We are incredibly excited to be welcoming &Beyond Ngala back to our screens on safariLIVE. For those of you who are new to watching WildEarth, &Beyond Ngala Private Game Reserve is a private concession inside the Kruger National Park in South Africa. For most of 2020 and part of 2021, we broadcast LIVE from there every day. As lockdown lifted here in South Africa, the tourists began to stream back into South Africa and we had to take a break from broadcasting on this reserve, due to a lack of resources. You can imagine our excitement that we are now able to restart from this incredible location again.
&Beyond Ngala is a 14,700 hectare (36,500 acres) Big Five private game reserve that shares unfenced borders with the Kruger National Park and the Timbavati Game Reserve. One of the most exciting things about broadcasting from Ngala Private Game Reserve to our viewers is that they have two of the world’s only three white lions known to be living in the wild.
You may have heard of the world-renowned white lions of Timbavati. They were first ‘officially’ discovered in 1938 (although local African elders have regaled tales of their existence for centuries) and this white gene pool is unique to the greater Timbavati and southern Kruger area (where &Beyond Ngala is situated). It is the only place in the world where white lions occur naturally. These famous white lions had long since disappeared from the area, seemingly never to return, until a few years ago.
In March of 2018 &Beyond guide, Lyle McCabe discovered a beautiful white lion cub on Ngala. This fragile new addition was one of four cubs born to the Birmingham female of the well-known Birmingham Pride. At the same time, another female within the pride had also given birth and astonishingly, within her litter of just three cubs, two were white.
Of course, many of you will remember the Birmingham Boys. In 2015 the Birmingham Boys moved into our Djuma area from the north pushing the dominant Matimba Males deep into the South. In doing so, they took over the protection of the Styx and Nkuhuma Pride of females. It was an incredibly turbulent time which resulted in many deaths of adult lions and cubs alike.
Statistically, only 50% of all lion cubs survive in their first year, and very sadly this prized trio of white lion cubs was killed in a dominance takeover staged by the Ross Males who are now the new leaders of the Birmingham Pride. However, they started mating with the pride immediately, and in November of 2018 a four cub litter was born, one of which was white. This feisty little male, who is now three years and three months old, was soon joined by a gorgeous white female who today is 2 years and 9 months old.
We look forward to seeing Ngala on our screens from Tuesday, the 7th of February on the sunset safari. We don’t want to fully spoil the surprise but the guide behind the wheel was one of the first Ngala guides who worked on WildEarth and has since spent some time in Djuma.