The Lion Prides of Kruger Park
Being one of the most famous predators in the world and known for being “the king of the Jungle”, we look at my personal favourite creature in the animal kingdom, the Lion. The Kruger National Park is home to an estimated 1600 lions according to the latest statistics conducted by SANParks. With males weighing in at 190kg and females 130kg, these are Africa’s largest land predator as well as one of the most social, as they can live in prides of up to 40 members. You will often come across lions during the day, lazing around in shade to escape the African heat. The best time to spot them would be between dusk and dawn as they are mainly active at night, once the moon has risen and they’re on the hunt for prey. They generally hunt prey according to the size of the pride, with large prides able to take down large prey like Buffalo and Giraffe. Today we look at the top roads where you would have the best chance of spotting the jungle king as well as what has transpired in his kingdom recently.
5 best roads to travel to view lions:
1. The S100
The s100 is a 20km gravel road situated close to Satara Rest Camp. In our opinion, being one of the best roads to view lions in the Kruger National Park as the area is rich in prey and there are quite a number of accessible waterholes where they quench their thirst . The s100 is the home of two different lion coalitions the N’wanetsi males and the Shishangaan males, and is home to South Africa’s rare white lion.
2. The H7
The H7 is a 46km tar road from Orpen to Satara and a favourite to travel amongst our guides due to having so many fantastic sightings of the Big 5.
Lions are often spotted around the Orpen /Tamboti camp with a few other good spots on the H7 being the stretch of road between Bobbejaankrans view point and the S36/S39 intersection. There is also Nsemani Dam which is a fantastic spot to view them quenching their thirst. The H7 is where our favorite lion coalition exist, the Skybeds.
3. The H4-1
The H4-1 is 47km tar road between Lower Sabie and Skukuza. It runs along the Sabie River which has an abundance of herbivores and of course water. The Southern part of the park has the most population of lions in our opinion as it’s very green and lush which in turn attracts many plant-eating herbivores to the area. We recently seen the Jock males and the Lubyelubye pride on this road.
4. The H4-2
The H4-2 is a 35km tar road between Crocodile Bridge and Lower Sabie. Around the Vurhami Bridge is a great place for seeing lions on this road. The Vurhami pride can be found around this area as well as the Shishangeni coalition and Hippo pools pride.
5. The H1-3
The H1-3 is a 50km tar road between Tshokwane picnic spot and Satara rest camp. This road has two big waterholes which we have often seen lions at. The stretch between the S126 intersection and Satara also offers a great opportunity for spotting the Kumana pride and the Mazithi pride that live around this area.
Current Developments amongst Kruger’s Lion Kingdom:
Young males will band together to better their chances of being victorious against older, stronger, and more experienced males. Though these battles are brutal, savage, bloody and sometimes unfair, they are a part of nature.
There’s a huge takeover going on now within the Kruger National Park.
The S28 lions have suffered a huge loss with lots of changes going on. The Vurhami pride was the dominant pride along with the Shshangeni pride, the hippo pools pride is also active although some of them have been ousted to a nearby estate, Marloth Park, which is a wildlife estate way down South. There were two S26 males and sadly, they were both killed by unknown males and were later eaten by the Verhami pride.
Around the Skukuza and Malelane area, Eastern bank male lions took over the territory of the Renosterkoppies males, leaving only one survivor. These males were attacked by a powerful coalition of 3 males which have now claimed the area all the way down to Malelane.
Around the Berg en Dal area, there is a strong pride consisting of 3 males and a few females who killed one of three young Mejejane males that tried to take over. The 2 remaining Mejejane males have since joined up with 2 other unknown males and are often spotted around the Afsaal area of the Kruger National Park.
Nhongo guides recently came across a new pride of 9 males and 5 females, located in and around the Skukuza area. A delaporte male, kicked out from his pride, joined this group along with some Shishangeni males who were also ousted, becoming a powerhouse of 9 males in this pride which makes for a spectacular sight to see.
Around the Satara area, there is a white lion named Casper. He is often seen around Nsemanii dam and Orpen Gate, along with his brother and their females. At present, he is currently mating.
There are many other prides all over the Park and many males roaming and waiting for a chance to have a pride of their own. Thank you for taking the time to read about our Lion coalitions within the park, the latest developments among the prides in the South and the most interesting routes to travel to find them.