The lion dynamics at Londolozi continue to be intriguing.  Every morning the ranging team heads out into the bush hoping to link another piece of the jigsaw puzzle together.  Quite simply the fact that there is no fence between the Sabi Sands Game Reserve and the Kruger National Park makes for a natural ecosystem, natural movements of nomadic lions and a constant shifting of territories. It has the makings of the very complicated soap opera…

A brief timeline of events over the last month or so:

12 August
2 of the 4 Magijilane Coalition came south onto Marthly and managed to kill not one but two buffalo within a stonesthrow of Ximpalapala Koppie. They ventured between these two kills scaring off the hoards of vultures that collected over the three days. When only the skeletons remained they headed back north.

16 August
One of the young males from the Tsalala pride was seen alone looking very sorry for himself and very skinny.  He had wandered north into the area in which he had been born, constantly contact calling he was obviously trying to reconnect with his pride.

18 August
After a long absence from Londolozi the Tsalala Pride where tracked from Taylors Crossing all the way to the Manghen drainage line where they had managed to kill an adult zebra.  When they found the pride in the morning it consisted of 3 adults and 5 youngsters…the missing male must have been the unhappy looking individual seen two days prior. Upon returning to the zebra kill that evening I was delighted to see that the young male had managed to re-join the pride. Still looking a little worse for wear he ate as much as possible to try regain some strength.

21 August
The Tsalala pride were back to their best, enjoying spending time on their original homeland they now managed to bring down a buffalo in the open areas of Londolozi.

22 August
3 Members of the Magijilane Coalition were found eating a very large buffalo about 500m south of our northern boundary. They were to feed on this meat for 2 days before moving off back north. In their absence not only did the vultures move in but so did two of the Nyelethi Leopard Youngsters who were seen feeding on the carcass on the third day.  By the 4th day there was still some meat left and we were amazed to find the much-debated Golf Course Male scavenging. His characteristic heavy limp, damaged eye, scar on the nose, receding mane and scar on back left hip gives him away. It is amazing to see how this males mane has thinned out to nearly nothing in the last three months.

24 August
The entire Tsalala pride (9) was seen very close to camp. That night we sat with them as the 2 adult females left the Tailless Female to look after the remaining 6 youngsters to try their luck at hunting. After an unsuccessful night we managed to relocate them as they had regrouped and were slowly moving back west past Taylors Crossing.  I find it intriguing that after months of not being at Londolozi they are now feeling the need to come back to their natal area. Is it because they think things are settling down on the eastern front with the new Magijilane coalition, or is it that things are becoming very unsettled in the west with the remaining Mapogo?

29 August
After a morning of tracking we found a very well fed Tsalala pride on our northern break…nearby we had tracks of the Magijilanes.

30 August
Lots of roaring and noise was heard during the night so the rangers went out to find what had happened.  We found one Magijilane male mating with one Tsalala adult lioness; following this were the remaining three males.  By that evening one of the males had managed to find the other Tsalala lioness and had begun mating with her.  This left two Magijilane males to themselves.  So what did they do?  They went and stole a buffalo from the Sparta Pride and then proceeded to put on a massive vocal display as they summoned not only their brothers but their mating partners.  They continued to change partners and lots of mating, feeding and roaring continued over the next few days.

4 September
The 4 Magijilane Coalition Males were found sleeping in the north in Marthly.

Majingilane Male Lion

Majingilane Male Lion

So now the Magijilanes have mated with the two 8 year old lionesses from the Tsalala pride.  We have not seen the Tailless Female or the 6 youngsters for nearly a week.  Is it possible that the two lionesses could see trouble brewing with the Magijilanes and so decided to buy time by mating with them, allowing the Tailless Female time to lead her precious young and inexperienced pride away from trouble?
We will wait to see what happens in 3 months time (The approximate gestation period for lionesses).

This story of the Tsalala Females and Majingilane males reminds me of what happened earlier this year when two adult lionesses from the Sparta Pride intercepted the Mapogo Males (Satan and Kinky Tail) to mate with them and stall them whilst the Sparta Pride, including the Tsalala Young Male, made a desperate run for the west.  The result was three little cubs born into a turbulent time.  Interestingly we have now seen, within the last 2 weeks, the breakaway Sparta Lionesses trying to reintegrate their new cubs into the core of the Sparta Pride. We think this process may take time as the initial introduction of the fatherless cubs to the remaining pride members was received with mixed emotions, some licking and a fair amount of growling, snarling and even physical fighting…but the cubs are alive and doing very well. We often encounter them and hope that they will play a role in the Sparta Pride. The prospect of a pride of 14 is very tantalizing.

Let us know your thoughts to the questions posed above.  As the nature of wildlife is never absolute, every opinion and rebuttal is interesting to discuss.  To catch up on the rest of the Lion Warfare Series you can follow these links.

Lion Warfare – An Update

Lion Warfare – An Update Part 2

Lion Warfare – An Update Part 3

Lion Warfare – An Update Part 4

And so it goes on, the story continues…

Written by: Adam Bannister

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Filed under Wildlife

About the Author

Rich Laburn

Head of Digital

Rich is the driving force behind Londolozi’s online storytelling and the Londolozi blog. His passions of digital media, film and photography, combined with his field-guiding background, have seen him take the Londolozi blog to new heights since he began it in 2009. Rich ...

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on Lion Warfare – An Update Part 5

Join the conversationJoin the conversation

Sheila Patel

Many thanks for the update! It is good to keep up with what is going on!

Penny Parker

Nothing makes me more excited than hearing updates about the amazing game in the region. Keep it up. Awesome blog.


Wow Penny, I think you could be even more excited than me about game viewing in the Kruger Park and Sabi Sands region! Glad you are enjoying it and following on our blog. I will be sure to keep it up. Thanks for commenting, looking forward to many more. Rich


HeY Rich

Good read. Any updates from other rangers and lodges in the West about ze Mapogo? The balance of power sure seems to be shifting in favor of the Majingilanes by the look and read of things. Keep it coming buddeh…



There was a video out about one of the Mapogos who had made a kill. I am not sure which Mapogo it was though. The balance of power will ebb and flow until it reaches a tipping point. If the Mapogos are content with the amount of females and prides in the west they will remain there, however if not then there will more than likely be conflict. The Majingilanes certainly aren’t wasting any time though!


What about Mr.T and the other Mapogo who was wounded recently? There is some video out of the old Mapogo and he does look like he’s ageing. Is the Dreadlocks Mapogo still around? It must feel like they are weakening with age. Clearly all have patrolled, fought and killed for so many years, its caught up now with age. I’m still trying to find images of all six, there are some good ones with five and four present respectively.

Hopefully, they have left their genes in the generations of young male cubs who will come together in the future for a gathering of magnificence (and violence).


HI Al,

I must admit that I can only really provide information on the Mapogos based on what other lodges in the Sabi Sands are telling. None of these lions have been seen on Londolozi as of late and still reside in the west of the Sabi Sands Game Reserve. I do agree that they have been around for a long time and have fought many battles….though you must never forget that age and experience is sometimes far more valuable than inexperienced might. If you haven’t already read this post, you might find it interesting: Did you ever visit the facebook page of the Mapogos? If not then try here: you should be able to find an image of all six.

There will definitely be a legacy of Mapogo genes in the lions of the Sabi sands both in the females and the young males who are growing up. Whether or not they survive, let along come together in a ‘gathering of magnificence (and violence)’ is debatable. The genes are spread widely and as such you might actually find different Mapogo offpsring battling each other in the future. I have put together a link list on the Mapogos for you and everyone else to take a look at below. Keep the questions coming and I will answer them as best I can.


Mapogo Research Links:

Londolozi Blog:

Other sites:


Thanks again bud,

I’ve read all those links and checked up almost every site that has the word ‘Mapogo’ in it. Many great reads about the assuming of power in the early years. I’ve also researched much into the lions of East Africa, the frightening man-eating problems there and Trophy Hunting which I’m heavily mixed about.

Many great articles written by Dr. Rolf Baldus and an American journalist Robert R Frump and the acute and deadly lions of Tanzania. Chilling stuff into the intelligence and cunning of man-eaters that sets them apart from lions elsewhere. A book by the latter “The Man-Eaters of Eden: Life and Death in the Kruger National Park”. Do let me know of your experiences or opinions with “rogue” lions.


Marinda Drake

It is so nice to read these old blogs and catch up with the lion dynamics. It is sad to realize that ťhe Tsalala pride consisted of 9 and they are now down to 3 members.

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