Duba Plains: Buffalo Surrounded by Very Hungry lions

Brendon’s News:

We rushed straight out  to meet up with the buffalo, expecting one of the prides of lions to be close by.

About half way to the lions we came across the pride of six lions we have seen previously. Four lionesses and a subadult male were cavorting in the early dawn. We watched enthralled as they played, leaping onto each other, nuzzling, rolling and tumbling around. As they enjoyed their morning games, they moved slowly but certainly in the direction of the buffalo. 

There were numerous water channels to be crossed and the lions seemed to use a variety of approaches for each, sometimes swimming across, sometimes leaping, or finding a shallow spot to wade across. The wading was accompanied by a continuation of their game with much splashing, attacking invisible foes in the water and swatting anything that rippled. The photo opps were quite amazing!

 

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Eventually the lions tired of the strenuous game and flopped down on some anthills. After a quick look around to examine the neighbourhood they dozed off, and this is where we left them as we continued to the buffalo.

We were a little surprised to find that the buffalo were still lying down even though the morning was advancing by now. We checked and sure enough Silver – Eye was in close proximity to the slumbering beasts. One young lioness and a young male were also not far away.

So, with a large herd of buffalo and some very hungry lions mere meters away we decided to wait. However, neither was keen to move for quite a while. Even when the buffalo eventually lumbered to their feet and started to move away, Silver -Eye and her pride members strolled along behind them, but made no attempt to hunt. It was fascinating to watch as the herd and the pride wandered along, pretending to ignore each other but keeping a wary eye on one another at all times. 

Then the lions, possibly deciding that it was too warm to hunt, lay down under some green leafy bushes for a midday siesta.

This was a good time for us to enjoy our special lunch which the Lodge again kindly served out in the bush for us. 

After lunch a quick check showed us that the lions were still resting so we spent the afternoon tracking down and photographing a wide diversity of wildlife that the area has to offer. There is just so much to see and photograph, so to mention just a few, then. Hippos splashing and yawning widely, lechwe leaping in a graceful arc,

 

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… and a very inquisitive Honey Badger kept us very busy while Fish Eagles, a Martial Eagle and a Giant Eagle Owl delighted us with magnificent photos.

When we returned to the buffalo they had moved very far from Silver – Eye’s territory, but she was still close behind. She probably won’t hang around here much longer … the local pride and fear will ensure that she returns to her area soon.

Not only is Silver Eye right behind the herd – the buffalo are now very close to the pride that we saw this morning. 

The scene is this –  the large herd of buffalo now has prides of lion on all sides. We noticed that all the lions are showing signs of being really very, very hungry. This is not surprising as it is now almost a week since they last had a kill! 

It won’t take us long to find the buffalo tomorrow morning …