Ongoing Lion Drama in the Busanga Plains


Isaac Kalio


Shumba guide, and Kafue Olympus ambassador, Isaac Kalio reports on the latest lion situation from a phenomenally productive early-season Busanga Plains…

It’s some six weeks or so into the season, and the Busanga Plains are just getting more and more exciting, with tension between the members of the resident Papyrus Pride and the new nomadic males still high.

These new males (Scarface and Nervous), whom we thought were just passers-by, have come to stay, and seem to have hooked up with Princess and Maggie (the young females of the pride). Queen, the alpha female of the pride, is not on the favourites list of these new males however, and they have been seen fighting with her several times. Not only that, Machine’s twins, the newly-named Castor and Pollux, were also recently seen being chased by the nomads and losing their buffalo kill.

The Machine has attempted to stay away from this trouble as she has two cubs plus an adopted cub (a sister) from her mother, Queen. Having been away for a long time, Queen recently reunited with Machine, but has abandoned her own cub as she is nursing a lot of wounds, and age seems to be catching up with her.

The good news is that our lions have turned into buffalo killers, preying on four within a month, while both lechwe and puku adults and calves have been hunted in broad daylight.

We have seen hunts in every kind of Busanga terrain, with these lions showing serious skills as swamp lions through their prowess of hunting in water.

In addition to all the lion action, the Busanga Plains have delivered the most exciting safaris, with misty mornings providing a magical backdrop to a variety of game ranging from amazing avian species to small oribi to the largest terrestrial animal, the African elephant.

Shumba’s resident buffalo, Oliver and Henry, still roam the camp surrounds, standing their ground against the most intense pressure from the lions. Our boat safaris offer phenomenal interactions with the hippos, something we believe is truly life-changing, as you will never see hippos in the same light, ever again!

Many of our guests ask how our lion names have come about, and this is our explanation…

Killing Machine – named for her strength and efficiency as a hunter

Maggie – a typical girl’s name given by a former guest

Princess – so named after her siblings were killed by hyaena and we discovered that she was a female

Castor and Pollux – in addition to being the twins of Gemini, they are named after the twin boys of Taiwanese guests who offered the names

Scarface – named for the scar on his face

Nervous – as the name suggests, he was named for his nervous behaviour

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