safari bush sightings

lion versus buffalo


As the light was beginning to fade over the bushveld, we decided to make our way towards the area where a lion pride had been sighted in the morning. On our way towards where the cats had been we came across three large male buffalo, so we pulled over to watch them.

My guests were excited as this was their first ever safari holiday in Africa and it was also their first game drive at Sabi Sabi.

We spent a while watching these 3 old men wallowing in the mud and chewing on all the green grass that is so readily available at this time of year.

After leaving the buffalo we made our way back east to where the lions had been. We managed to relocate them pretty easily as they had not moved very much from earlier in the day. I pulled my vehicle into the best possible position for my guests and I let them just take in this amazing opportunity to view these magnificent cats. The pride members were all asleep so I told my guests we should just be patient and wait a few minutes because as it starts to get dark and cool down, these animals begin to get active. So we waited, and sure enough, after about 15 minutes they began to stretch and head rub each other, which is a sure sign that they are ready to move. This was once again an incredible sighting for these guests as it was their first ever lion sighting. They were totally in awe of the whole situation. Not only were there lions to be seen, but here were 15 of these majestic cats walking slowly through the brush.

The lions were moving towards a waterhole that was not too far from where they had been lying down. The whole pride reached the water and began to drink. While this was happening, one of the adult females picked up her head and began listening intently and looking in the direction where we had seen those 3 male buffalo. After listening for a while she moved straight in that direction. The rest of the group followed her as if there was a battle plan in the making ready to go. It didn't take long for the lioness to locate the buffalo. She crossed the bush track and moved around behind the huge beasts while the other members of the pride stealthily moved into a horseshoe shape on either side of them.

I told my guests to sit tight and enjoy as this was a once in lifetime opportunity, being lucky enough to view such interaction between these two mortal enemies.

The female that had gone around suddenly sprang into action and charged at one of the unsuspecting buffalo, which ran straight towards the trap which had been set. It was going like clockwork, a battle plan well executed, and one of the buffalo ran straight into the waiting lions which took the opportunity and jumped straight onto his back. The immensely strong buffalo threw 3 lions off with ease. The rest of the lions then tried their luck, and some managed to jump up and hang on. The buffalo then went crashing through the bush, right past our Land Rover. By this time all 6 guests were totally blown away by the drama and were in their absolute element.

The buffalo had put himself in a situation where he had 3 lions on his back and was also totally surrounded by the cats. This was their chance, but they hesitated and the buffalo ran straight at one of the young lions, which lost its nerve and ran for cover. The lions on his back weren't able to hang on and also gave way. The buffalo saw his opportunity and ran as fast as he could, heading into the darkness to live another day.

I have to admit that this was one of the most amazing sightings I have seen in the African bush. It was a scene I and my 6 guests will never forget. They created a lifelong memory here and will continue for along time, to talk about the incredible sighting that they experienced at Sabi Sabi.

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