The abundance of grass and browsing trees in the central-eastern region sustains the park’s biggest herds of impala, buffalo, giraffe, kudu, wildebeest, zebra, waterbuck and sable … and consequently nearly half the park’s lion population.
It is estimated that about 60 lion prides occupy home ranges there, with an average pride size of 12 cats. This high density has major consequences for competing predators. Although hyenas are able to hold their own, only about 60 cheetahs have been identified in the region, despite the fact that their favourite prey is abundant and the open savanna is ideal for hunting.
The same applies to wild dogs. The area around Satara provides arguably your best chance of seeing lions. Stevenson-Hamilton said of lions: “There are bold and timid, excitable and placid, good-natured and irritable individuals among them. Being what they are.. . it is wise not to take anything for granted in respect of their possible conduct.”
By Justin Fox