Normally lions are lethargic, sleepy and boring during day viewing. We came across this small pride resting mid-morning, they were still alert and even tried stalking some kudu but in vain. This encouraged our group to stick with them since we had already seen other main predators (crocodiles, painted dogs and leopard) and great general game. They were stuck with us for the morning.
Suddenly the main hunters picked up pace leaving two young males sauntering behind. We followed at a distance. Patience always pays, and within 30 minutes the pride had flushed a big tom leopard up a tree. We were busy taking pictures of the leopard with the pride hovering at the base of the tree. Within minutes they lost interest and went back to the place where they had picked up the leopard.
Our first assumption was that maybe the leopard had a kill but a closer examination showed something was in the burrow as the lions were trying to dig it out. Puffs of dirt showed there must be a warthog in the hole, charging at the lions. It all suddenly made sense. The leopard had cornered the pig in the hole and lay in ambush hence being almost caught by the lions in broad daylight.
Surprisingly the lions lost interest, went to a nearby bush and waited. As soon as a gap was created the leopard came three-quarters down the lead wood tree and was airborne, clearing almost 10 metres, landed and shot off like a missile, this the lions just watched. He was gone. We had waited nearly 15 minutes when the warthog suddenly burst out without checking where the lions were. Only one lioness gave chase and she was so far away, we did not expect much to happen. We were cheering the pig to run faster but he wanted to check and see how far the cat was and of course a cloud of dust and the deal was done.
The rest of the pride took another 5 minutes to find the kill since it was so quiet. Mother nature can be rewarding with a bit of patience: a life lost and another gained. We spent another hour observing nature’s recycling process. The lazy young lions dominated the feeding, as the kill got smaller the fights got out of hand and the females gave up.
Click on the first image then scroll through to see as a slideshow.