We do have a good bunch of lions around this South Eastern corner of the Park.
To give you an estimate: (These numbers were accumulated from sightings on game drives and do not originate out of a proper census)
• Hippo Pools Pride
• 2 Males, 4/5 females and 4 cubs (some more was in the making the other day)
• Bume Pride
• 2 Males, 4 female, 6 cubs (one or two months)
• Lwakahle Pride (4km stretch west to Lwakahle River)
• 2 Males, 4 female, 8 large cubs/sub adults (Last time I saw them was a couple of months ago)
• Mlambane Pride (Lukimbi Safari Lodge – Mlambane River area?)
• 1-3 Males, 4 female
• Jock Road / S114 Pride
• 1 Male, 4 large female, 8 sub adults
• Tom, Dick & Harry (18km stretch of S139)
• 3 Males, sometime associating themselves with female coming through the area (nomadic groups?)
“Lion prides with a rich, reliable food supply can afford to be territorial. Where their prey is migratory, lions tend to follow the herds, and where the food supply is sparse and unpredictable the prides have huge home ranges that are too large to defend. In all these cases encounters between lions from different prides are hostile, but actual fighting is rare, one party leaving the scene under the watchful eye of the other.” Wild Ways by Peter Apps (1992). Southern Book Publishers, Halfway House.
Looking at the areas where Wildebeest and Zebra occur – East on the basalt plains from Crocodile Bridge up to north of Satara – the lion prides tend to be bigger in numbers of individuals and prides per area. West from the S114 to Afsaal the same tendency occurs, but to a lesser extend than on the eastern side. The centre section around Biyamiti and Lukimbi Safari Lodge are predominantly Buffalo area and the prides tend to move around a lot with bigger territories or home ranges. Because of the “smaller” lion population and probably more nomadic behavior of the lions around the Biyamiti area, together with the generally dense vegetation it is prime leopard territory and we have a fairly dense leopard population on the S139. (22km with possibly 12+ leopards).
Warm bush greetings