In a clash unseen by Londolozi eyes, a lioness from the Sparta pride was killed by the six Mhangeni breakaway lionesses a few days ago.

With this new pride encroaching into areas previously controlled by other lions, most notably the Sparta and Tsalala prides, a clash of some sorts was inevitable, especially since both the aforementioned prides are currently raising cubs, making them far more aggressive should they encounter a threat of any sort.

With powerful animals like lions, a clash will often come down to a numbers game, and in a six-on-three, as it would have been in a Mhangeni Breakaway vs Sparta encounter, it was very likely the larger pride (Mhangeni Breakaway) would come out on top.

The lioness was a powerful hunter, which I guess goes without saying. Here she guards a wildebeest kill from circling vultures.

As far as we know the fight was witnessed by the guiding team from Umkumbe Camp, which lies to the South East of Londolozi. The Sparta lioness may well have been able to run away, but since she has two 14-month old cubs to protect, if they were with her then retreat would not really have been an option; we can only imagine that she stood her ground in order to defend her litter.
It was the death of her, and although such apparent self-sacrifice is seemingly noble, her two cubs still have a long way to go before their chances of survival even come close to knocking on the door of even.
With the Matshipiri males spending the bulk of their time with the Mhangeni Breakaways (possibly a major contributing factor in the clash), the future remains uncertain for the two remaining Sparta lionesses.

Having seen how many times the Tsalala pride have teetered on the brink of disaster so many times over the years, it is by no means a death-blow for the Sparta pride to be down to just two lionesses. Other prides have survived through harder times, only to rise again.

The death of this female is simply the opening of another chapter in the saga of this iconic pride, who have been viewed on Londolozi since the very first safari took place here, over forty years ago!

Filed under Lions Wildlife

About the Author

James Tyrrell

Photographic Guide/Media Team

James had hardly touched a camera when he came to Londolozi, but his writing skills were well developed, and he was quickly snapped up by the Londolozi blog team as a result. An environment rich in photographers helped him develop the photographic skills ...

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on Sparta Lioness Has Been Killed

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Wendy Hawkins

Oh James this is sad news! I know its a “natural” death, but it is still felt by us your viewers & you the guides! RIP beloved Lioness :'(


how sad . every single lion or loss of one is important . and in this case she left 2 cubs behind.

Jill Larone

That is very sad news, James. I am so sorry for the loss of this beautiful, brave Lioness. Were her cubs injured, and will the other two Lionesses in the pride look after her two cubs now?

Martina Welch

Yes this is very sad news indeed. I keep my fingers crossed for the future of her cubs.


I believe there was a video on Lions of Sabi Sand. I chose not to watch. Sad news.


Such very sad news and those poor cubs. As other pride members suckle other cubs, maybe the remaining ladies will ensure the survival of these two. I realize that this is nature, but a very sad ending for a brave and beautiful lioness. RIP.

Mike D

Very sad as so many of us that follow these great lions through the blog have grown attached the the many prides and lions of londololozi. There is nothing more encouraging than seeing i girls small prides grow into large prides. The untimely death of a mature mother and pride leader is very disheartening but that is the life of wild lions. She died in the wild fighting tooth and claw which is much better than death at the hands of men. Please keep us updated on her pride and Cubs.


Another amazing lion lost 🙁 RIP


The other two lionesses really have to look after the cubs, then they’ll have a chance of survival!


There is no hope on the sparta pride , so what happened to the two cubs ?

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