July 29

Silvan Safari’s Lion Prides: Introducing The Mighty Nkuhuma and Avoca Males


By Nigel Ridge on
July 29, 2021

One of the most incredible sightings to see on safari is lions, and Silvan Safari’s lion prides are no exception. In fact, they exceed expectations. 

There’s possibly nothing more heart-stirring than seeing 15 plus individual lions swaggering down the road towards you or spread across the open plain. Or, even better yet, fighting over a fresh kill.

Meet the Nkuhuma Pride

The pride most frequently seen around Silvan is called the Nkuhuma pride. And yes, this pride is large. In fact, with 26 lions, it’s safe to say that it is the biggest pride currently in the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve.

This pride consists of two dominant males (known as the Avoca males), seven adult female lions, and ten sub-adult cubs (ranging from about 12 to 16 months). Recently, seven new additions, which are now about 10 to 12 weeks old, joined the pride. In short, it’s the most powerful and one of the most confident lion prides I’ve had the privilege of ever witnessing.

Thrilling Lion Sightings at Silvan Safari 

Lions are not known for being the most active and energetic animals. Like everybody knows, they are particularly partial to lazing about most days and even large portions of the night. They are big cats, after all! But the sightings that this pride can provide, when timed right, are second to none.

I have experienced everything from 19 lions walk right past the safari vehicle to the lionesses and cubs all climbing trees and playing. But possibly the most impressive sightings are when you catch them either bringing down or busy feasting on a buffalo. Since this is a large pride, their skill in killing buffalo is incredible. It’s almost like the pride’s signature, and the pride’s females are formidably successful hunters. Therefore, being around them while this is taking place is a shock to the senses. The sound of the growling and fighting and the dominant roaring is genuinely something to behold.

We were lucky enough to find them in time where three of the seven lionesses managed to bring down a massive buffalo bull. It was a fantastic experience to see the whole hunt, from start to finish. Later on that day, we revisited the site where they had killed the buffalo, and the most precious unexpected sighting awaited us. For the first time, they had introduced the seven-week-old cubs (at the time) to the kill site. 

Fearless Avoca Males

The Avoca males are a strong, dominant and fierce coalition. They are always pushing their territory further and further afield, vocalising and marking as they go. “Mo-hawk”, as we call him due to the lack of mane in certain areas, is a powerful individual with his brother “Blondie” not far behind backing him up. Blondie does have a limp but, trust me when I say that he can move and move fast.

This coalition is powerful, but I fear that they may be pushing too far afield, biting off more than they can chew by ignoring and not sufficiently monitoring most parts of the northern territory. They are very focused on the Birmingham males in the southern region of the Sabi Sand Reserve, as they do pose direct competition to these two. 

Birmingham Boys

The Birmingham boys still have fight in them and must not be underestimated. The demise of the Avoca males or even one could drastically change the dynamics of the pride in the area with new males constantly looking to take over. 

Many people think lions are the kings of the jungle or, better yet, kings of the savannah. But, in my opinion, lions have one of the most challenging lives out in the African bush. The constant fighting for dominance and survival amongst each other is hard. I’ve seen healthy, strong, and dominant prides rise and fall very quickly due to the change in males or pride numbers getting too large. 

At this present time, the Nkuhuma pride and Avoca males lions are among the greatest, largest, and most powerful prides and coalitions in the Sabi Sand, but for how long? Only time will tell, and we all can’t wait to see what happens next!

See Silvan Safari’s Lion Prides in Real Life

Contact the Travel Experts at Rhino Africa to start planning your trip to Silvan Safari today!

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About the author 

Nigel Ridge

My passion and love for wildlife started from a young age. I was fortunate enough to have parents who took me to the bush every chance we got. I then pursued a career in nature conservation. During my practical year, I spent some time as a guide and fell in love with showing people animals for the first time and teaching them about this amazing place I live in. There is nothing better than an early sunrise, late afternoon sunset or staring up at the millions of stars with dead silence around you. Doing this is how I want to spend the rest of my life!

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