The vehicles with the ODP safari group rushed from camp as soon as everyone was on board very early this morning.
Eyes strained in the darkness, searching for one of the hungry lion prides and the buffalo which had been left in close proximity when the group had to return to camp last evening.
As they arrived on the Plains, the first rays of sun showed an unbelievably beautiful morning, with mist low on the ground, the golden rays piercing the mist and picking out detail here and there.
Lechwe were spotted, and with the misty, golden conditions they made a truly exquisite picture. Leaping over water, with perfect reflections in the crystal water completed all a photographer could want. Then some sparring between males created action shots in the beautiful surroundings. More winning photographs!
(As there is no internet connection to Duba Plains at present, you will see some the wonderful photography on this site when the groups return)
Reluctant to leave the beautiful scenes and panoramas, but keen to catch up with the lions, the vehicles moved on, and they were in time! The lions and buffalo had spent the night exactly where they had been left the night before, still very close together, and they were beginning to stir.
The ODP Safari group enjoyed watching the lions as they slowly woke up, stretched, groomed one another a little. This was Silver – Eye and her pride. The buffalo slowly also started to wake up.
The light was quite clear after about thirty minutes, and the buffalo decided to move away.
As they started to move, the serene peace of the morning erupted in one second into total chaos ..
As one, the lions leapt, rushed at the buffalo, and within about twenty seconds they isolated a calf, which they chased and dragged right in front of the watching and photographing ODP group.
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The five lions proceeded to eat their meal.
Now, the only small problem is that one buffalo calf is not really enough for five large very hungry beasts, especially when those hungry beasts have not eaten for five days!
The inevitable occurred.
The earth seemed to shake with the menacing growls as each vied for a fair portion of the spoils. Many scraps ensued, with angry swipes, tugs of war, more alarming growls and a few fights with angry snarls and vicious looking attacks. Now and then one of the lions would get away with a chunk which would be taken and devoured a little distance away.
And the cameras were able to capture all this wonderful interaction, frame by frame.
Finally, there was very little left of the calf – a mere morsel. Silver -Eye and a subadult male each decided that they would like to end their meal with this titbit. An almighty tug of war, with furious growls and snarls, swiping at each other, with neither willing to back down, pulling, pulling, panting with exertion but not giving up! Eventually the morsel tore into small fragments and each settled down, convinced that they had won.
As all the lions were settling down after their meal the group headed back to the Lodge for a gourmet lunch, and then headed back again soon after.
Silver -Eye and her pride were still resting peacefully, satisfied that their hunger was gone for today.
The other pride was found close by. They were clearly restless and hungry, but the buffalo are still well within