Since the four Southern Pride females have returned to Sabi Sabi they have been seen hunting with no positive outcome on more than one occasion. Three lots of very vigilant impala are still vividly recalling their lucky escapes. The hungry lionesses pushed on though and eventually were successful in their never ending conquest for a meal. A massive kudu bull had been brought down at the end of the afternoon safari and it was my plan to get there early the next morning.
We arrived at the site of the kill and found the lionesses sleeping off the meat they had gauged themselves on the previous night. We had come from the other end of the property and the sun was already starting to warm the cool morning air. As the columns of hot air start to rise so do the vultures, to a point where they can sore and scan the ground below for any hint of a meal. Almost as if she was anticipating this, one of the females made her way to the kill where she took hold of it and started to pull.
She had her jaws locked onto a piece of skin on the kudu’s neck. The strength of a lions is often spoken about, but only once it is witnessed, is it fully appreciated. The carcass was being dragged with relative ease until one of the horns hooked into the ground as it was moving along, this caused a temporary halt in the mission of the lioness. It was soon overcome as she dropped her body low to the ground and gave a meaningful tug, the twisting of the kudu’s neck and the sound of breaking bones gave us a blood chilling demonstration of her power. With the kudu’s neck in a new position the carcass was moved all the way to an area where thick grass met an overhanging dense bush, the female rested here before going any further.
Her short rest over she resumed her dragging, but the last stretch was going to prove to be the most difficult. The tangled vegetation and the rigidity of the kudu were not a good combination, as if hitting a brick wall the female tried and failed to fully conceal the carcass. Another rest was taken and at the conclusion the persistent lioness eventually had the kudu out of sight of any aerial scavengers. Their meal was now in a place that would keep attention from scavengers to a minimum and allow this small group of the Southern Pride a chance to replenish some well-deserved energy.
BY: SIMON SMIT (BUSH LODGE RANGER)
IMAGES BY: SIMON SMIT AND GRANT RODEWIJK