Sabi Sabi’s Famous Lion

Michael Laubscher All Authors, Michael 14 Comments

Deep within the “Kruger’s” bushveld lies Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve which is in the Sabi Sands Wildtuin being especially well known for their leopard and lion sightings!

This is where I spent my last almost three years guiding which I loved due to the fact that there is an abundance of game and beautiful landscape.

When I was still a new guide at Sabi Sabi the lion dynamics were very unstable.

I saw many male lions come and go, because of this I saw the Southern Pride sadly lose many cubs due to the rapped rate of take overs by these males.

It was all very overwhelming. No one knew when this would end!

Until that one day when the Charelston males; two brothers, made an appearance on the property.

These two boys were in good shape “pretty boys”, no battle wounds. We did not know at the time that these were going to be the boys that brought stability along because they just kept coming and going.

For a few days we had no sign of any male lions, not even our resident males at the time. Reports we received from our neighbouring reserve were that the two Charelston males, one looking very beaten up, were feeding on a giraffe.

The day after the feast they enjoyed about a year ago, the two boys claimed Sabi Sabi as theirs and have not left since. The last time we saw these two boys they still had that “pretty boy” look, but NOW…


That “pretty boy” look came to an end for the one brother!

YES… His bottom right canine is hanging out of his mouth!

Immediately thoughts as to what had happened were flying around.

Some say that giraffe they pulled down kicked him in the face. No way, if a giraffe had to kick a lion anywhere in the head region, he would not have become the Famous Sabi Sabi lion. Why? A kick from a giraffe, to almost any animals head will result in death. If that massive hoof had to of hit his lower jaw, his whole jaw would of been hanging just like his tooth. Then they thought maybe the hoof only hit the tooth? If this happened is canine would of snapped off rather than get pulled straight out of the root.

Then the discussion of a massive fight between the two brothers erupted. Go and have a look at the next image and you tell me if there are any battle wounds on his brother?


This image, along with the first on the blog were taken on the same morning when these boys returned to the place they now call home after filling themselves up on giraffe steak.

So the answer to my previous question? NOPE! Not one recent wound.


That morning I sat and watched this, still to become famous lion walk past my vehicle numerous times to see if he had any injury to his legs or if he had a new limp of some sort. He was perfectly fine except for his tooth.

Who said male lions do not hunt? A big roll in a male lions life, is if the females are on the hunt but have targeted an animal a bit too large for them to pull down such as a very large male buffalo or a adult giraffe, if he is willing or hungry enough, he will help them pull it down, if not, a meal is lost.

When lions hunt, may it be female may it be males, each have a roll to take on. What I believed happened to this boy and his “pretty boy” brother the night they decided to pull down a fully grown male giraffe, is that the male with the now hanging tooth had the roll of jumping onto the giraffes hindquarters, clinging on with not only his sharp claws but with his canines assisted by his powerful jaw. His brother would of been the one either trying to tackle the giraffes legs or get up onto its back and try and pull its neck down to make the giraffe fall down. Exactly how that giraffe fell down, no one knows. I believe with that male lion hanging onto that back of the giraffe, holding on with everything it has, the giraffe continuously kicking the lion could not hold on anymore. Slowly losing grip with his claws, the last anchor point was his lower right canine. I think with that swaying motion and only gripping with his canines deep in the giraffes flesh ripped his tooth straight out.


He can now be called a true lion, the King! They say what does not kill you makes you stronger. If this boy could just tell us his story!


Even tough a weapon down, a knock to his self esteem, he still stands tall and proud.


The occasional brotherly love will never end. Stronger, the boy with one less tooth may be!


Side by side, the two brothers will always stand and fight together for what the have fought for.


Moving through the endless darkness that falls over Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve.

These boys I believe are the two that have brought some stability to Sabi Sabi, at least for now…

So why not come join me there to see if their legacy counties?

Looking forward to it!

Until then.


About the Author

Michael Laubscher


Haunted by the allure of spectacular wildlife and African sunsets. I am a hunter-gatherer of natural light and candid moments, an appetite whet with a taste of the unknown and the smell of home; “This Is Africa”! I look forward to sharing life long experiences with you and helping you capture them. Please feel free to go check out my Instagram account

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Comments 14

  1. Pingback: Sabi Sabi’s famous lion - Africa Freak

  2. Claire

    I’m so glad I came across this. We were at Sabi Sabi in April and we watches this male lion a number of times. My husband and I were fascinated by his tooth. Amazing.

  3. Chetan Jain

    wow … nice write up .. loved the snaps .. esp the penultimate one in this post with the brothers against the vehicle lights !

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  4. Kathryne Anne Pusch

    Wow!! Great post. We just came back from safari in 3 locations, including SabiSands. I did not know this lion was “so famous.” Your action shots are awesome. Thanks for sharing your images and insights.

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  5. Julie K. McClaferty

    Great story Michael!!! Thanks for sharing that with us!!! I can’t wait until I can set up my safari with you guys and hopefully get a chance to see this pride in person!!! Until then, I’m enjoying all of you guys work/pics. Keep’em coming!!!


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      Michael Laubscher

      Hello Julie!

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read it and the kind words. Really appreciate it!

      We cannot wait to help you get here and create endless memories!

      A massive thanks from myself and the rest of the Wild Eye team for the following and engagement!

      They will keep coming! Thats a promise!

  6. Julie K. McClaferty

    That’s AWESOME!!! Believe me, I think y’all are probably my most favorite group out there and plan on referring any and everyone to you guys!!! I look forward to more blog posts, podcasts, snaps, and pics!!!

    Have a great one and be careful out there on that 🏍!!!


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  7. Shannon M Gracia

    What an intriguing story! The pictures are amazing and certainly answers the questions from Gerry’s photo post. Everyone’s pictures are amazing!

    I never realized that 2 male brothers actually stayed together. Do they share the pride? Learned something new after that read. I’m going to fulfill my dream of going on several safaris hopefully in the next year or two. I have one daughter in college now and one going next year so… I’m planning!

    Again, thank you all for your amazing work and everything you do to keep us who love the wildlife continuously wanting more. 👍🏻🐆🦁🐃🦍🦏🐘📹📷💕💕💕😊👏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

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      Michael Laubscher

      Hello Shannon.

      Thank you for taking the time to read the blog and for the kind words.

      Yes brothers usually stay together and work together in fighting for a territory and then protecting it and everything within it. This includes a pride or several prides. Unrelated males also form a coalition to be more successful but there will always be a dominance between them, and between blood brothers in fact.

      Like Gerry mentioned we look forward to one day welcoming you on a Wild Eye safari!

      Happy planning!

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