“God works in mysterious ways”.
For some reason my 4am alarm does not sound and we only rise at 5am and then leave the gates at 5.30am. Remember that today we are heading for Malalane for Renette’s dental appointment and I was particularly keen to do the S25 Crocodile River road during the photographers golden hour just after sunrise. So I am a little grumpy by our tardiness.
Down the H4-2 main road we go but only 1Km past the H10 bridge over the Sabie we note a plume of dust on the far side of the river. This can only mean one thing – one of Kruger great buffalo herds coming to drink.
Renette then notices a big male lion on our side of the river intently watching the buffaloes.
This vast herd spreads out along the water’s edge and what a sight they are in the early morning light.
The buffalo downstream suddenly stampede up the steep river bank.
Followed by the main body of animals directly opposite us. And the cause of the commotion becomes apparent as a large male lion and lioness are hot on their tail.
Thick dust envelopes the scene but through it we can discern that the lions have caught a young buffalo and have it pinned to the ground. But…….. an angry mummy is not taking this lying down.
She summons the cavalry and together they storm the lions sending the lioness on her way whilst the male lion seeks shelter behind a bush.
A buffalo then crashes through this bush sending the male lion spinning backwards landing in a most undignified pose on the seat of his pants.
Another buffalo then joins the fray and sends the big male lion on his way in a most embarrassing retreat.
The buffalo then regroup up the bank whilst the lions try and salvage some pride below them.
Buffalos 1 : Lions 0
And all the while the three lions on our side of the river remain passive spectators.
The dust column over the buffalo is visible far across the plains as they wander off with no doubt some not having time to drink at all.
Meanwhile a couple of Km’s downstream two old boys peacefully feed oblivious to what has just transpired upstream.
So our faulty alarm clock did us a most unexpected favour. We arrived at exactly the right moment to witness one of the great dramas of Kruger.
We leave again at the Crocodile Bridge gate distressed at the terrible state of the veld in that area.
We return to camp with mission accomplished as the temperature reaches 40℃. What a thrilling experience we saw this morning.
Viviane Vanfleteren Dec 11, 2020 at 4:07 pm
Amazing and incredible! Wish I could have witnessed this!
Richard Grant Dec 11, 2020 at 8:05 pm
We were very privileged to have seen it Viviane.
Ann Gibson Dec 11, 2020 at 8:44 pm
How wonderful that your “late” wake-up delivered such wonderful scenes. Beautifully photographed. Not sure if it’s my imagination, but the lioness involved in the fracas looked very thin. Hopefully not TB.
Richard Grant Dec 11, 2020 at 8:52 pm
Yes Ann, a very poorly organized hunt with most of the pride as spectators. Quite surprising as usually they are so clinical.