Our property Boston borders with Pridelands, our immediate neighbors, and the predators that roam in our area have a long and complicated history that is always interesting to follow.
How a lion pride works
A typical pride of lions consists of about six related females, their dependent offspring, and a “coalition” of 2–3 resident males that joined the pride from elsewhere. The pride is a “fission-fusion” society and pridemates are seldom found together, except for mothers that have pooled their offspring into a “crèche.”
The pride around Tomo
We have at the moment a steady number of lions in the pride called Ngati. There are 2 males that have been fending off invasions from the north for quite a well and have been doing a great job. One male has a beautiful burgundy mane and we like to call him Harry. The other male has a very poor mane with some bald spots and we tend to call him William. The females in this large pride often break off into smaller groups, the females also tend to move between these smaller groups. It is very rare that we see them all together. Generally there are a stable 8 lionesses. A few months ago they had cubs pushing the pride number to a stunning 28 lions. It is extremely rare to see them altogether.
Below you will find a sort of running commentary that will be updated based on the the lion’s social structure and movements, hope you enjoy following them as much as we do!
4 June 2023
Unfortunately the Ngati pride seems to have broken into 2 smaller groups. This was due to large number of cubs that were born a short while ago. One group remains the Ngati pride and they still hold strong onto their territory, the other group is called the Breakaways (6 lions plus 4 cubs) and they lived on the periphery for a while. Competition and mobility lead to the natural death of many of cubs and Breakaways moved over to the Air Force Base (our neighbors to the right).
Vets were called in to move the lions back onto Boston and Pridelands, but the Ngati pride fought off the Breakaways again. This time 2 lions were so badly injured that they both died.
23 June 2023
The main Ngati pride occupy northern Pridelands, Jejane and Boston. Unfortunately, very few cubs remain. Over time there have been problems with hyena, other lions, food, disease and genetics. The group still splits up from time to time into smaller groups. Pride dynamics are often changing and evolving; mother, daughter, aunt, niece, cousin, enemy, collaborator, or competitor come of the multi-layer relationships in a pride. To complicate matters more males may kill and eat the female’s cubs if she doesn’t want to follow him.
8 July 2023
The Masungulo males have been the dominate males in the Ngati pride fro quite some time. These are 2 lions that are driven by hormones and hunger. They have never shown interest in creating a calm and tranquil pride. They are also in a unique position – Boston and Pridelands are located at the southern end of the Greater Kruger. There is no other land to the south of us so the lions know that they do not need to defend the land to the south from any intruders. So, naturally, when they roam they go north. They will often spend time here mating with other new lionesses but they would also come back to the Ngati pride for food and mating. Since the lack of threats from the south the lions would not hang around and had even been spotted as far away as York or Olifants river in the west where reportedly they killed and ate other lions and even a leopard with a cub. This behaviour had earned them the name Idi and Amin (Idi Amin was said to be a cannibal).
22 August 2023
The hyenas have taken over Pridelands!
Some quick info on hyenas
Spotted hyenas live in hierarchical social groups that consist of up to 130 members, including up to 50 adult females, 40 adult males and 40 offspring. In these ‘clans’ there is a strict, linear dominance hierarchy in which all females and their young dominate all immigrant males. Lions are not friends to hyenas, they will often kill their young if they find the den and they will often kill adults if caught in the wrong spot at the wrong time.
Back to Tomo…
The Ngati pride has fully moved into to Boston. It seems like the hyeans have come in full force and taken over Pridelands and dening too! Our ranger tells us of a very interesting evening where there seemed to be a proper stand off between lion and hyena on Main Road (our road on the boundary of our two properties).
Now that the stand off has come to an end the hyenas have been very busy at their den with new cubs and even one of the Ngati females has had cubs on Boston!
3 September 2023
Unfortunately we can’t seem to find the 2 week old cubs anywhere. We think that they might have been killed by another male or the hyenas.
William and Harry are back in town and love lying around Caterpillare dam waiting for the females to pass by.
28 September 2023
Tons of comotion with the wild dogs!
Some quick info on wild dogs
The pack is led by a monogamous breeding pair, also known as the alpha male and female. The whole pack has the responsibility to look after the pups of the alpha pair. Older wild dogs often feed the pups and even rear them when necessary. The African wild dog is known for being very social.
A notorious enemy to the hyena and lion. Let’s just say none really wants to have the other around. A lion as long as it isn’t out number or injured will always win the fight with either hyena or wild dog.
One night on Pridelands our guests ran into this amazing sighting.
3 October 2023
Sadly today we learnt that a female of the Ngati pride did not survive the night due to altercations between members in the pride.
9 November 2023
The Ngati Pride has amazing news! Not one, not two but FIVE cubs!!! We are so excited to share this video footage of some of them with mom and aunt. Enjoy!
21 November 2023
The Ngati pride has chosen to den at Hlangula Dam for the time being. We feel very privileged to have them just down the road from the lodge. Hearing Prince Harry roar at night is really something!
Enjoy a photo update on the cubs and see how well they are doing!!