It was another typical summer’s day out in the lowveld, with blistering temperatures and a slow breeze. We set out that afternoon to follow up on the Mhangene pride that had been seen earlier in the morning. Luckily with the day being as warm as it was we were quite sure that the pride wouldn’t have moved too far from their last position and, sure enough, they had only moved a few hundred metres away from where they had been seen in the morning. They were all trying to find some shade underneath some bushwillow trees, but the shade didn’t last very long and they started to become a bit restless.
In the south we could see a big cumulonimbus cloud building up, an indicator of impending rain and lighting. We were quite lucky that it just blocked out the sun and everything cooled down quite quickly, which was just what the lions were waiting for so they could start moving about. Slowly but surely there was movement – stretching and yawning, which is always a good sign. Then, within seconds, all 13 lion heads popped up and stared intently in the same direction. We tried to keep very quiet in the hope that we could hear what they were hearing, and in the far distance we heard a herd of buffalo – and that is exactly what they heard as well.
It was getting dark quickly and the lions were on the move straight towards where we heard the buffalo. Everything was in their favour; the wind was blowing quite strongly from the buffaloes’ direction so the lions’ scent was well masked. We stopped with the whole pride in a stalking position in thick vegetation, and then my tracker Rebel said to me, “Francois, warthog!” He pointed straight towards the pride and this large female warthog appeared, completely oblivious of the lions. In seconds chaos erupted with one of the sub-adults chasing the warthog straight towards the buffalo. Now the whole pride was in motion and running towards the 600 strong buffalo herd. For about 30 seconds we just sat there and listened to the sound of 600 buffalo stampeding from a pride of lions.
What an incredible experience to have shared with our guests!