Magashi, Rwanda

Lion pride dynamics in Akagera National Park


Our Collective


Isaac Kalio


Showing our pride

In 2015, Akagera National Park welcomed seven lions from South Africa – the first time that the Rwandan park had seen lions in over 10 years. Two years later, another coalition was introduced. And now Akagera can proudly boast that they have a healthy, growing population of these big cats!


Due to eternally interesting lion dynamics, most Wilderness Magashi guests have a chance to enjoy excellent lion sightings during their stay – for example, a staggering 92.3% of all bookings in January 2023 had one or more lion sighting.

Isaac Kalio Wilderness Guide

A Busanga Plains-based Senior Guide, Isaac Kalio has spent the last two seasons working in this beautiful park. He recently caught up with three of the legendary lions – which were settled here by African Parks all those years ago – and had the safari sighting of a lifetime. Here is his story:

Clash of the titans at Magashi


A coalition of two males, Ntwari and Ngangare, and their female, Amahoro, settled into the Magashi Concession some years ago. Ntwari is estimated to be around 13 years old, is blind in one eye and is slowly losing a couple of teeth. In short, age is catching up with him!


Ngangare too is getting on in years at around 12, and is missing the tip of his tail. He still seems energetic, but has shown cowardice in battles. Amahoro is thought to be about nine years old, and currently has four cubs estimated to be around six or seven months old.


Now here is where it gets interesting! Ntwari is known to be the father of a coalition of three, with the two males born in 2016 from a female called Umwari. At about the age of two these boys were evicted by Ntwari and Ngangare, to find a new home. Now seven years old, the boys are back, full of energy and bigger in size than their father Ntwari, whose mane is also starting to fall out.


Since December 2022, roars of tension have been heard around Magashi, culminating in a clash between Ntwari and his sons at Lake Mihindi in the concession on the last day of December. Ngangare managed to escape this battle.


Early that morning we caught up with these lions and the situation was heart-wrenching. The old male Ntwari was sitting submissively with half of his body in the water and his two sons watching over him the whole day. The message was clear, “You move, you die”.


We could not wait to go back that evening and witness the boxing, but when we got there, the situation had not changed at all. In a funny moment, just as the sun was setting a waterbuck stumbled right into the face of Ntwari without noticing his presence, and Ntwari would not even raise his head at all, out of fear for the boys. The waterbuck did however run off pretty quickly after noticing the two.


As it got darker, the boys tried to provoke Ntwari, but he was still submissive, until eventually they got up and left without hurting him. Exactly 14 days later, Ntwari was cornered again and survived.  Ngangare too, managed to escape, with Amahoro and her cubs playing a clever game of hide and seek. The Queen of Magashi, she is an amazing female that has dedicated her life to the area, and has shown loyalty to the boys she arrived with.


But the message is now clear. The boys are trying to expand their territory from the Magashi Concession all the way to Kirara in the north end of the park. We are waiting with bated breath to see how this unfolds.

Learn more about the pride

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