Vumbura Plains

The Cycle of Life





Vumbura guide Speedy Senase reckons one of his most interesting game drives of the year so far has to be the baby elephant carcass that he came upon one afternoon. The little elephant had died of natural causes and was being eaten by a leopard…


I decided to head out the following morning in the hope of seeing some more action in the area. Along the way we picked up fresh male lion tracks that were heading in the same direction as we were, towards the elephant carcass. We followed the tracks and found the three dominant male lions of the Kubu Pride. They had taken over the kill from the leopard and were now joined by the females of the pride. We watched them for a while before heading on to see what else we could find.


The next morning I decided to head back to the elephant carcass to see if the females had gone to fetch their cubs to join the feast. I found tracks heading away from the carcass and decided to follow them instead of heading straight to the scene. There was a good chance the females had indeed gone to collect the cubs.


A little further on, we found the lionesses with their cubs heading back to the carcass. Just what we had been waiting for! The male lions had eaten their fill and were lying in the bushes digesting their elephant meal. Most of the meat was already gone but there were a few bits and pieces left for the cubs. One of the lionesses picked up a foot which still had some meat on it and started to move away. This is when one little cub started to follow its mother, hoping to be able to cadge a bite of the flesh.


The picture captures that very moment… just another day in the bush at Vumbura Plains!

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