As many of our guests know, the lion sightings at Motswari is truly phenomenal. We have several different prides roaming the area from the resident Western pride, who has recently decided to take refuge at Ingwelala, the Vuyela males that have come in from the South, the Mayambula super pride that wonders in from time to time, the Birmingham breakaway boys, and most recent and probably most exciting, the white male of the Timbavati known as Xakubasa.
The Timbavati Private Nature Reserve is well known for the legendary white lions that originated here many years ago and remains the only reserve in the world (as far as we know) where wild white lions occur regularly and naturally. The white gene in lions is a recessive gene – this means that it only expresses itself if the gene is inherited from both parents.
The young male, Xakubasa, is roughly 4 years of age and is one of only four white lions in the wild. A few weeks back this male’s sister gave birth to a white lion cub, putting the total at four. Needless to say, this is a very special sighting to come across. Even with the high carrier rate of the white gene within the lion population, this recessive gene will never become the dominant colour for wild lions.
Apart from the obvious differences between tawny and white lions, there are subtle and interesting physical differences amongst the white lions themselves. Some have blue eyes, pink lips, noses and pads, others have brown eyes, black lips, noses and pads.
Read more on the white lions of the Timbavati here - https://timbavati.co.za/white-lions/ or pick up the informative book “The White Lions of Timbavati” written by Chris McBride.