pilanesberg) near Satara has probably got the biggest concentration in the park.
We walked the Sweni trail in June, and boy, did we have lion encounters! No less than 2 prides roared their heads off next to the camp the first night. We were also lucky enough to see the location where lions caught and fed on a kudu the night before. Let me tell you one thing, as far as we walked we saw lion tracks. If you have a Mozambican friend, tell him to avoid the Sweni area.
We also had lovely sightings of about 11 cubs and 30min later a big black-maned male whilst walking just south of Satara in 2002. Lower Sabie is also a great place to spot lions. Try the roads to Mlondozi, Croc bridge and Duke dam as well as the so-called "highway" to Skukuza. A special lucky place for me has been 5kmÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s inside the Phabeni gate, with 2 sightings on 2 occasions.
When you walk in the park, you almost realize how big this place is! In actual fact the areas covered next to the tourist roads only covers about 5% of the park. Imagine how lucky all of us are to spot anything from the tourist roads at all!
Also look at the sightings maps at the camps and concentrate a bit on those areas. It is not always foolproof as some tourists heard a ground-hornbill or ostrich and marks it down as a lion roaring, or theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll spot a boulder or a log and mark that down as a lion stalking something for days.
Best is to try Murphy's Law and be patient and maybe stop searching for them and you'll find it. As I have said before: at the right place at the right time and you'll see your lion!