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Africa Geographic
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Africa Geographic Travel
Black-maned lion in Tswalu Kalahari Private Game Reserve with game drive vehicle in background
© Barry Peiser

Written by Dylan Smith, Tswalu Conservation Manager 

The lions in the Kalahari, including Tswalu Kalahari Private Game Reserve, are known as black-maned lions. The Kalahari lions are known for their majestic size and beautiful manes, although they are actually the same species as other lions found across Africa. The contrast between their tawny coloured bodies and their black manes is striking and gives them a very regal look.

Here are 5 things you didn’t know about black-maned lions:

1. The darker the mane, the more attractive the male is to lionesses.

2. Male lions with darker manes tend to have higher levels of testosterone.

Black-maned lion drinking water in Tswalu Kalahari Private Game Reserve
© Kosie Lategan

3. Research has indicated that in populations where both dark and lighter-maned males occur, the darker-maned males have a higher chance of surviving injuries.

4. According to some evidence, cubs born to females sired by dark-maned males tend to have a higher chance of survival compared to their siblings from light-maned males.

Black-maned lion in Tswalu Kalahari Private Game Reserve
© Barry Peiser

5. Mane colour appears to be linked to the health of an individual – the darker the mane the healthier the individual.

Watch a video of lion cubs playing with dad, filmed by private guide Kosie Lategan




Travel with us
Tswalu Kalahari Private Game Reserve

The uniqueness of the safari experience at Tswalu is in the beauty of the 120,000 hectare southern Kalahari wilderness, restored to its original state as a result of an ongoing conservation programme. A variety of interactive safari experiences are offered to explore the malaria-free reserve with its wide open spaces, rolling savannah landscapes and Korranaberg mountains, and guests view game on foot, on horseback or in 4x4 game viewing vehicles. Expect sightings of some of Africa’s rarest and most extraordinary wildlife, including black-maned lions, African wild dogs and pangolin.