Waiting hours for a glimpse at a White Lion

White Lions are exceedingly rare and especially so in the wild. Several zoos, “safari parks” and circuses around the world house White Lions, but these are often horribly inbred. These lions are not albinos, instead being the result of a mating between two lions carrying a recessive gene for white (leucistic) fur instead of the usual tawny colouration. Naturally White Lions are only ever found, from time to time, in South Africa’s Lowveld, where the Kruger National Park and a few renowned private nature reserves are situated. As far as wild White Lions are concerned, at present, there are known to be two young white cubs in the same pride that roam around Orpen in western Kruger and the adjacent Timbavati reserve, and a single young male born to a pride near Satara and fairly wide-roaming since he and his brothers were ejected from their natal pride.

It is this latter individual that we came across on the 3rd of January 2020, the final full day of our Satara Summer. Having fairly often visited the Kruger National Park my entire life, it was always my, hitherto unfulfilled, wish to see a truly WILD White Lion, so you will appreciate just how excited we were at this opportunity! It was an exceedingly hot day, and on hot days lions are seldom very active. So we sat for hours in our vehicle in the blazing sun, waiting, hoping, that he might get up, and move around just a little, so that we can get more than just a glimpse. He obliged, for a minute or two only, to move from the large tree where he was lying with his three brothers to a smaller shrub a few meters away. That was it. He didn’t move again until we had to leave to get back to camp before the gates closed. But we were thrilled and grateful for the chance to see such an enigmatic animal.

26 thoughts on “Waiting hours for a glimpse at a White Lion

    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      I’m very glad that he’s got three strong brothers with him, as life can be very tough for a lone disperser. These four are often seen feeding on buffalo and giraffe, so they have their act together and will hopefully one day rule over a sizable pride.

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        1. de Wets Wild Post author

          It is not unheard of in Kruger, Carol – we once encountered a group of 5 huge males with their lionesses near Biyamiti, and I’ve seen photos of a coalition of 6 males from the Crocodile Bridge area!

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Blessed we are indeed, thanks AJ.
      YouTube channel? Nope! Joubert likes being outdoors much more than being in front of a computer. πŸ™‚
      Only one of the three tawny males are from the same litter as the White male, the other two with the more impressive manes are half-brothers, at least 6 months older than him. Soon he’s going to sport a very impressive mane and I hope we’ll see him again then!

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      1. aj vosse

        OK… thanks for explaining the difference! Would love to see his future hairstyle!
        Tell you what … as I’ve said before… Joubert is gonna be a big wildlife photographer… it runs in the family! The thing is… if he begins doing video early and sharing them on social media he will have a massive head-start over his peers!
        So… why not put himself through uni with his YouTube earnings? πŸ€”πŸ˜ƒ Dit sal baie ligter wees op pa en ma se sakke!! 🀣🀣

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