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LIONS - Nkorho & Elephant Plains Area

test_1's picture
LIONS - Nkorho & Elephant Plains Area

Karen in VA and Aquila wanted to share some bits of information/background on the lions in the area that we have picked up from various sites (Mala Mala, Londolozi, Djuma, Nkorho and Elephant Plains) and their sightings databases.

List of lion prides:

  • Mapogo Coalition
  • Tsalala Pride
  • Manyeleti Males (Young)
  • Roller Coaster Males
  • Split Rock Males
  • Styx Pride
  • Windmill Pride
  • Nkuhuma Pride

edited by the moderators to add :

This topic is only for information about the lions in the Nkorho and Elephant Plains area.

Questions and other info are welcome, anything off topic will be moved to another forum or deleted.


donnabac's picture

Hi Joe. That report was from

Hi Joe. That report was from March 2008, not recently.


Ingwe's picture

Joe14 wrote:I read this in

Joe14 wrote:

I read this in the Elephant Plains March ranger report and was wondering if anyone here knew anything more about it?


"Sad news unfortunately, is that they also crossed into Vuyatela and killed three lion cubs and one of the Kuhuma females."

Just to add for new members that might not know - the ranger report is talking about the Mapogos.

Thanks Joe.  I hope not. Sad

Joe14's picture

I read this in the Elephant

I read this in the Elephant Plains March ranger report and was wondering if anyone here knew anything more about it?


"Sad news unfortunately, is that they also crossed into Vuyatela and killed three lion cubs and one of the Kuhuma females."

Ingwe's picture

One of the females from the

One of the females from the Ximungwe pride showed off her cubs today.

Click here


Penny2's picture

Here is an update on the

Here is an update on the young Sand River male.

Apparently he was in a very bad state recently so was darted and taken to Skukuza for testing on a range of diseases. I don't know the results of these tests but the vet's opinion was that he was not in a bad enough state to be put down so was released back into the Sabi Sands.

Penny2's picture

Aquila wrote: In July 2007,

Aquila wrote:
In July 2007, the two Young Tsalala females were reported seen on Djuma. There were only four cubs with them and one adult female was limping. It is not known what became of the other two cubs. During the report month, two more cubs disappeared. It was reported by EP that two cubs were killed by the Mapogos.Before the end of 2007, only one female cub had survived. In September 2008, a ranger from Elephant Plains reported the last surviving sub-adult female, now over 2 years old, was dead. No information on how she met her demise was given but a report from Savanna says she had successfully joined the Ximungwe Pride of which the Tsalalas originated from. Let's hope the reports on her death were incorrect and she is indeed alive and well living with another pride.


In the above quote by Aquila, there is uncertainty on the fate of the sub-adult female. I have information on her which I quote below:

"Regarding the Tsalala young female - a young female did join the Ximungwe pride on the 12th June 2008. I am not sure if this coincides with the time Elephant Plains reported her dead, but it was generally accepted that she came from the Tsalala pride. They were the only pride that had a young female of that age. On the morning of the 12th , the Ximungwe pride were near Idube, with the young lioness not too far from them and there was some aggression towards her. This kept on for some time, on and off, as she persisted to join the pride. Eventually by the afternoon drive, they were all together and as they say, the rest is history."

MaddieJ4J's picture

Iceage wrote:Hi There,I got

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If you see someone without a smile today, give them one of yours! Live simply. Love seriously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God .

Iceage's picture

Hi There,I got an email from

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Aquila's picture

Mapogo Males/Eyrefield

Mapogo Males/Eyrefield Males/Sparta Males

Information/background on The Mapogo Male Coalition has been gathered from various sites ((Mala Mala, Londolozi, Djuma, Savanna, Nkorho, Elephant Plains, Singita, Exeter, Arathusa, Ulusaba, Wildwatch) and their sightings databases along with some very helpful people answering questions sent their way.

We hope you find this info as interesting as we have.

Mapogo Coalition - 6 Male Lions also known as the Eyrefield Males, the Sparta Males and in some regions the “Cannibals“ They were named Mapogo after a security company that utilizes rather harsh methods in dealing with offenders. We’ve found several different meanings for Mapogo. Ulusaba refers to it as meaning “Vigilantes“ and Savanna Lodge refers to the Mapogo name being a Zulu word meaning “Rogues”. What ever the meaning, they are Bad News!

Pride they Originated From: Eyrefield Pride aka Sparta Pride This pride still exists and consists of 3 adult females and 9 cubs. Two of the remaining Eyrefield pride lionesses are siblings of the Mapogos and the third and oldest lioness may very well be the Mother to some of them. The dominant male of this Pride today is the one remaining Roller Coaster/Shaw/Castleton Male.

Sired by: A Coalition of 5 Male Lions known as The West Street Males aka The Sparta Males. (Note: There is a twist to this story that we will share a little later.) These males took over the Eyrefield/Sparta pride from the Manyeleti males in 1998. They were approximately 8 yrs of age at the time and successfully raised many cubs to adulthood during their reign. The last of this coalition died in 2004 at the approximate age of 14 years or even older (some reports indicated the last two were plus/minus 16 yrs in 2003 when two of the original four Marthly/Split Rock/Robson males moved in).

The Oldest Mapogo Male is said to be unrelated to the other 5. The story is that the original pride (Eyrefield/Sparta) lost a male sub adult of 20 to 21 months of age in May/June 2000 and in July 2000 this male of about the same age latched on to the original pride. Though not readily accepted by the lionesses, the West Street Males barely tolerated him though they did not kill him as he was no threat to their dominance due to his age.

His life was not an easy one as he was considered an outcast, yet this young lion became one of the boldest and most valued hunters by helping to keep the pride fed when the West Street males became too old.

Londolozi refers to the oldest Mapogo male as "Ngalalalekha”. Ngala means lion so does lalekha mean “old, older, oldest”? Another name for this male is "Ngalagalega" said to mean "The Lonely Lion".

This oldest Male is elusive. He is said to be bigger, bolder and darker than the other five. He is believed to be the sire of most of the Mapogo cubs that have been born so far but with more recent reports of matings it seems some of the other males will become fathers too if not already. (Note: See section on Cubs Sired by Mapogos Below)

One story about this older Mapogo male that sticks out in our minds is when Londolozi reported a sighting of two hyena clans on a buffalo carcass. A group of approximately 25 adult elephants standing shoulder to shoulder with little ones behind them were staring the hyenas down. A noise was heard behind the vehicle and when the spotlight was shown in that direction an “enormous” male lion burst into their sight roaring louder than any roar they had ever heard before which sent 30 hyenas scattering. It was the leader of the six Mapogos. He stared down the wall of elephants which after about 5 minutes of standing their ground finally gave way to the lone male and moved off.

The Older and currently the Dominant Male of the Coalition is easily identified by his broken right canine tooth.

The Other 5 Mapogo Males are said to be sired by the West Street Males but here is where the twist comes in...... the two youngest might have been sired by the Roller Coaster Males aka Shaw Males aka Castleton Males. The Roller Coaster males were believed to have started out as a Coalition of 6. Four of which enticed some of the Eyrefield/Sparta females into mating with them while the aging West Street males were away from the pride. Thus it is unclear who actually fathered the two youngest. And to add another little twist, it is said that the West Street Males who sired the Mapogos also fathered the Roller Coaster/Shaw/Castleton males.

Estimated ages of the Mapogo Coaliton as of Feb 2009:

Older Unrelated Male 10 yrs 4 mos

Two Older Related Males 8yrs 1 1/2 mos

One a Little Younger Male 7yrs 11 mos

Two youngest males (possibly sired by the Roller Coaster Males) 7yrs 3 mos

(They are distinguished from the others by their immature manes sporting mohawk style look to them. Sometimes referred to Mr T and T2 on some reserves with Mr T being known as Satan due to his aggression towards other lions/lionesses/cubs and his willingness to initiate a fight)

Order of Dominance: It is said that the Oldest Mapogo is still the most dominant of the six with the next in line for dominance being the one with a snipped tail (his tail tuff looks like someone took scissors and cropped it).

Cubs Sired by the Mapogo Coalition: Prides that currently or previously have/had cubs sired by a Mapogo are the Tsalala pride, the Othawa pride and the Sand River pride. (UPDATE: Jan 2009 -The Sand River pride with their 5 male sub adult cubs feeling pressure from the Mapogo Coaliton escaped the safety of the reserve and the entire pride (2 Lionesses and 4 sub adults) were shot and killed. Only one sub adult male survived the shooting and his survival is uncertain due to his young age.

More than likely, there are other cubs by the Mapogo Coalition as well. There is speculation that the Mapogos sired the Styx Pride's cubs or at least some of them but if that is the case... don't anyone tell the old Roller Coaster male as he thinks all those cubs are his and readily accepts them. The Styx "girls" seem to spend a lot of time dodging the Mapogos and it has been reported on a number of occasions where the lionesses fought off the Mapogo Males while another lioness would lead the cubs to safety usually with the old Roller Coaster Male in tow.

Specifically, two Mapogos seem to be spending a lot of time chasing after the Styx pride on Mala Mala for the last six/eight months or so. They are described as Kinky Tail (broken tail) and MoHawk (one of the ones known as Mr T or T2 in other areas of Sabi Sands) and is said to have a broken nose. Reports of these conflicts to date indicate the Styx pride either on their own or with the old Roller Coaster male have been able to fend them off and protect the cubs. Usually the Mapogos have suffered severe beatings when attempts were made to get to the cubs.

Great Photo of "Kinky Tail" when he visited Elephant Plains on Feb. 24, 2008. Photo by Africam member OutofAfrica:

March 2009 Update: Of the current Styx Pride cubs, two oldest are known to be sired by the Roller Coaster Male, seven are either by the Roller Coaster male or various members of the Mapogos or a combination of both, the most recently born cubs this past month are said to be by the Mapogos. (Report from Ranger Andrew at Mala Mala)

A recent report (Mar 2009) by Elephant Plains stated that the Robson Pride (once thought to have all been entirely killed off by the Mapogos) have returned with 10 month old cubs and the older Mapogo is accompanying them at this time. Hope we find out more on this story soon.

As you can see, the Mapogo Coalition is not the first nor will it be the last large coalition. Being the first large coalition the WE viewers have encountered, it is hard to comprehend that the current lion population can survive with all these killings but they will. The survivors of this onslaught will be the “new” beginning, the “next” generation just as the survivors of past large coalitions were. We don‘t like it and we don‘t have to like it but sadly it is the nature of things.

How have they impacted the lion population in just the couple of years they have been independent? Here are a few reports:

Londolozi reported previously that five prides that have been adversely affected by the Mapogos. They cited these three. Castleton Pride originally 22 and down to 6. Tsalala Pride originally 10 and down to 5. Ximunvanyane Pride originally 10 down to ZERO. We can say confidently, the number of prides adversely affected has risen since the Londolozi report.

Elephant Plains reported early 2008 of receiving a report from Sabi Sands stating almost 40% of the lion population has been killed by the Mapogo Coalition in just the past year. That relates to approximately 50 lions.

Quote from Elephant Plains referencing the Mapogos “Killing buffalo, adult giraffes, even young rhinos and hippos. And lions. And they were not just killing the lions….they were eating them...”

More on their cannibalistic ways. On February 7th 2007, the Mapogos not only brutally killed “Rocky” aka the Serengeti/Kruger male but they ate him. “Rocky” was the dominant male that sired the 6 cubs of the two younger Tsalala pride lionesses. All those cubs have been killed except for one sub adult female that has either been killed since or has joined another pride, the Ximungwe pride. Currently the Tsalala pride falls under the dominance of the Mapogos. In the same report where Singita tells of “Rocky’s” death, they mention the Mapogos being seen eating a dead lioness the previous year.

Hyenas better watch out too! We haven’t seen any reports of them eating Hyenas but they do kill them as shown in this sighting from Exeter.


One of Elephant Plains 2008 Newsletters had a graphic photo of a Mapogo Male with a Hyena in it’s mouth. Though the Hyena was not killed on the spot, it died from the injuries sustained.

Knowing how much we all love the Nkuhuma pride, we will only post the link to the killing of Blondie by the Mapogo Males. Reported by Arathusa, Dec 14, 2007. (Note: This is a PDF file)


The Mapogo Males not only kill other males’ cubs but cubs of their own. Ulusaba reported in June 2007 that a split in the coalition had occurred (though this split seems to have only been temporary as today they are seen all together at times but more frequently seen in groups of four and two). During this report period the 5 related Mapogos killed the oldest unrelated Mapogo’s cubs belonging to the Othawa lionesses.

The Mapogos seem to have banded back together as a coalition after the short term split in 2007, Ulusaba reported in March 2008 that the coalition had joined the Sand River pride on one of their occasional visits to see their offspring. They all shared in two wildebeest kills including the FIVE male cubs (was this the beginning of another large coalition before it ended with the tragic shooting of the Sand River pride?). One of the cubs thought it would be fun to slap his sleeping Father on the nose. Boy of boy did he find out that was a mistake. His Father exploded to his feet bearing down on the defenseless cub! Luckily, all the little one got was a good swat to his backside. LOL After some Motherly reassurance, the cub decided his siblings were a better target for that type of play.

Items that may be of Interest: To give you an idea of their strength, here is an awesome video posted by Youtube member mattwood22. Taking down a Buffalo Bull - January 2006. The dark maned one is the “oldest” Mapogo and there is one lioness with them also on this kill. Warning: Graphic!

Eyrefield Males Taking Down a Buffalo Bull Jan 2006

It is only fair to show a softer side of the Mapogos. This article from Exeter/Wildwatch is about a sighting of one of the Mapogo Males (probably the oldest) interacting with his cubs. It includes some great pictures.


Four of the Six Mapogos made another recent visit to Djuma the end of Jan 2009. They had a roaring good time!

January 2009 video by banditt066 shows the second most dominant male with the snipped tail walking over to the roaring male laying down with the MoHawk Styled Mane (believed to be either Mr T or T2).

Mapogos at Djuma Jan 2009 - 1

In this one by Banditt you will see the “Boss” the oldest Mapogo with the broken right canine roaring. Watch for him when the cam scans to the left and onto the solitary male roaring.

Mapogos at Djuma Jan 2009 - 2

We hope this information has been helpful and may shed a new light on these bad boys. Are they BAD? Yes! Are they any worse than other large coalitions? Probably not, with the possible exception of their cannibalistic ways…. they tend to take that to an Extreme!

A few more videos of these magnificent lions:

Here is a great sighting from the Africam cam located at Nkorho Lodge.

Mapogo Male at Nkorho May 5, 2008 - 1

Mapogo Male at Nkorho May 5, 2008 - 2

We’ll conclude with this awesome video from Africam filmed at Elephant Plains :

Lion Kill: Mapogo Pride Kills a Giraffe

Please remember, this information is not set in stone as it is an evolving story and there are conflicting accounts.

Updated February/March 2009

By Aquila and Karen in VA

Iceage's picture

Aquila and Karen in VA.Thank

Aquila and Karen in VA.

Thank you so much for sharing this fantastic info with us!

NK Ranger Jaques said in the waterhole chat,  that you 2 do deserve a special Award. ( and i fully agree! )

You 2 made me aware that each pride is different, That each pride has a name, that each pride use's different ways to hunt.

It was so nice to learn that the Windmill pride does let the leopards in peace. Totally opposite on what the Styx ladies do to leopards. (bad cats) Wink

It is because of this topic that i learned so much more about lions!

It is because on what you 2 posted that i found the malamala website and the leopards Hill website.

The Info on the malamala is beautifull!

For all you people who are reading this topic and enjoying it, and love to learn about Lion behaviour and interaction, Go take virtual visit at:


On that link there is so much info to read about the Lion pride's!

YES HAPPY ME!   also a lot of info on the Windmills!

I sure do hope that this "traveling windmill pride" are gooing to show themselve's soon again on the NK webcam!

And one day i will meet them in real life!

Again to Aquila and  Karen VA Thank you for all info that you 2 did post! and please continue giving us all great information!

Take Care and Be Safe!


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