Predator Watch – Lion

Just returned home from an amazing safari in Pilanesberg National Park and would like to share a lion encounter with you.

Why are Lions called King of the Jungle ?

As you sit reading this you might forget why they are called King of the Jungle – let me remind you!

  • You realize how low on the food chain humans are when a lion’s piercing eyes lock onto yours.
  • Those bulging muscles that lock onto prey as big as zebra running at full speed.
  • The effortless power of dragging a carcass around (wildebeest is +- 300kg).
  • The flowing mane of a male lion.
  • A roar of a lion – the sound of raw power that is unrivaled.
  • Jaws of steel able to kill  by clamping down on the throat of it’s prey to suffocate it.

Encounter

Day 3 of our trip was overcast and rainy which was welcome after the sweltering heat. Hopefully the larger cats would be more active in the cooler weather as they had eluded us thus far.

After collecting our permit we eagerly entered the gate, the biggest concern was which route to take. I’ve learnt to listen to my internal (gut) instinct so when Moloto Drive came to mind I immediately plotted a route.

Little in life compares to driving the gravel roads of a National Park not knowing what you might encounter around the next corner – magic!

We slowly made our way whilst enjoying sights of zebra, wildebeest, waterbuck, impala, warthog and giraffe along the way. It is now 8:45am and as we take a bend in the road I notice a lioness on the side of the road. Overjoyed, I took a deep breath knowing we had our first big cat sighting in the bag. All of a sudden a lion cub appeared from nowhere trying to tackle the lioness – we could not believe our luck!

The light for photography was not great but I filled a memory card within what felt like seconds – I simply could not get enough!

Surprise!

Taking a breath I noticed a large rock further down the road, or so I thought. I pointed my lens at the “rock” and that’s when I realized it was actually the back of a wildebeest.

The lions are on a KILL!

We slowly positioned our car so as not to disturb the feeding lions or nature in any way. It was raining now but nothing was going to stop me taking pictures.

I thought I might be “grossed” out by the gory scene in front of me but guess my mind accepted it as the way of nature. The balance in nature is maintained by one animal giving it’s life for the survival of another – amazing!

Here is a photo of the kill – notice the huge paw of the sub-adult male on the right as we look at it!

Here is a photo including the cub – a zeal (group) of zebra caught their attention

We left the sighting on a high, little did we know what nature still had in store for us just 1 hour later. Blog post to follow

Till next time…

This entry was posted in Predator Watch, Sun City - Pilanesberg, Wildlife Photography and tagged , , , .

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