There is something absolutely magical about the bush at night. You would expect that the bush goes silent as everything goes to sleep but in fact the bush just starts to wake up. Nature has a shift work system whereby when one animal goes to sleep another wakes up to take its place. After our afternoon safari we headed home for a bite to eat, dinner was amazing and we were wined and dined like Kings and Queens at a banquet. One of the rangers had come back early from safari so that he and his guests could eat early and head back out to follow the lions on the hunt, my idea was to piggy back on this, finish dinner and find out where the lions were and what they were up to.
By the time we finished dinner, the lions had already spotted a buffalo and knowing the Southern Pride, action was not too far away. However, by the time I got the guests mobilised, the lions had missed their target and were back out on a mission to find a meal. We followed them through the pitch black of night. The moon was far from up and the stars shone down from the heavens like flickering lanterns lighting the way for this immense group of predators.
We followed them for about half an hour before they made their way onto an open area covered with impala. As much as an impala is not a substantial meal for a pride this large, any meat would do and the stalk began. We found a spot not too far from where we thought the action would happen, switched off the lights and began to wait. As our eyes adjusted to the low light the number of stars seemed to quadruple. The silence was deafening as we waited for the sound of panicked hooves to beat over the grasslands, only then would we be able to illuminate the bush and see what was happening. Silently and holding our breath, we strained to listen for any sound that may give away the presence of the lions or the fleeing impala. Suddenly the sound of muffled footsteps right next to the vehicle drew our attention as a lioness hugged close to the vehicle for some cover, only her silhouette betraying her.
As she moved away from the vehicle, we descended back into the deafening silence again waiting anxiously for the chaos to begin. Suddenly the thud of hooves battered over the bushveld as the impala ran for their lives, a stifled moan in the distance disclosed the location of a now dead impala. We sped off in the direction of the noise, which had now gone from a last breath of an impala to an all out fight for meat. The small impala is hardly a taster for this large pride, however, they were not going to let it go to waste. The whole thing was down to mere bones within minutes and squabbles continued for the remaining bits. The starter had not even satisfied the lions as a few of them ate the blood covered soil to get more nutrition. What a way to finish the day as we rolled back into Bush Lodge just before midnight ready for a bath and good nights sleep after a night filled with excitement.