Lion Politics

A coalition of 2 male lions have been relocated to Manyoni! They were introduced to their new home at the end of September after a long trip from the Nkomazi Game Reserve. For the first 6 weeks, they stayed in a boma (a type of enclosure) to help them acclimatize to their new surroundings. The day came for them to be released on the 24th of October. Being in the wild, where things very seldom go as planned – the new lions were about to be free when the dominant male lion in the area arrived. Clearly the new boys will have to wait a little while longer. At first the encounter between the lions was aggressive. They growled and stared at each other. The typical lion threat posture was assumed by all 3 lions, and a standoff occurred! Slowly but surely the lions got closer and closer until they were separated by only a few meters and a fence. Eventually the aggression subsided a fair amount – and the single male even started to show signs of submission. Surprisingly the 3 lions then started to walk side by side along the fence, all the way around the boma. We eventually left the lions in peace, still sitting staring intently at each other.

The next day, the 2 new male lions were released without the presence of the old dominant male. Since their release they have been seen a number of times, and on one occasion they were mating with another female on the reserve! They seemed to have settled in very quickly.

It will be interesting to follow the struggle for dominance between the new lions and the old dominant male. The odds are stacked heavily for the side with the numbers advantage, but often politics in the wild go very differently than expected.

Walking Safaris

We are excited to announce that walking safaris are now an option at Mavela! Join our experienced trails guide Nico on an experience unlike anything else. Each walk will last around 3 hours and will give you the opportunity to experience wildlife in a unique way. Walking allows you to take in the wilderness at a slower pace, giving you the opportunity to study the details of the bush up close, and take in the traquility of nature. On a normal vehicle based safari, the pace of driving means that you inevitably miss the smaller aspects of the bush, but walking gives you the freedom to examine it closely. Of course there is also the thrill of coming into contact with one of the larger animals found on our reserve. Recently Nico was able too find a large White Rhino out on a walk. The guests were allowed to view this animal safely on foot from about 40 metres away!


Mavela Game Lodge Cheetahs

If its cheetah you are looking for, then there is no better place in South Africa than the Manyoni Private Game Reserve. We are so proud to have had the award for the highest cheetah population out of 58 meta-population reserves. Cheetah struggle in the wild – and it is no wonder when you size up their competition. Having to compete with lions, leopards and hyenas is no easy task, but the cheetahs around Mavela Game Lodge seem to have the challenge mastered. Its great news, as the cheetah has been classified as vulnerable by the IUCN while the global population was estimated at 7100 in 2016. The population is declining and they inhabit only 10% of their former range. Lets hope they continue to thrive at Mavela!


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Mavela Game Lodge is nestled in the heart of the magnificent Big 5 Manyoni Private Game Reserve, near Mkuze, in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. A unique all-inclusive luxury, safari-style tented bush lodge that affords both local and international travellers intimate encounters with the African bush.

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