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James Tyrrell

Photographic Guide/Media Team

James had hardly touched a camera when he came to Londolozi, but his writing skills that complemented his Honours degree in Zoology meant that he was quickly snapped up by the Londolozi blog team. An environment rich in photographers helped him develop the ...

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26 Comments

on Lion Warfare: Matimba Male Arrives on Londolozi

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Blair S
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The Hairy Belly Matimba is a beast biggest male in Sabi Sands without a doubt his brother the Ginger Matimba is alsa a huge male but is abit smaller this is apparently the first time the have ever been south of the Sand River its looks like the Birminghams have pushed them out of the northern Sabi Sands

James Tyrrell
Photographic Guide/Media Team

Hi Blair,

He is indeed a massive lion!
As far as I know the two males have been seen scent-marking around the MM Main Camp, which is south of the river, but this is certainly the first time we’ve seen them on our side. Marthly seems a bit vacant now as far as male lions go, so these two may well push into Tsalala territory if the Birminghams keep applying pressure…

Oliver
Member
Guest

what a wonderful sighting, loved all the night sounds…

James Tyrrell
Photographic Guide/Media Team

Hi Oliver,
We were very, very lucky to see him. No tracking or following his roars, just bumped into him coming round a corner. Let’s hope we see a bit more of this coalition..

marinda drake
Member
Guest

Riveting stuff. Cant wait for the next update

Loretta Z
Member
Guest

What an incredible sighting. Reading your blog I feel like I am right there watching it all unfold. From what I hear, the Matimbas have 4 brothers in the Manyeleti. Do you think they will head that way instead? I am also wondering if this Matimba’s presence will bring the Majingilane males back for more than just a security check.

Rob
Member
Guest

As Blair said, the reason this guy is at Londolozi is because of the fact that the five Birmingham male lions came down from Manyeleti in early August and now have practically taken over the Matimbas’ territory around Djuma/ChitwaChitwa/Torchwood etc. It seems the two Matimbas prefer to run rather than confront the Birminghams. And yes, the Matimba you saw is named Hairy Belly and is without a doubt the most magnificent male lion with the largest mane in all of Sabi Sand. On another note, have you guys at Londolozi ever seen the Birmingham males on your property?

James Tyrrell
Photographic Guide/Media Team

Hi Rob,

They have been seen on our side, although not as a full coalition. The last time I know of for certain was on February 28th when two of them were tracked and found by Rob Hletswayo and Sean Creswell, a kilometre or so from the Marthly/Arathusa boundary. This was still when they were being chased by the Majingilane a lot. I can’t recall any official sightings of them since then.
James

Jo
Member
Guest

Wonderful blog! Matimbas are at a very difficult time now, but they are still great and powerful soldiers. Interesting to see their next move.
The Majingis do care about Londolozi, though they moved to the West for a long time. If they keep visiting Londolozi on occasion, they may buy the Tsalala sub-males some time to grow stronger. Wish you can locate them and enjoy their presence next time.

Jill Grady
Member
Guest

That is a huge Lion James! If the Matimbas are being pushed out by the Birminghams how big are they, that they don’t want to confront them?!! I know you use the spot pattern to identify the different Leopards but how do you identify Lions? Do you think the Majingilane would win if confronted by the Matimbas? A lot of questions I know, but I’m fascinated by the Lion dynamics. Thank you for sharing such a great viewing with us James and I loved the video!

Joyce
Member
Guest

The Birmingham’s are not as big as the Matimbas, Hairy Belly and Ginger, but there are 5 Birminghams and only 2 Matimbas. The numbers alone is why the Matimbas have gone South, and now West from Djuma area. There is also the dynamics of the Matimbas staying with the Styx pride since one of their lioness’ was killed by a Birmingham back in August. Just the day before the Birminghams came onto Djuma Hairy Belly was seen mating with a Styx lioness, and he is also the sire of the one remaining cub. The other two were killed by a Birmingham lion just days later.

Jill Grady
Member
Guest

Thanks for the additional information Joyce. It will be interesting to see what happens next!

Jenifer Westphal
Member
Guest

Wow! I agree – your video and blog made me feel like I was there – I felt the excitement of jumping in the truck, tracking in the dark, and then finding this magnificent lion! All of my favorite things to do when at Londoz. Thank you for sharing!

Arden Zalman
Member
Guest

Your eloquent description of your adventure increased my heart rate a bit. Always fun & games in the bush. Thank you.

MJ
Member
Guest

Wow, how fortunate for you to have seen Matimba Hairy Belly.. We will miss seeing him on WildEarth Safari Drive on Djuma & Arathusa. I think these boys are smart moving away and not taking on the 5 B-boys. Hope they stay safe and give you many wonderful visits with them.

Ann Seagle
Member
Guest

Great blog. Loved it. Thanks so much. Ann Seagle

S.w. Tsang
Member
Guest

how exciting ! good thing the other males were not around. hate to see any fight between lions or leopards. no good ending.

Blair S
Member
Guest

Are the reports I have heard of Matimbas chasing the Majingis on Londolozi accurate?

James Tyrrell
Photographic Guide/Media Team

Hi Blair,
Not that I have heard.
I’ll investigate, but that report is false as far as I know.
James

Blair S
Member
Guest

Thanks James figured they were.

Ghille
Member
Guest

I do not blame the Matimbas for leaving…the Birmingham Boys are just too much for them to handle. Hairy and Ginger should give you many wonderful views! You will recognize Ginger because he has a poorly healed injury to his front foot! It happened way back in January and never quite healed smoothly..he sometimes still limps a bit on that foot.

Kevin
Member
Guest

Hi James,
thanks for this update, i always read that the Matimba was a coalition of 6 Lions, I now read on your post that there is only 2 of them did i miss something 🙁
Can you please update us on this one.
Thanks to share your amazing work with us
Kevin

James Tyrrell
Photographic Guide/Media Team

Hi Kevin,

You are correct in thinking the Matimbas are a coalition of six. However, as does regularly happen with big coalitions, they have split up. Only two of them are resident in the Sabi Sands while the other four stay north of us. I believe the northern Matimbas are a 3-1 split, with the single male staying with a pride in the Kruger, but I could well be mistaken.

Hope that helps.

Kevin
Member
Guest

Hi James,
Thanks for this insight.
For those following the Londolozi Blog, this will remind us of the Big Mapogos boys, they too split up in 2-4, and we all know the ending story. Do you know, or is it possible to know, whether Ginger and Hairy are the younger ones in this coalition of 6? We’ve been waiting for the Matimba to be here for more than 3 years … I think they already passed their prime but looking forward to see these great boys grace Londolozi.
Kevin from Mauritius

James Tyrrell
Photographic Guide/Media Team

Kevin I’m afraid I am not sure of the respective ages of the various males in the coalition. I believe they fist showed up in the Manyeleti Reserve in late 2010, but don’t know too much more. Perhaps one of the lodges from the north might have some more info.
James

Christian Santiago
Member
Guest

Hi James,

I have only recently found out about the Mapogos, and after knowing about them I simply wanted to find out more specially about the fate of all the Sabi Sand lions.
Its sad that i didnt learn about the Mapogos when they were at their prime but even if they are gone now, im drawn to the events that are currently unfolding in the Sabi Sands.
I appreciate the effort that all of you put in following all of these lions and most importantly, not interfering in the events that happen even if it is a favorite lion being killed or injured or dying of hunger. Thanks again and hope to read more updates.

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