This past couple of weeks we were in Tanzania, Africa on Safari. One of the highlights of the trip, was 'the lion kill'. It's a story I've got to put down in words as it's almost unbelievable.
After a couple of days in Lake Manyara, famous for tree climbing lions, we were hanging out to see one. Driving back from picnic'ing on we got word that 2 Lionesses were spotted below the lunch area. We drove down trying to spot them. After a couple of minutes and some very sharp eyesight by our guide, 100's of metres off in a tree he sees one. We pass round binoculars all happy to finally see a Lion in the wild.
We drove off after a few minutes, but for various reasons, we went back. Just then a Lioness, and a second Lioness cross the riverbed way off in the distance.
Game on! They were skinny, it was the middle of the day, and the guide said 'it looks like they're hunting'.
We watched a (very alert) Gazelle, hoping for the worst/best depending on which of the sexes we were. The Gazelle headed for the hills. About 200m to our left some Baboons were up in the trees making a bit of noise, so we drove round to be greeted by the sight of a waterbuck, looking around wondering what was going on. Along the bushline, one of the Lioness' carefully walked out, Waterbuck startled and she chased it clockwise round the bush to (what we heard) was said buck meeting the other Lioness. A few guttural sounds later we guessed the fate of the waterbuck. Our guide got *that look*, you know that, "we have to see this" look and drove back to a clearing 50 metres round the other side of the bush.
Would you believe we could see the hooves of the waterbuck poking out of the bush on our left, with the waterbuck on it's side. Our presence startled one of the Lioness's she walked across the clearing, looked right at us, gave us a menacing snarl, and hid behind the bush to the right hand side of our truck.
So there we were, Lioness #1 and Waterbuck on the left, clearing, bush, Lioness #2 on the right. Us in the middle. Nerves start setting in and pulse rate starts rising. A split second later this is what happens
My pulse was racing, and could barely handhold the video [hence the shakey cam look], as all I could see was the action in front through the view finder, but all I could hear was lioness #2 getting very upset beside us, everyone in the truck was on edge/more than uncomfortable.
Out of nowhere come not one but two cubs, the lioness backs off and lets the cubs go at it. A pictures tell a thousand words..
With some (caution: VERY graphic) video footage
So after 12 minutes it was time to get out of there, the guide started the truck and then the unbelievable happened. The cubs backed off, the waterbuck came to attention (after being eaten from the abodmen!) and got to it's feet. Pictures tell no lie ..
The last thing we saw was Lioness number 1 leaping onto it, to (we hope) finish it once and for all.
For more pictures of our trip click here to go to the flickr album
All taken on a Panasonic GH1, with an Olympus 70-300mm lens.