mapogo male lions

It has all been happening on Sabi Sabi over the last few days. After the hippo died the predator activity went through the roof with the Southern Pride and the Kruger males feeding off the carcass as well as a huge clan of hyenas.

hyena at sabi sabi private game reserve

With all this commotion the Mapogos also found their way down to the southern section of the reserve and although there has not been any interaction seen between the Kruger Males and the Mapogos, we are left to hypothesise what has been happening on the reserve. On the same day the Kruger males and the Mapogos were found relatively close together and the Kruger males seemed to be the lions on the retreat. Could the Mapogos be causing an upset in the chain of command down here in the south?

Mapogo male lion while on safari at Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve

Mapogo male lion while on safari at Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve

The other thing that has left us questioning what has been happening during the hours that we all try get some shut eye is the fact that yet another cub has gone missing. There is a good chance that it is with one of the females that is not with the pride at the moment as there are only 3 females together. There is also a possibility that the Mapogos got hold of the cub and have started to dispatch the current litter…

Mapogo male lion while on safari game drive at Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve

Mapogo male lions while on safari at Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve

What will happen over the next few days, weeks or even months is unknown. The only certainty is that we are going to witness some of the most amazing lion interaction ever. I look so forward to it and to keeping you all updated!

Mapogo male lions while on safari at Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve

Mapogo male lion while on safari game drive at Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve

by: Richard de Gouveia (Little Bush Camp ranger)
Hyena photo by: Michell Steinberg


  1. wolfe says

    Those are amongst the best photos ever. Much appreciation for the longest days regarding the Mapogo. Richard, this is truly an age for the writings of Lion Warfare. One can only wonder, what else is left for the Mapogos as they are unsettled and extremely cautious in their former grounds. All around them are powerful, in-control coalitions and it’s only certain they will engage the Mapogos at any opportunity. A question remains, could the Kruger males have mistaken the Mapogos for the Majingilanes?

  2. zach hershman says

    Nice job documenting the happenings as of late. I look forward to reading how this all turns out.

  3. juan josé rubio coque says

    Thank you Richard for the fantastic blog. Happy you have shared with us the pictures of the Mapogos. I think in spite of their age they look great. it is strange, as you comment, that KNP are on retreat. Perhaps with the Sparta/Eyrefield males also around they though that should confront a 4 male coalition instead two pairs of unrelated lions. Things sound really interesting. Please keep us informed.

    • ranger rich says

      Jaun, the comment i made about the KNP males being on the retreat is a theory…i have nothing more than tracks and signs to go by in order to make this assumption. The KNP males were found yesterday with the Southern pride in the North and the Mapogos were still down in the South. The Mapogos and KNP males were roaring through the night so i am not sure now if the KNP males are trying to get away or the Mapogos but they all voicing their opinions loud and clear for everyone to hear!

  4. sheila says

    Thank you, Richard, for all the great photos of our two remaining Mapogo boys. Although they are looking a little older and slightly battered, they still look amazing. I am so looking forward to what is to come. Sounds like this is not the last we will hear of the legendary Mapogos. I better not sound too sure of their dominance, as Mr T was taken just a day after I bragged about how indestructible
    he was.

    • ranger rich says

      They are still in good condition and clearly have found some food as they are by no means skinny! The pics are not my best but glad to be able to show you how the old boys are looking!

  5. luke galardi says

    thanks a million for the story and the pictures. Look at Makulu’s eyes in the b&w photo. He looks young again, and vibrant, if that is the word to use. Your story and pictures really, really made my day. You took my so-so week and made it a great week. Thanks brother – you are great to share with us.

    take care

    • ranger rich says

      Always a pleasure Luke! Glad that it helped make your week a little better. The boys are looking good and have been roaring quite frequently and that says to me that there is still a bit of life in the 2 of them.

  6. walker says

    That is very interesting. Even if they manage to take over, I wonder how long will the last? I think the older one-Makulu-is about 14 years old?

    I think there was a bigger 3 male coalition before the Kruger males? Did the Kruger males oust the bigger coalition?

    Also with 8 lionesses, will they put up a big fight against the the two older Mapogos? 8 against 2 is not much of a balanced fight? Interesting times..

    • ranger rich says

      I personally think that they wont be able to push out the Kruger males as they are in their prime and successfully pushed out a coalition of three males as you pointed out in your comment! It is going to be very interesting to see how this all unfolds.

      With your point about the 8 females, they have already proved to be too strong for the Kruger males and with the added support of the Kruger Males the Southern pride seems to be impenetrable at present!

  7. tino says

    The pictures are absolutely incredible and the stories you have to tell only reinforce my desire to return. keep them coming.

  8. deano says

    What happens to pretty boy and big mak???? Cant find any information, are they both passed? How did they end there era. The most powerful coalition sabi sands will ever see…r.i.p dreadlocks,Rasta,shaka,satan u were all warriors to the end…i so hope Nat geo are lookin at puttin a 2 hour length documentary about this fascinating coalition…just hoping the last surviving males of the 6 are still goin??? Hopeful but with big mak anything is possible I feel…i am absolutely fascinated with this coalition like no other..have been researching and watchin male lion coalitions for a long time as its my passion but these 6 are just legendary…and have touched so many lion lovers in a way that’s never been seen before

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