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Duba Plains: Spectacular Photography as 2 Lion Prides launch multiple attacks on the Buffalo
Another beautiful dawn at Duba Plains found the ODP safari group out on the Plains, cameras capturing the amazing morning light, with the mist looking as though on fire with Lechwe in the mist, leaping across water making beautiful photographs.
The group did not stay too long here, however, knowing that two separate prides of lion are hungry and have not eaten for days.
They caught up with Silver-Eye and her pride who were almost on top of the buffalo. The 6 lionesses and the large male followed the buffalo closely. One could almost see them plotting their moves. The tension was palpable.
After only about 45 minutes, the lions quickly cornered a cow, and proceeded to take her down - about 10 meters away from the ODP vehicles!
The reason for her vulnerability soon became apparent. Little hooves were visible. The cow was in labour. In spite of 6 lions clinging furiously to her, she stood her ground.
The buffalo bulls returned and tried to storm the lionesses in an attempt to rescue the cow. The lionesses were undeterred.
The most heart stopping interactions now ensued.
The male lion joined in the action and chased the buffalo away. They regrouped and rushed back, chasing the male lion, who ran, turned and stormed them again. And again. And again.
While shaking with the sheer excitement of witnessing this incredible interaction between prey and predator, the Safari Group managed to capture some of the most amazing images of a lifetime!
Meanwhile, the lionesses clung on and on. Not having eaten for so many days seem to give them extra determination.
Finally the cow succumbed, and the lions were able to feed.
It was with some sadness that the ODP Group then saw that the cow had been about to deliver twins. The two little foetuses were clearly visible as the seven lions settled down for their long - awaited meal.
Still stunned by the amazing events that had unfolded right in front of them, the ODP Group finally put down their cameras, still shaking, but in awe!
The buffalo now started to move away, and before long, had entered the territory of the neighbouring pride of lions, the Tsaro pride.
They had hardly put foot on Tsaro territory when 8 lions descended on them.
The pride attacked relentlessly again and again and again. Chasing, trying to isolate one of the buffalo. They chased some of the herd into shallow water - a technique they use to slow down the buffalo and make catching easier, and sure enough, they caught one of the cows. The bulls stormed, and this cow got away ...
But the hunting, chasing, interaction, attempts to isolate one buffalo after another kept the lions and buffalo busy for the next two hours - and the cameras clicking almost non-stop.
Then as the ODP Group were about to leave for lunch, they witnessed an incredible sight that had them shaking again - this time with mirth.
The group had already noticed one of the subadult male lions. He was very agressive and playful and playfully aggressive. He strutted right up to a huge buffalo bull. He stood there, unsure what to do next. The bull was unaware of the lion behind him.
And what the young lion did next was to stick his nose into the bull's hind quarters and sniff!
Affronted, the bull moved away, and the youngster tried to catch him. Talk about David and Goliath! He leapt onto the bull, who shook him off. He still didn't seem to understand, but a group of buffalo, heads lowered came at him, and he got the message!
By now both lions and buffalo were tired, and they lay down to rest.
This gave the ODP group a chance for a quick lunch ...
... and a helicopter flip over the Plains. Magnificent views and sights were captured by everyone's cameras.
The highlight of the flight was not only seeing the lions, buffalo, lechwe running through water, and so much more ... they were also able to photograph a very shy Sitatunga.
They returned to the Plains just in time to see the lions and buffalo stirring again.
The lions quickly started to hunt again and attempt after attempt was met with failure as the buffalo regrouped and charged back at the lions. the non-stop interactions continued for the remainder of the afternoon.
Then a lioness spotted a large bull with a sore leg. Here was her chance!
She leapt and brought him down, and proceeded to lie on top of him. Before the other lionesses could come and assist her, the buffalo grouped and charged - and rescued their herd member.
Darkness was beginning to overtake the area, and the Safari Group had to return to camp, with the buffalo returning to Siver-Eye's territory.
This evening, under the magnificent African sky, with the sound of the bush in the background, the Safari Group speculated on what tomorrow could possibly bring that could match this incredible day. Even those who visit the bush regularly could hardly believe that they had seen so much non- stop interaction between the animals, at least 8 serious attempts at a kill, one kill right in front of them, with the two foetuses. This was Africa at its action packed best!
But although Silver-Eye and her pride have eaten, the Tsaro pride have not ...