Matimba Male Lions

Today’s blog post is dedicated to the powerful coalition known as the Matimba male lions, the Matimba male lions made a name for themselves in the Sabi Sands area as well as around the Orpen area in the Kruger National Park.

Image copyrighted to Legendary Lions

It is estimated that the Matimba male lions were born in 2006/2007, there were six male lions forming the coalitions, 5 of the male lions are related but the 6th male known as Ndhuna, was an older male aged around six years old that they accepted into their group.

The Matimba male lions first came from Ngala Game Reserve, and since that area was ruled by the 3 older Skybed male lions it is predicted that the Skybeds fathered the Matimbas.

The six lions moved into Manyeleti and that’s where their reign started, from 2010 they took over the area and ousted the resident male, they were the pride males of all the prides in Manyeleti and they started expanding their territory, their territory stretched into the Kruger National Park, Ngala Game Reserve as well as the northern side of Sabi Sands.

Photo by Allan Bower of 5 young Matimbas on a buffalo kill

In 2012, Ndhuna, the older Matimba male lion went missing and it was never confirmed if he died from old age or if got in a fight with a rival lion. Towards the end of 2013, like the Mapogo lions, this coalition also decided to split up, and they later were known as the 3 Northern Matimba lions and the 2 Southern Matimba lions.

The Northern Matimba lions were identified as Shaka, Slitnose and Whiteface and they spent most of their time in the north side of Sabi Sands, while the Southern Matimbas are known as Hairy Belly and Ginger and their area was in the South side of Sabi Sands.

Picture of Hairy Belly, his name is obviously derived from his hairy belly
Image copyrighted to original author, image found on Wild Fact

Hairy Belly and Ginger didn’t keep a low profile as their other three brothers, these males have been in many fights and a lot of the fights have been with other popular lions such as the Mapogos and the Majingelanes.

Read a blog entry from Londolozi from when the two Matimba’s got into a fight with the four Majingilane here.

The Southern Matimbas were chased away from their territory by the 5 Birmingham male lions, and that is when they first moved into Londolozi and became the pride males of the Tsalala pride, they had no issues in this area. Other male lions such as the Styx and Fourways male tried to take over the pride and the area from the Matimba to no avail because the two Matimba lions were much more powerful at the time. Until the 4 Majingilanes ousted the two Matimba from Londolozi, forcing the two males to become nomadic.

Here’s a video from Karin van der Merwe from when the Matimba chased away the Styx males. It was believed that the Styx male that was injured was killed but we actually recently seen him in August of this year looking great.

Styx Male Lion
Image copyrighted to Big on Wild

The reign of the Northern Matimbas started diminishing once one of the males was killed in 2015 while the other one was killed in 2017, both of them were killed by rival males. The last Northern Matimba was seen spending his time with the Skorro pride around the Tamboti area. The last remaining Northern Matimba eventually passed away, probably from old age because he was seen looking frail and weak.

In 2018 the Southern Matimbas, which makes them ± 11 years old at this point, were spotted back in the Western side of Sabi Sands, the territory left behind by the Majingilanes after they passed away. The Matimba’s were soon seen mating with the Othawa lionesses. The lioness gave birth to three cubs.

The Matimbas have sired many cubs, some known prides which they have sired are the Talamati, Mibri, Nkuhuma, Torchwood, Skorro, Red Road.

Here is our video of Junior(Matimba’s son) coalition partner Buddy with the Nkuhuma pride.

Ginger Matimba developed a bad case of mange, and he was seen supporting it for a while, but this week he eventually passed away, leaving Hairy Belly as the last remaining Matimba.

Close up of Ginger’s mange
Image copyrighted to Omega Godi

The Matimba coalition were a formidable lion group it’s amazing that a wild lion which is 12/13 years old is still doing well, we hope Hairy Belly enjoys a few more years of his retirement.

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  1. Binal Mistry

    The Nkuhuma pride is where Junior comes from. He was born into that pride.
    Junior and Buddy rule the Skorro Pride in Kruger. The Nkuhuma Pride is in Northern Sabi Sands (Djuma) and is ruled by the 3 youngest Avoca Males.

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