Phinda: Multiple Lion and Cheetah Chases

Andrew Reports:

The northern area has yielded great sightings every day, so that is where we again headed before dawn.

On the way, and as just the sun rose, we encountered a herd of around fifty buffalo. We stopped for photographs and our attention soon focussed on one of the males that was feeling particularly frisky in the early morning. He was jumping on various other members of his herd, proving to be a nuisance to them but a source of entertainment for us.



Another vehicle told us that they were in sight of two male cheetahs and it took moments for us to join them. As we arrived we saw that the cheetahs were hunting, and we had time to quickly position ourselves and settle quietly to watch the action.

Cameras ready!

The cheetahs spotted some impala and thankfully for us, they ran ahead of the impala and then doubled back. The impalas finally saw the danger and as the cheetahs started to sprint toward them they turned and fled – directly toward where we sat, with our cameras trained on the action and capturing each second. The cheetahs were right behind the buck, but they had started the chase a little prematurely, giving their prey a chance to escape.




We were jubilant with the amazing chase pictures we had captured.

The black rhino family of three were not far away, and with the lovely morning lighting we stopped again for pictures.



In quick succession we then saw white rhinos, impalas, nyalas, giraffe –




– and zebra before seeing the familiar subadult lions from the North pride.

We were watching the lions in an open area when two black rhinos appeared on the scene. Well, we thought, now for some interesting interactions. But the lions and the rhinos ignored each other totally. However, it was great to get images of both species in one photograph.

This afternoon we returned to the cheetahs that had failed in their hunting attempt this morning. Surely they would hunt again today? But we were wrong again. The two cats were relaxing, barely moving a muscle, and hardly even checking their surroundings.

We returned to the four subadult lions and as they were in an open with a lovely background area we stopped for more photographs. Just then two white rhinos arrived, and after witnessing little action between the other rhinos and these lions this morning we assumed that would probably ignore each other as well.

Nature seldom has predictable outcomes –

As soon as the lions spotted the rhinos they started to stalk them. Ears flattened, and bellies close to the ground they crept quite close.



Until the rhinos became aware of the creeping cats and charged them. The cats scattered, then regrouped and started their stalking again. Again the rhinos charged. Again the lions scattered, only to regroup