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

cerinthe wrote:Manyeleti

cerinthe wrote:
Manyeleti brothers seen on cam at NK early morning following a buffalo herd.

It is reported that these two lions though quite large in size are actually very young males. They have made their presence known more frequently the last few months and have been in the company of some of the Nkuhuma lionesses (most noticeably Snaggletooth) as well the lone Sandy Patch female on several occasions.

cerinthe's picture

Manyeleti brothers seen on

Manyeleti brothers seen on cam at NK early morning following a buffalo herd.

Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars  -  Brian Littrell

Aquila's picture

Wow Penny2, you just may be

Wow Penny2, you just may be right about that being BB's brother. The time line sure is correct. Such a shame. Beautiful fella. Sad

Penny2's picture

Aquila wrote:With the recent

Aquila wrote:

With the recent viewings of some of the Tsalala females on the Elephant Plains cam, Karen in VA and I thought we would share a synopsis of the Tsalala Pride. This information was obtained from various Sightings and NewsLetters from the sites mentioned in the original post. Please remember the information is pieced together from varying reports which many times are conflicting.
Tsalala/Chalada/Selala Pride
This Pride's roots come from the same original Pride as does the Roller Coaster/Shaw/Castleton Males. In 1997, 2 females broke away from their original pride of the Castletons. They became known as the Tsalala Pride named after the Tsalala Pan they frequented early on.
These two Tsalala Lionesses mated with the 5 West Street/Sparta males (who also sired the Mapogos) and produced 7 cubs early in 1998. Sadly, only 2 cubs survived a male and a female. Eventually the male was killed by poachers leaving only the female cub that is the Oldest of the Tsalala Pride today known as BB.
The attached photo is of a lion taken in the Sand River in 2002 and I have to presume he is BB's brother because shortly after we saw him he was killed by poachers, aged 4.
RonMexico's picture

Yeah, I found those

Yeah, I found those interactions interesting too. I tend to wonder whether the Mala Mala rangers may have misinterpreted some of the aggression of the Mapogos in those interactions, I'm sure they appeared aggressive, but given the fact that all the cubs survived and the Mapogos haven't had much trouble killing cubs in the past, I have to wonder just how interested they really were in killing cubs. Maybe there was more aggression by the males who didn't have as much (or any) mating contact with the Styx lionesses, I don't know.


The saga of the 7th Styx lioness who seems to have split off and is frequently killing Kudu is also an interesting one. The incident where the rollercoaster male helped her chase off the Eyrefield pride (which he still spends time with and consists of cubs that he fathered) was a bizarre and interesting incident.  

Aquila's picture

Hey Ron, I'm a little

Hey Ron, I'm a little confused too on the various Styx reports. Not only has the Roller Coaster male been seen with the 6 lionesses and 9 cubs but also with the other Styx lioness with the two newest cubs.

Also, I have seen several reports over the last month of the Styx lionesses fighting off a number of the Mapogos (one report was with 5 Mapogos) in an effort to protect the cubs. Possibly, since the Styx have apparently been mating with both Mapogos and the Roller Coaster male even they aren't sure the Mapogos will accept those cubs as their's. Seems the Roller Coaster male accepts all the cubs as his. I suppose we will never know who the true fathers are of those cubs.

RonMexico's picture

It's interesting, both the

It's interesting, both the Elephant Plains and Djuma rangers believe the Styx cubs were fathered by the Mapogos, and I would imagine that some of them are, but many of those lionesses also mated with the old rollercoaster male during the same period and he could well be the father of some of them too.

I guess the most important thing, at least for the benefit of the cubs, is that both the Mapogo boys and the Rollercoaster male seem to think they're the father of the cubs, as witnessed by the interaction with the Mapogos at Djuma last week and also the frequent sightings of the rollercoaster male with the 6 lionesses and 9 cubs, as detailed on the Mala Mala sightings diary.

Ingwe's picture

An update from EP..The Stix

An update from EP..

The Stix pride is doing very well. They currently consist of 7 adult females and their 9 new cubs. They all look very healthy, and I can’t wait to see the pride in action when they grow up. The fathers of the cubs are the 6 Mapogo males. The Sandy Patch female, also known as the Safari female, is still alone and has no cubs as yet. The Tsalala females, BB and her two daughters, are seen together every now and again. BB mated with one of the Mapogo’s a few days ago. She lost her last cub so hopefully she will give birth to new cubs in about 110 days. B.B’s three and a half year old male cub does not stay with his mother any more as he needs to live on his own from now on. He will hopefully dominate his own territory once he turns five. B.B’s two daughters will also start having cubs one of these days and we are looking forward to that prospect. We are told that he two young Robson males, also known as Stompie and One Eye, who moved eastward into Kruger Park, are also doing well. The Two plus One pride is currently more active in the Manyeleti Game Reserve. The Koehuma pride currently consists of one male and eight females with six cubs. They mainly frequent the area far east of us.


Aquila's picture

Roller Coaster Males, AKA

Roller Coaster Males, AKA Shaw Males, AKA Castleton Males - Originally a Coalition of Six

These six males were born into the Castleton/Ximungwe pride in 1996. The same pride that also gave us the Tsalala Pride and the Ximuvanyane Pride.

They were sired by the 5 Sparta males (the same coalition that sired the Mapogo Males).

It is unclear how the Coalition of 6 was whittled down to just two by early 2006 but various reports suggests Bovine Tuberculosis and death by other lions was mostly likely the cause. By 2001 there were 5 surviving. 2002, four were surviving as one was believed to have been killed by another lion. One more disappeared and was believed dead by Aug 2002 leaving three. Of these three, one could easily beidentified as he was missing an eye. The three became the dominant males of the Selati/Shaw Pride which by (2004) had 12 cubs sired by them of which produce the now known young Golf Course Males (Mala Mala). It was reported by Mala Mala in February 2006, that the one male missing an eye was confirmed to have died. He had been in poor condition for some time.

The two remaining Roller Coaster males had taken over the Eyrefield/Sparta pride by Aug 2006. This being the pride the Mapogo Coalition originated from. This pride today consists of three lionesses. Two are sisters of the Mapogo Males and the one old lioness may very well be the Mother to some of the Mapogos. The Eyrefield Pride currently has nine cubs
approximately 18 to 20 mos old (5 males, 4 females) sired by the two Roller Coaster males and just recently accepted into their pride the Sub Adult male, Solo, from the Tsalala Pride.

The two Roller Coaster brothers sought to oust the surviving old Split Rock male from his dominance over the Styx Pride. Which they finally succeeded in doing in 2007. It is suspected the Roller Coaster males contributed to the loss of all the Styx pride’s cubs in the later part of 2006.

Sadly, in June 2007 one of the Roller Coaster brothers was killed by a crocodile. Only one survives today. The lone survivor still has control for now over the Eyrefield/Sparta pride and also must have some dominance over the Styx pride as several of those lionesses reportedly have given birth in past months. The cubs are believed to be sired by the Roller Coaster male. He has been seen spending a lot of time with the pride and interacting with the cubs.
Though there is speculation that some of the Styx cubs may have been sired by the Mapogos, the old Roller Coaster Male accepts them all as his cubs.

Update received Mar 2009 from Andrew at Mala Mala: The two oldest Styx Pride cubs were sired by the old Roller Coaster Male, seven were sired by either the Roller Coaster Male or the Mapogos or a combination of both, the newest cubs recently born are sired by the Mapogos.

Upadte May 22nd 2009 The last two months have been erratic for the Roller Coaster male. It was reported he had been ousted as the dominant male of the Eyrefield Pride and the Styx Pride by two Mapogos (Kinky Tail and Mr T) that seem to be on a mission in Mala Mala to take control over these prides. The majority of the Styx Pride, with cubs in tow, have fled the area as well as the Eyrefield Pride. Eventually, the old Roller Coaster rejoined the Eyrefield Pride but they have suffered several attacks by the two Mapogos. These attacks have resulted in the deaths of two of the sub adult cubs and members being separated. As of this date, the 3 adult lionesses, 7 sub adult cubs, the old Roller Coaster male along with the young Tsalala male, Solo who has been accepted into this pride, have reunited and escaped into the Londolozi area. Only time will tell what the outcome of this conflict may be.

Note of interest: Lionesses from the Charleston pride (Mala Mala) are thought to be sisters or cousins of the Roller Coaster males due to interactions between the pride and the coalition when they were seen together in 2002/2003.


Another interesting note: It is believed the Roller Coaster Coaliton may have fathered the younger Mapogo Males. When they were a young coalition and still had 5 surviving, they were reported to have been seen mating with the some of the lionesses of Eyrefield/Sparta pride that the aging West Street males still dominated.

The lone surviving Roller Coaster male is a beautiful lion and we can only hope he is able to maintain his dominance over the Eyrefield/Sparta pride and the Styx pride long enough for the cubs to reach independence.


He is a real "character" too. Rangers in the Mala Mala area often joke how he can find a meal no matter where it is. If it is free and easy, he will locate it. Smiling Along with his dislike of having to exert himself to secure a meal, he also seems to have an aversion to fighting/defending his territory. If their is a conflict involving other males, he is more likely to let the girls in his prides handle the situation while he hangs out with the cubs or heads in the opposite direction. All said and done though.... he is a remarkable "old" man!

Updated May 2009

By Aquila and Karen in VA.

Aquila's picture

Split Rock Males aka Marthly

Split Rock Males aka Marthly Males, Robson Males (Older) at Elephant Plains, West/North Males, Males from the North, & Western Males. The two longest surviving males were also called “Nose” (growth on nose) and “Leg “ (swollen foot).

The Split Rock/Marthly Males started out as a coalition of four. It is believed they were born to the Othawa pride around 1994 per Londolozi. One male was larger and had a more developed mane than the other three. One male was last seen in Feb 2002 looking sickly and scarred. Oct 2003, sightings suggest that only two were still alive. The survivors were the heavy maned one and one of the slightly younger ones.

The two surviving Split Rock males dominated the Styx pride for several years and are said to have sired the 3 youngest Styx pride females born in 2003.

The younger of the two surviving males died on July 8th, 2006 from Bovine TB and an infection from an injury to a hind leg. This sad report was given by Mala Mala: “Then on the 8 th of July this lion was found just south of the causeway close to the Mala Mala Main Camp, lying out on a sandbank. At dusk he raised his head, and after a while tried to rise to his feet. He walked a few yards towards a nearby water hole, had a short drink, but simply did not have the strength to move away again. He collapsed on a rock at around 18:45 and his breathing slowed and eventually stopped.”


With the death of his brother, the oldest was left to carry on and try to protect their young cubs with the Styx pride. By the end of 2006, all their cubs had vanished most likely due to the Roller Coaster males. The Old Split Rock male was last seen with the Styx pride in May 2007.

Once the last Split Rock male was finally ousted by the Roller Coaster males in 2007, he wandered great distances to stay out of the way of the Roller Coaster males. It was reported in September/October 2007 by Mala Mala that he had formed a coalition with another old Kruger male. They joined up with the Charleston pride and the old Split Rock male looking as if his days were numbered was still seen mating with one of the Charleston females.

The two Split Rock males' legacy is carried on by their offspring. Not only did they sire the 3 youngest Styx Pride females, they also fathered the two younger Tsalala adult females and the surviving sub adult male of BB (tailless Tsalala pride lioness). Other cubs from various prides were also sired by the Split Rock males. It is unclear if the two Young Robson Males, known as Stompie and One Eye, were sired by the Older Robson Males/Split Rock Males/Marthly Males but we will update when/if this is confirmed.

It is believed that the last and oldest of the Split Rock Males is dead. The last recorded sighting we have found was at Elephant Plains, November 2007, when an Old lion was observed and it was thought to be the Split Rock male.

In tribute to this old male lion we would like to add this awesome video by Lyndon Firman.

Roar on Old Fella, Roar on!


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