Stories from the western part of the Sabi Sand Game Reserve are traveling on the winds. The winds of change. It sounds like there is an epic tale unfolding. A tale that, although not currently occurring on Londolozi soil, will undoubtably have a influence on the lion dynamics closer to home.

From the sounds of it the four Southern Males have started to make their move on the three remaining Mapogo Males. Those of you familiar with the story of lion warfare, that has been unfolding since mid 2010, will be aware of the intriguing movements and encounters that have played out. Coalitions of males have been occupying every square inch of real estate in this magnificent wilderness. It appears as if the catalyst may have been a female…one of the members of the Castleton/Ximhungwe Pride has been on heat and the males from both coalitions have been drawn in; both sets of males keen to sire a litter.

A couple of nights ago they had a run in with each other. I have battled to get clarity on actual events but the outcome appears to be that one of the Mapogo Males was injured in the conflict. It is also rumoured that the Southern Males left the scene roaring deep into the night; scent marking in the middle of Mapogo territory. The Mapogo dynasty has been so dominant in this area for a very long time; but all good things eventually come to an end.

Here you can see the injuries to one of the Mapogo Males. Many refer to this male as Bent-Spine or Pretty Boy. This photo was taken by Khimbini Hlongwane from Inyathi Game Lodge

More wounds on the Mapgo Male inflicted by the fight with the Southern Males - photograph by Khimbini Hlongwane from Inyathi Game Lodge

I still feel, however, that the Mapogo Males have much to offer and it may still be some time until we see their reign comes to an end. This may,however, be the start of the inevitable. The Southern Males have grown into incredible males; handsome and strong. They have been cornered into a difficult spot. To the south they have the magnificent Kruger Males, to their north they have the six Matimba Males, to the east the killer Majingilanes and to their west the three Mapogo. The weakness, if that is the right word, will be in the aging Mapogo trio.

It may well come down to a bit of a numbers game: 4 young aspiring males taking on 3 older experienced males.

This whole ordeal reminds me of the incident back in June 2011 when the Southern Males, numbering five at the time, made their move on the Majingilane Males too soon. The result was the death of one of the younger males. Who knows how costly the loss of that fifth member may prove to be in the next few weeks?

I will keep you posted as we learn more on this new development and as to how this change may impact the beloved Lions of Londolozi.

Written by Adam Bannister
Photos taken by Khimbini Hlongwane from Inyathi Game Lodge

Filed under Wildlife

About the Author

Adam Bannister


Ranger at Londolozi Game Reserve

More stories by Adam


on Lion Warfare: Mapogo vs. Southern Males
    Syl says:

    Great blog Adam…you know I’m following it all.

    Migs Murray says:

    Just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy these posts. I have been lucky enough to have visited several African countries and, of course, fell in love with the wildlife. I probably will never be back and I miss it so your tales of these individuals, their daily struggles and the flow of the natural way keep it alive for me. So thank you and bless you…you bring me happiness. ^_^

    Glad to hear this Migs…keep reading and enjoy!

    Devin says:

    So there are 3 Mapogos left – Makulu, Mr. T, & Bent Spine. Kinky Tail died in a fight w/ the Majingilanes. What were the names of the other 2 Mapogos?

    Iren says:

    Devin, …. Mapogos Rasta and Dreadlocks πŸ™‚

    Eliottb says:

    Dreadlock and rasta are the same male…. The last mapogo is SCAR

    Jody says:

    WOW Adam, incredible. The intensity of the lion doings in Sabi Sands never ceases to amaze me and make me a bit sad. Thanks for the updates and keep ’em coming. Big changes sound like they are in the works.

    Linda says:

    we are all watching and waiting very anxiously. thanks for the writeup. and great photos by Khimbini!

    Francis says:

    Thank u, Adam for the updatE. I still feel their best chance is to try to take over their natal pride n face the KNP males? What do u make of the two nkuhuma males roaring n claiming some territory up north? I’m still a bit surprised that the Majingilanes have not confronted as of yet. Perhaps it’s only time will tell how things unfold. Thank u once again.

    dean says:

    intreasting times ahead

    Vin says:

    Thanks Adam for this news! I have been longing to hear from you guys regarding this, this is what I appreciate every time I look this website and even when I backread, awesome writing as if reading a novel wherein a great story is unfolding. Thanks guys, this is one of the things in my bucket list, to be able to come there one day and had millions of pictures in the wild. πŸ™‚

    Francis says:
    I had no idea this was on YouTube now. Death of kinky tail

    christine mans says:


    Morty says:

    Adam, are you able to give an assessment on the injuries seen in these photos? Will this lion recover?

    Tony says:

    yes morty he should recover. Accoriding to kimbini, he is the guy who took pics, he is recovering. The mapogos have not moved around much in the last week to give him a chance to heal. He is starting to walk around more. And everybody knows how reseliant lions are.

    Adam Bannister says:

    Apparently he is doing well. I have heard via sources in the west of the Sabi Sand that he should be fine!

    anthony says:

    Report’s were he was healing very well. All looks good for Pretty Boy.

    Kk says:

    How old are these guys now?

    renegan says:

    What do u make of the two nkuhuma males roaring n claiming some territory up north?

    Adam Bannister says:

    I have seen the Nkahuma males twice so can’t comment too much. I am amazed though that they are going to try make a living here in the Sabi Sand. As a coalition of two young males they are very underpowered I feel. Good luck to them!

    Francis says:

    And one of them have a bad a limp. They’re playing with fire between the matimba n the Majingilanes territory

    MR T says:


    anthony says:

    Take a look at the new video of one of the former Kings of Mapogo. This is new footage that is set to come out March 27th I believe. Majing males killing Kinky and Mr. T coming to try and help. Sad to watch

    Keith Cox says:

    Thanks for the info Adam it sure sound like things are hotting up in the lion terratories ,its not all sweetness and light being a male lion ,maybe we are seeing the the begining of the end of the Mapogos but with large coalitions all around it could get like all out war,a thing which the lionesses of the various prides could do with out ,thanks again . Keith

    John Pearse says:

    I was there at the time. Mapogo (often called Satan) advanced on the 4 young Southern lions in battle formation. When the 4 continued their advance, Mapogo’s 2 brothers peeled off and dashed away. Mapogo continued into battle on his own. two distracted him from the front while two moved in from the sides. In the first battle they broke his back / spine and severely injured him. The 5 of them settled down and they basically ignored him while he could not struggle to his feet and they waited while he lost strength. Then they got up at leisure, moved into battle positions and once again savaged his lower back, roles him over and emasculated him and contemptuously left him to die. He died a few hours later.
    His two brothers were last seen heading at speed in the direction of Londolosi and are not likely to return.

    Ingemar de Vera says:

    I’ve recently been interested in the Mapogos, especially the late Kinky Tail and his brother, the infamous Mr. T. Do you have the full video of the fight? I only saw the 2nd part of the fight. The two brothers lived and died by the sword. Almost 2 years ago, Kinky Tail also charged the 4 invading Majingees before he was devoured. I hope some of their litter lived on to carry on the genes. Awesome magnificent lions!

    what happen to their pride says:

    what happen to their cubs did the 4 young male killed them?!?!

    Cordelia says:

    For updated info just go to facebook and type in the pride names in the search box and there are all different FB pages on each of these lions/groups. Many links as well to different blogs as well. Hope this helps!

    Tim says:

    I enjoy following the story of the mapogos,majingilane,kruger males,matimba males and southern males.The most dominant or powerful force in these coalition seems to be the majingilanes whom i like followed by the mapogo whose reign seems to be coming to an end.Keep me posted on all the latest.Great job.

    Rich Laburn says:

    The Majingilane are at the moment the most formidable coalition in the central Sabi Sands, however the reign could end at any stage when a new coalition of stronger males competes with them.

    Damien says:

    Is there any coalition present or developing now that might be the Majingilane’s competitors?

    AA says:

    Each in their prime, there is no coalition in the sabi (the coalitions you have mentioned) that can hold a candle to the Mapogo. The Mapogo were the strongest coalition of the Sabi and comparing each coalition in their prime, the Mapogo still come out on top and by a large margin.

    Tim says:

    Hallo?I follow keenly on the events of the mapogo and am wondering are the remaining two mapogo males still alive,i.e pretty boy and makulu.Another question why is pretty boy also known as bent spine?

    ash says:

    if the matimbas cme in to it i hope the majingalane can hold them off

    denilson says:

    ola , sou um admirador e amante da vida selvagem, em especial leoes .
    eu queria saber se vai sair um documentario completo da vida dos leoes mapogos , do inicio ao fim ?

    denilson says:

    ola . sou do brasil . admirado e amante da vida dos grandes felinos em especial os leoes,
    queria saber se vai sair um documentario completos da vida dos leoes mapogos ,do inicio ao fim ? e sera que tem mas algum mapogo? o que aconteceu depois q a coalizao acabou com os leoes mr t e king tail?


Join the conversationLeave a reply below

Your email will be kept private.

Connect with Londolozi

Follow Us


Sign up for our newsletter

Send this to friend