Botswana Overland Safari – Chobe … Wim reports: A Ferocious Male Lion Fight
Because there was so much action at the buffalo kill yesterday we went there directly this morning …
And what a morning!
Plenty of lions were still feeding, but these were the youngsters, the sub adults, including some handsome young males. All was more or less peaceful as we photographed the interactions between the youngsters as they vied for the tastiest bits. Little spats here and there, but on the whole they just enjoyed their morning meal.
Then the mood changed as abruptly as can be imagined, within a split second!
A large, dominant male came storming out of nowhere and charged down the embankment directly towards out cameras. For a moment we thought he was going to join the meal, or at most shoo the youngsters away.
But NO! This was a full – on attack! He went for for one of the young males, ferociously and angrily. Whether in surprise, a reflex, or if this is what he felt mature enough to do, the youngster fought back – even though he was totally outweighed and outclassed.
Fierce growls, bared teeth, those vicious claws out, the two strove to get the better of each other. They rolled in the dust, saliva flying, less that 10 meters from we sat. Luckily, we remembered to start taking photographs … with the initial shock some almost forgot and sat open-mouthed and staring for the first second of the fracas. We could not believe what was happening right next to us!
The fight seemed interminable as the two fought on – until the youngster retreated to a nearby bush where the remainder of the pride had taken refuge. And suddenly all was peaceful again.
As soon as the lions moved away from the carcass, hundreds – yes, I mean hundreds – of vultures arrived and their squabbles started. The incredible altercations, shoving, pulling, grabbing, as each tried to get more than its neighbor. The carcass was completely hidden by feathers, beaks and talons.
Then a male male lion suddenly charged, furiously sending the vultures scrambling and flying off in a chaotic tumult! It was the male subadult from the earlier fight, possiblyfeeling that he needed to assert himself …
By now we were a little late and the time had come to return to the Lodge for our farewells. We reluctantly left the incredible spot, and turned the boat downstream.
But on the way back we simply had to make one last brief stop.
We spotted a huge herd of elephant arriving at the water’s edge to drink. Some were already in the water, and we were able to drift closer and closer. Out came our wide-angled lenses for those really close up shots. There is something truly awesome about being on a river, and able to get so close to these magnificent creatures. They totally ignored the boat as we drifted up to them for some spectacular shots.
And this was how our amazing safari ended – so many days filled with heaps of special moments and memories to be treasured … and cameras filled with images that any wildlife photographer would envy!
Until next time …