The Lions of Mjejane
By Stefenie Botha
The King of the Jungle! This is normally how people refer to the regal lion. They are impressive, especially with those penetrating yellow eyes and the beautiful dark manes. Mjejane Game Reserve is home to a large lion pride that provides countless opportunities to view them in their natural habitat. Throughout the years we have watched births, deaths, kills, hunts, fights and of course a lot of sleeping. They portray as a story of the harsh African bush much better than what can be seen on television. We experience the life of lions daily in Mjejane, it is only a pleasure to spend time with these beasts for a few hours in a day while out on game drives. This is their story;
The Mjejane pride consists of three dominant males, six adult females and fifteen cubs. The lionesses were once known as the Lukimbi pride as they originally came from the Lukimbi concession in the Kruger. They entered Mjejane for the first time in 2015 and at that stage were nine females and several cubs. One lioness was lost to old age, another to the brutality of a take over from new males and the last to a gruesome battle with a buffalo that made her succumb to her injuries. The pride was ruled by the old and majestic Lukimbi males that protected the pride for many years until they just mysteriously disappeared.
The three Mjejane males entered Mjejane early in 2018 and are the fathers of eight male cubs and seven female cubs. They have become a mega pride! Nothing is more remarkable than seeing 24 lions together even though in the next year the eight male cubs will be banished from the pride to find their own territory and pride.
At the moment the lionesses are finding it hard to provide for fifteen cubs and we are watching them weakening day by day. The cubs are joining in on the hunts, making it extremely difficult for the females to catch prey, as the cubs are still too inexperienced and the prey dashes off before the hunt even begins. One cub has already been mauled to death by a buffalo after a hunt went terribly wrong.
The Lukimbi lionesses are fierce buffalo hunters, so we hope these cubs will follow in their mothers’ footsteps and gain the experience needed to take down one of Africa’s most temperamental beasts. It will be interesting to see what the future holds for the pride, but one thing is for sure, they make for interesting game drives on Mjejane.