Singita Kruger National Park is especially well-known for its exceptional big cat population, as well as a remarkable concentration of the rest of the ‘Big 5’. They have free reign over Singita’s 33 000-acre concession in the southeastern reaches of the Kruger National Park, and beyond.
There are a number of large “mega prides” in the area, the sheer size of which is forcing groups to split off and create their own prides and start new bloodlines in the process. In April this year, it was reported that the five Shishangaan males had fought their way in and taken over the territory from two previous males. This led to copious mating activity, the results of which we are starting to see in the N’wanetsi section of the Park.
In the June Wildlife Report from the region, field guide Nick du Plessis says: “The Mountain pride of lions is, and has been for a while, growing at a rapid rate. To date we’ve seen a total of fifteen cubs in the northern half of the Xhikelengane drainage, with a couple of adult females still looking very heavily pregnant – and cubs from them are imminent. The pride at this point is still fairly fragmented, which is by no means unusual, with most of the cubs still being too young to leave den-sites and follow the pride. This should all change once the cubs reach the age where they are introduced to the rest of the pride, at which point they only have a couple of months before they are weaned and the pride needs its strength in numbers. With the small pans and waterholes slowly drying up, water is becoming less readily available with the defining change of the season. With all the general game concentrating where there is still a place to drink it won’t be long before all the pride members will converge at this point.”
The photos you see here are by field guide and wildlife photographer Barry Peiser, who tracked the lions while working at Singita Kruger National Park. He observed the Mountain pride moving with their cubs between the northern and eastern parts of the concession, hiding the youngsters in the drainage line where long grass and fallen tress offer good coverage for them.
You can follow the antics of these gorgeous little cubs on Facebook and in our monthly Wildlife Reports. You can also subscribe to the blog to see more of Barry’s photos of the cubs in the coming weeks.
These pictures hardly need a caption – we would be surprised if you could tear your eyes away from their little furry faces long enough to read it! If you are interested however, you may like to know that these gorgeous young lions are offspring of the Butamtam pride at Singita Grumeti in Tanzania. These lions are healthy breeders; over the past two years one of the major prides got so big that it split into two, and two of the other prides seem to be heading in the same direction. In addition, all of their cubs have higher than usual survival rates which is wonderful to hear.
Photos by Field Guide Ryan Schmitt. Ryan regularly posts snapshots from his adventures in the bush on our Facebook and Instagram feeds so follow us there to see more!
You would be forgiven for assuming that lions, the larger and more ferocious cousins of our domestic cats, weren’t big fans of the water. In actual fact, lions are excellent swimmers and although they aren’t prone to daily dips (unlike tigers who use the water to cool down) they will cross a body of water with ease.
Marlon du Toit, a Field Guide at Singita Sabi Sand is an excellent wildlife photographer whose pictures can regularly be seen on this blog, our Facebook page and across various international websites and publications. He was lucky enough to get this incredible photograph of not only two adult lionesses traversing the Sand River, but with six little lion cubs in tow! As Marlon says, “This is a lifetime of waiting and hoping all in one shot… something very special indeed.”
Our “Field Guide Favourites” is an ongoing series of wildlife photographs from our team in the bush. See more of Marlon’s photographs in previous posts or visit his website for more.
Written by Singita Guide, Marlon du Toit – Singita Kruger National Park/ Lebombo and Sweni Lodges
So, as you have all heard, there are some new additions to the Mountain Pride. A few months ago Glass (Singita Tracker) and I saw a lioness carrying a tiny, week old cub. Ever since then we have been waiting in anticipation for her to introduce the little cubs to the rest of the pride. The day finally came three days ago when to our surprise we were introduced to, not only two little ones, but to another three cubs! This now brings the number of the Mountain Pride up to twenty-three lions – incredible!
I spent the evening with the pride last night, and what an amazing experience. The cubs quickly got used to the presence of my vehicle, and I managed to capture some beautiful moments. The night ended on a high when the lionesses managed to kill two zebras. It happened too quickly to capture on camera, but the experience was unforgettable.
For more photos of these special small additions to the Mountain Pride, take a look at our Facebook page.
This week we have great lion cub pictures from both the Xirombe and Mountain prides courtesy of Singita Lebombo guide, Marlon du Toit.
The Xirombe pride cubs are just over five months old and exceptionally curious.
The Mountain pride cubs are just over four months old and just as curious as the Xirombe pride’s cubs.
Lionesses from the Mountain pride.
Two of the five Southern Coalition male lions. They have really started to grow into themselves and, in person, they are very large.
An amazing visual of two, three week old cubs, no more than half a meter away from the vehicle.
We are truly spoiled to have so many viewings of the littlest ones on the reserves. And more cubs have been born – watch this space for more terrific photos.
The last week at Singita Kruger National Park has been nothing short of sensational! Not only were we introduced to two leopard cubs – the first in the concession in over two years – but this Saturday we met the latest additions to the Singita family, two beautiful lion cubs.
These are the first of the new lion generation, in Singita Kruger National Park, and over the next few weeks and months we can look forward to being introduced to the remaining cubs.