Tanzania: Serenegeti NP – Black-maned Lion Family

Serengeti is a total lion overload – we consistently saw 20-30 per day. But this lion family was truly spectacular and special – a magnificently massive black-maned male lion, a large female, and three small adorable cubs. The male looked very impressive, with the darkest mane I’ve ever seen. Darker manes are indicative of a healthy lion with very high level of testosterone. Large manes are not only meant to attract females, but also to intimidate other lions. Black manes are perhaps the most telling status-symbol for lions (like a black Maserati for some humans or a passport with a lot of stamps for other humans). Lion manes darken with age and a thick dark mane indicates a well-fed lion in his prime. This lion paraded all around our car, occasionally casting an angry look, while the three cubs ran around and played with mom and dad. It was right after a rain so everything, including the lions themselves, was quite wet.