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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.


Aquila's picture

Manyeleti Males (Young)

Manyeleti Males (Young)

They first appeared on Djuma in July 2008 coming from the North (Manyeleti).

Their history is unknown. Two very large young male lions estimated to be approximately 4 +/- years in age and more than likely brothers. Both sported fairly light colored manes with one having a fuller and more mature mane than the other. They were virtually scar free and it was assumed they had recently been pushed out of their pride.

Frequently venturing more and more into Djuma and neighboring reserves over the next months, they were seen in the company of two lionesses from Nkuhuma Pride and mating with the one known as Snaggletooth. They also spent time with the lone Sandy Patch lioness who currently has 3 cubs believed to be sired by one of the Manyeleti males.

Africam at Nkorho Lodge Video of Manyeleti Male with Snaggletooth from the Nkuhuma Pride by Sagresta

Manyeleti and Nkuhuma Nov 17, 2008

In early January 2009, reports came in that these two magnificent males had been in a fight sometime around Jan 3rd/4th. Speculations were that the Mapogos and these young males had clashed. This altercation happened near the Mala Mala/Kruger boundary South of Nkorho. One of the Manyeleti brothers was said to have been killed, however a few days later, both of the Manyeleti males were seen alive. The one with the immature mane though had been severely injured with his right back leg badly broken.

Africam Video Jan 9th, 2009 at Nkorho Lodge by pnutbutrnjely

Manyeleti Brothers at Nkorho Pan - One Injured

The one brother remained with his injured sibling for some time. The last time seen together... they were heading into Kruger but only the uninjured brother seems to have returned. It can only be presumed his brother is dead.

The most recent sighting of the surviving Manyeleti was in Buffelshoek on the morning of March 2nd, 2009. He was mating with Snaggletooth from the Nkuhuma Pride once again.

We were so looking forward to watching these two brothers mature and become a presence in the Nkorho & Djuma area. May the injured brother beat the odds of his demise and return to prove all wrong.

During their visits to Djuma, they provided some incredible sightings as portrayed in these videos:

Manyeleti Lions PM 18Oct08 by Sagresta

Manyeleti Lions Oct 18, 2008

Djuma The Manyeleti Males by justbrb while on Safari at Djuma Game Reserve

Manyeleti Males on Safari Aug/Sept 2008

Manyeleti Males vs Buffalo 10/20/08 - 2 by muttluver

Dagga Boys Take on the Manyeleti Males

Manyeleti Males vs Buffalo 10/20/08 - 3 by muttluver

Dagga Boys and Manyeleti Males continued

Updated Mar 2009

Aquila and Karen in VA

Aquila's picture

Styx Pride

Styx Pride

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

Styx Pride occasionally referred to as the Mlowati Pride possibly referencing their past association with the Mlowathi/Mlowati males that use to dominate them.

Home Territory is mostly in Mala Mala.

This story starts in early 2000. The Styx pride consisted of a total of eight. One adult lioness of approximately 10 ½ years in age, four sub adult males two of which were a little over 4 yrs of age and two 3 ¾ yrs of age who reached independence around November 2000, and three sub adult females approximately 4 ¼ yrs of age. Though this pride has been in existence for at least two and a half decades, these 4 lionesses (1 adult, 3 sub adults) were the beginning of the pride we know today. The pride, as it existed then, were one of few that managed to stay out from under the dominance of the forceful West Street Males. The West Street Males were a coalition of five males that sired many of the lions we still see today in the area including the six Mapogo Males/Eyrefield Males.

An interesting note about this pride, back around 2000 two lionesses reportedly broke off or were separated from the Styx pride and became known as the Sandy Patch aka Safari pride.

Today the pride consists of seven lionesses, only 2 Styx lionesses from the original 4 are still alive. They are 2 sisters that are now 13 yrs of age. The other 5 are surviving cubs from the original 2000 core of 1 adult and 3 sub-adult females.

Approximate age of the 7 Styx lionesses in February 2009

2 Adult lionesses appx 13 yrs and 5 mos

1 Adult lioness 7 yrs and 10 mos - Sired by one of the Mlowathi Males

1 Adult lioness 7 yrs - Sired by one of the Mlowathi Males

2 Adult Lionesses 5 yrs and 6 months - Sired by one of the Split Rock Males

1 Adult Lioness 5 yrs and 4 mos - Sired by one of the Split Rock Males

As of late July 2008 they had 11 to 12 surviving cubs including two just recently being born. As of Mar 2009, the exact count of cubs is uncertain but there are at least 9 and possibly more with speculation of recent births by at least one lioness.

The Styx pride are known to be hard Mothers. They haven’t had much success in raising cubs for a number of years now. Maybe this is the year that reputation changes.

In 2006 they had cubs by the Split Rock males. One of the males died in 2006 and the other old male maintained control of the Styx pride until mid 2007 when he was pushed out by the Roller Coaster males. Prior to the Styx pride being taken over by the Roller Coaster males, they lost all their cubs by the end of 2006 probably from infanticide by the Roller Coaster males.

Mid 2007, one of the Roller Coaster males was killed by a Crocodile. Since then, his brother has maintained dominance over the Styx pride and is believed to be the Sire of their current cubs. There have been a number of reports of the Styx lionesses seen mating with males from the Mapogo Coalition but the old Roller Coaster male is usually in attendance with the Styx pride and accepts the cubs as his. So don’t tell him they might not all be his.

The latest reports indicate the two oldest cubs were sired by the Roller Coaster male, the other seven it is unsure rather it was the Roller Coaster or the Mapogos or a combination of both that sired them. March reports indicate another lioness has very young cubs that were sired by the Mapogo/Eyrefield males.

There have also been several reports of the Styx pride fighting off Mapogo Males when they came near their cubs. Below are a couple of the recent fights between the Styx Pride and the Mapogo/Eyrefield Males as reported by Mala Mala.

August 2008

It seems the Mapogos found the Styx pride with their 11 cubs on Aug 10th. It was said the 5 male lions didn't pay much attention to the lionesses until they noticed the cubs. They went for the cubs and the Styx girls went into action fighting the males but of course they were no match for 5 big males and had to depart. The Mapogos went in search of the cubs but it was believed they couldn't find any. A couple of days later the latest Styx mother and her two new cubs were still safe in their den area. On the 15th of Aug. the rangers were relieved to see the rest of the pride along with the other 9 cubs so all survived the Mapogo attack.

The Styx pride have always been questioned about their Motherly qualities and are usually shown in a bad light when it comes to taking care of their little ones. In their defense… one must reconsider how good of Mothers they truly are. Taking on 5 big males to defend their cubs and grant the little ones time to escape to safety was indeed heroic.

On another Aug 2008 encounter between the Styx Pride and the Mapogos the Styx didn’t fare as well. The encounter was with 3 Mapogo males and the adult lionesses had an aggressive fight with them. One cub was caught and slung in the air but managed to survive and take refuge in the nearby rocks. The adult lionesses escaped unhurt except for one lioness that received fairly bad bite marks on her back but she recovered quickly.

December 2008

Another heroic attempt to keep their cubs safe was noted on Mala Mala, December 7th sighting. Mala Mala calls it the Battle at Campbell Koppies.

Two of the Mapogo Males, Kinky Tail and one they call MoHawk who have been frequenting the Mala Mala area in recent months, moved slowly one morning straight towards where the Styx Pride pride, the cubs and the old Roller Coaster male were resting. A fight was surely imminent when they spotted each other but instead the pride did nothing and the Mapogos skirted around them and found shade for the day.

That afternoon, the Mapogos and the Styx pride were all in the exact same place fast asleep. Things changed in the evening! The Styx pride with their cubs and the old Roller Coaster male in tow, moved straight towards the two Mapogo aka Eyrefiled males. The two Mapogo males sensed the females approaching and rose to meet them. Upon visual contact the Mapogos started roaring and ran at the Styx pride and the Roller Coaster male. All 7 of the lionesses and the old male scattered and retreated to the safety of the Campbell Koppies with their cubs. When the two Mapogo males came near the rocky area, the lionesses burst down from the koppies roaring and headed straight towards the two males. The two males hastily retreated back to the Milowati river. After the lionesses gave chase they returned to their cubs and the Roller Coaster male back towards the koppies. The two Mapogo males took this opportunity to mount another charge aimed at the lionesses roaring all the way. This time the Styx pride retreated to behind the Campbell Koppies and were moving away from the Mapogos. The two males rounding the western koppies ran into a well laid ambush. Five of the lionesses waited for their arrival and again charged the two Mapogos. Again with tucked tails the two ran for the Milowathi River with the girls in hot pursuit. The other two lionesses and the old Roller Coaster male had moved off with the cubs. Not admitting defeat the two Mapogo males again mounted another charge and sent the five lionesses scattering in all directions. Then a contest between the Mapogo males and the old Roller Coaster male erupted. Roaring back and forth with neither admitting defeat. The five lionesses set up a distract the Mapogos strategy which seemed to work well while the cubs were being lead further away to safety by the other two lionesses. Their strategy was to separate in all directions and roar loudly to distract/confuse the two Mapogos. The old Roller Coaster male split quickly as he had no real intentions it seemed to try and impose his dominance on the two Mapogo males.


Mar 4th 2009 the Styx Pride and the Roller Coaster male had yet another run in with two Mapogo males. Reports were of 4 Styx lionesses accompanied by 9 cubs and the old Roller Coaster male giving the two Mapogos a severe beating. The Styx lionesses came out of it with minor injuries and the old Roller Coaster male was limping and some new scratches to his nose but apparently nothing serious.
The next day, the two Mapogos had apparently met up with another Styx lioness who had made a kill near the Gowrie boundary and joined her for the feast.


Watch the Girls in Action: The Styx Moms proved again they are being serious about protecting their cubs this time around. As shown in this clip from an awesome sighting on Sept. 2nd, 2008 titled "Styx Girls Fight to Protect Their Cubs PM 09/02/08". (action starts about 2 1/2 minutes in)

Styx Girls Fight To Protect Cubs


Other interesting traits to the Styx Pride.

They seem to have a true hatred of Leopards. There are numerous reports of them chasing leopards and killing them. They are the pride reported to have killed the White Cloth female leopard’s 18 month old son in of June 2007. Also for killing the Campbell Koppies female leopard’s 3 yr old daughter, known as “Yo” on Mala Mala, in January 2008. There have been reports of them chasing different leopards at different locations all in a matter of hours. It seems the Styx pride takes their hatred of leopards to an extreme.

One of the older lionesses who has two cubs is known for taking down adult Kudu on her own. Her and her young cubs seem to be well fed due to her excellent hunting techniques. She is a brave old lady also, when she and her two young cubs were on one of her Kudu kills along with the Roller Coaster male (he never misses a free meal), the Eyrefield pride approached 12 strong (3 adult lionesses and 9 sub adults) and though strongly out numbered she managed to chase off the entire Eyrefield Pride and retain her well earned meal. A few bad scratches were all she received from the encounter.

This old lioness is the same one that gave birth right next to a game drive vehicle that was viewing the rest of the Styx pride in July 2008. The vehicle couldn’t move off as they were afraid their movement would put more pressure from an already intense moment thus they had to wait till the birthing process was over. Below is a video of the birth recorded by Ranger Graham Dyer that day.

Styx Lioness Giving Birth

We’ll end this story with a recent video of a Styx Pride Reunion by mabuhr. It just makes you want to say awww…

Styx Pride Reunion

Putting the Styx Pride story down in writing is very hard as there are so many chapters in their lives. We can only hope, with the new cubs, the Styx Pride will remain in existence for at least another two and a half decades.

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

Updated Feb/Mar 2009

Aquila & Karen in VA

Iceage's picture

 Today Jacques ( NK-ranger)


Today Jacques ( NK-ranger) said they havent seen ore heard from the Windmill pride about a month, He was told that the Manyeleti brothers are in the Manyeleti area. No news on the only sandriver survivor.

Henny van Heerden updated her South africa photo's and i saw this one! This photo is a MUST see for all lion lovers!

The Crown Prince of the Eyrefield pride.

take care



Iceage's picture

To Aquila.It seems to me

To Aquila.

It seems to me that you are the one that for years did follow the Lion Pride's.

Please keep telling us what you learned and keep us updated.

Thank You!

You told me...

I am very happy to hear this youngster has found a pride and is not still out on his own.

This is a picture.... yes its Big Cat!

One of the Windmills!

Resized by Ingwe

edit 05-032009 by iceage Thanks Ingwe !

Photo's by InsaneBushie and penny2

be safe and take care!















Iceage's picture

Forward message to Ranger

Forward message to Ranger Josh.

Click here

Aquila's picture

Correct Myra, this is not

Correct Myra, this is not the same youngster that escaped the shooting of the Sand River pride.    Hopefully, he will also find a pride that may accept him.


Congokid's picture

Hi Aquila,So, am I correct

Hi Aquila,

So, am I correct in my understanding that this Solo is NOT the young male from the butchered (sorry, that is how I feel!) Sand Hill pride?

Someone on the forum seemed to be under the impression that it was the one that escaped.


Aquila's picture

Hi Donna,  the Eyrefield

Hi Donna,  the Eyrefield pride female doesn't have a name.  The pride itself is made up of 3 lionesses and 9 cubs apprx. 2 yrs old.  Of the 3 adult lionesses,  two are sisters of the Mapogos and the 3rd, the older lioness, may very well be the Mother of some of them.


We try to do a "family tree" on the prides seen more often on NK and EP but the Eyrefields are down in Mala Mala and don't venture into NK & EP that I am aware of.   Mostly their history is only shared as they are the originating pride of the Mapogos.  Smiling

donnabac's picture

Aquila, We really appreciate

Aquila, We really appreciate the information you share. It is exciting that Solo found a home and impressive that this same pride keeps producing such strong males who defy most conventions. Does the mother of the Eyrefield female cub have a name we would recognize? I re-read all your postings. I can keep up for a bit then get lost. Have you considered doing a family tree? LOL


Aquila's picture

An update on BB's male cub

An update on BB's male cub "Solo". This young approx. 3 1/2 yr old male from the Tsalala pride seems to have been accepted into the Eyrefield pride in Mala Mala according to their reports. The Eyrefield pride being the pride the Mapogos originated from makes one wonder if another large male coalition is in the makings with 5 male cubs close to 2 yrs in age and the addition of BB's son. Will be interesting to see how this plays out. Also interesting that the oldest Mapogo joined the Eyrefield pride as an unrelated youngster too and is the dominate Male of the coalition now. History repeating itself possibly? Smiling

I am very happy to hear this youngster has found a pride and is not still out on his own.

Sadly, one of the female cubs of the Eyrefields is missing. Hope she is only lost and not dead. Sad

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