The return of the Gowrie male?

By Ranger, Victoria Craddock

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Lion with mouth open

On the 14th of December,

we posted a blog detailing the end of the Gowrie male’s era on MalaMala. With time, our conjectures became accepted; the older Gowrie male had passed away, and the younger one was coming under pressure from the likes of the Ndhzenga males.

Our last record of the surviving Gowrie male on MalaMala was on the 13th of January when he was with three Kambula lionesses and five cubs around the Windmill.

In the act of self-preservation, he moved away from where he felt the pressure and settled in the western sector of the Sabi Sands. Some time passed before we started receiving news that he had linked up with a younger male, his offspring from the Nkuhuma pride.

Since June 2022, the Gowrie male and Nkuhuma male have formed a cohesive duo, roaring and displaying dominance in the west. From these updates, we released any expectations of seeing this male on MalaMala again.

On the 9th of September, two unidentified lions were seen sleeping in the shade south of the MalaMala Causeway. It didn’t take long before rangers identified one of these males as the legendary Gowrie male.

For the following 48 hours, these majestic lions lounged along the bank of the Sand River. Then, as the crimson moon rose in the east on the 10th, they yawned, stretched and waltzed into the night.

We don’t know if these two males will endeavour to take back territory on MalaMala, or if this was a fleeting visit. Either way, any time spent with the Gowrie and Nkuhuma males is time well spent.

Travelling to MalaMala