From all my guests that I take out on safari, one of the most asked questions I get is:
Would it be possible to see the one-eyed lion of Kapama?
There is no doubt that he is the most famous and an absolute icon – Our one-eyed Lion. However, it’s extremely difficult to answer this question.
He has the ability to hide, and only show himself whenever he feels like it. He used to be the King of Kapama, ruling his territory on the Reserve with an iron fist. Demanding respect at every turn. Unfortunately, as time went on he got older and by getting older he got weaker and slower. He is a father to many Lions on Kapama, but in one of his litters, there were three males. As the months passed by his 3 sons grew bigger and stronger. When they entered their prime they decided to form a collision.
A collision is when male’s Lions decide to work together. This makes them stronger as a unit. Then the day arrived when he couldn’t keep them in check anymore and they overpowered him. In a fight with his three male sons to try and keep his power over the territory, he lost his right eye in the battle of his life. Unfortunately, they were just too strong for him and he lost his title and was forced to move away far down the reserve keeping his distance from them.
These days he keeps to himself in the very south of the reserve. But when you are lucky to see him, you immediately get the sense of his power, even if he is an old male lion.
Walking down the road demanding respect, all his battle scares tells the epic tales of his life. His immediately recognisable and extremely dark mane states his dominance and you can’t help but feel his power, even still. He never shy’s away from photos, always giving us great opportunities to take the ultimate shot of him. In fact, sometimes I think he loves to have his photo taken and almost seems to pose for the camera.
On one afternoon we left Buffalo Camp for our game drive and we got extremely lucky. He spotted him walking down the road with such a sense of pride.
Now and then he would turn his head toward us and give us big yawns. There was one moment where he decided to roll around on the ground and as he rolled gave us a big smile. Oh, the wonderful and interesting stories he could tell….!
So coming back to the question: Is it possible to see him? Definitely yes, although it’s always a great challenge to find and to track him down. He is probably the most wanted animal to see on Kapama private game reserve, and rightfully so.
When you succeed in finding him the reward is well worth it! Long live our one-eyed king!
Story by Buffalo Camp Ranger Ben Scheepers