Sabi Sabi yesterday, today, tomorrow

buffalo vs lion cubs

by Richard de Gouveia on February 2, 2014

The weather over the last few days had been gloomy at best but we had managed to fight our way through it. The rain was misting down on us but our spirits were high. I was looking to find some giraffe for the guests and as we came around the corner there was a beautiful dark male that was standing in the middle of an open area staring into the distance. He looked like a statue not moving and completely focused on something. Now when a giraffe stares like that it is a big possibility that it has spotted a predator and as I said it to my tracker, Cremeson, he spotted a lone lioness walking across the open area.

lioness with cubs at sabi sabi private game reserve

We made our way around to try and relocate her and as we went into the bush we found her being greeted by her 3 cubs. The cubs were wining with joy and hunger asking for a bit of milk but she wasn’t ready to feed them. She got up and called for them to follow and the little cubs started to gallop to keep up with mom. The guests were blown away as we followed them across the open area and the cameras didn’t stop clicking.

lioness with cubs at sabi sabi private game reserve

lion cub while on safari at Sabi Sabi

lion cubs at sabi sabi private game reserve

What they didn’t know was that they were heading straight towards four buffalo bulls wallowing in a pan. As she approached the buffalo’s location she stopped to assess the danger and the cubs sat on the road staring across the plain. The lioness again started to move and made her way closer to buffalo who were no more than 50 metres from her. As the first buffalo caught sight of her he let out a grunt of displeasure and litres of water and mud were displaced as all four goliaths jumped to their feet.

The cubs were following close behind their mother but the sound of the buffalo spooked them. Frozen stiff they watched as the four buffalo started to charge. The lioness bolted for cover but the cubs hesitated, not knowing whether to run or hide. Eventually they moved their little legs as fast as they could go and the buffalo was now at 10 metres and still coming. But the charge slowed, the buffalo lost interest and the lioness and her cubs were reunited.

Buffalo chasing lion cubs at Sabi Sabi

Buffalo chasing lion cubs at Sabi Sabi

Buffalo chasing lion cubs at Sabi Sabi

The sound of the buffalo had alerted the other three lionesses that the mother and cubs were going to join and the three lionesses moved in with intent. They moved silently across the open area trying to find the buffalo that had now given away their position. The hunt was on…

The lionesses stalked closer to get a better look and the buffalo started to make their way back towards the lionesses. The lionesses went as flat as a mat as they tried to remain hidden from their potential meal. However the numbers were heavily in the favour of the buffalo with four 900kg bull buffalo against the 3 lionesses. The buffalo moved along and the lionesses stayed in the same position but didn’t move…they seemed to lose interest before moving up to re-join the lioness with the 3 cubs. What an amazing sighting!

BY: RICHARD DE GOUVEIA (BUSH LODGE RANGER)

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

anita baert February 2, 2014 at 8:15 am

Fabulous story and images…thanks for sharing…

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carsten February 2, 2014 at 9:42 am

Yeah, four bulls just might have caused one or two of the sisters serious injury.

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shirley February 3, 2014 at 12:34 am

Wow, very scary. Well written. I am hoping the cubs make it. Tough world for them.

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