An Unforgettable Morning at Chitabe – 16th October 2021


Lentswe Moalosi Livi


For the second time this month we could not finish our breakfast due to exceptional sightings. Lions were following a herd of buffalos, and separated two from the rest of the herd. They brought down the cow, while the bull took refuge in some nearby water, and ended up trapped. Some of the lions suffocated the cow they had just taken down, and others were working hard to get the bull to move out of the water.

He stood in the water for some time, ignoring the lions’ efforts to draw him out. Eventually though, he emerged from the water, and tried to run into the bush, not realising it was a trap.

He turned around to get back into the water, but unfortunately the gap was already sealed off by experienced lionesses that could not afford to lose that advantage. They jumped on him and he lost his balance and hit the ground. The lionesses pinned him down and suffocated him, but being a full-grown bull, it was a long struggle.

Now they had two carcasses to deal with close to each other. Collectively there were 12 lions switching over between carcasses as if they tasted different. It was astonishing to see the sub-adults rejoicing over the taste of blood, which they hadn’t had for some days, since their recent kill of a female kudu. Some were jumping over the carcass repeatedly, some rolling on the guts.

Before this sighting, one of the guides had been following another pride with bloody faces coming from a waterhole. Responding to the call about the lions attacking the two buffalos, he abandoned the pride for the time being. Later he went back to the area, to find a pride of nine lions feeding on a buffalo which they had killed earlier that morning. The same herd of buffalos that had run away from this pride, only to find themselves in another danger zone, and where the two were killed by the first pride. It was an amazing spectacle to watch the feeding frenzy on the three carcasses.

After driving between the three carcasses, another special sighting on the same morning was of a leopardess feeding on an impala with her two cubs. We were unable to get closer for better photography as they were deep in a thicket, but we had a good window to view them. Driven by curiosity, one of the cubs couldn’t resist investigating the vehicle, offering great photo ops, before moving back into the thicket. Later that morning, another leopard was spotted resting comfortably up in a tree, giving the impression she was done with her morning errands.

What an eventful morning with three sightings of different leopards, 18 lions feeding on three buffalo carcasses, and lots of general game. Later that morning at one of the feeding points, a large herd of elephants came for a swim and a drink, and quickly became the lions’ nightmare, disturbing their peace as they chased them all over the area. One young male lion thought a small termite mound would save him and leaped to the top of it – but it couldn’t protect him from an angry elephant.

By Lentswe Moalosi @ Chitabe and Chitabe Lediba

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