Steam rose from our coffee cups as we took our usual seats in front of camp to watch the bush light up and the guinea fowl chatter around the pan for their daily watering. Like clockwork, our guests rooms lit up as they were slowly waking up too. Liam, an enthusiastic apprentice, was excitedly telling us that the pride of lion came to the pan for a drink a few minutes before but didn’t know which direction they left. As we were speaking about the lion, three dagga boys (Buffalo Bulls) walked in from the thick Croton. One old bull was particularly thirsty and the fresh scent of lion didn’t dissuade him from his morning drink. The two younger bulls weren’t so blasé. They sniffed and snorted and looked around creeping forward very cautiously. Their instincts proved correct and within a second the pride of lion erupted out from behind thin bushes, ant mounds and tree stumps. The lions had set up an ambush and we had front row seats to the whole show!
The buffalo galloped in all directions and the lions focused on their target- the very thirsty old bull. He made a good effort and got quite a distance but one lioness picked up her pace and grabbed hold of the end of his tail. With one leap she expertly swung her body to the side and around and caused the bull to lose balance and topple over. He had twelve lion piling on top of him within seconds. We were all chattering mindlessly in the excitement and watched as one lioness held the buffalo’s muzzle in her mouth and another grabbed at his throat in order to suffocate him. After some minutes the buffalo stopped kicking and it seemed as if he was dead. We made another cup of coffee and settled ourselves in for an easy day watching lion from camp.
It took 10 minutes for the two younger dagga boys to pluck up enough courage to come to their companions aid. They had brought another buffalo who must have been lurking in the bush when the first attack happened. Maybe it was the extra set of horns that made them feel a little braver. The three bulls roared into the pride and took a few swipes at the surprised lioness. The lion scattered in all different directions and the buffalo knew they now had the upper hand. We all thought it was for nothing as their friend was long gone, and it broke our hearts to see the one bull walk to his fallen companion sniffing his face and using his horns like a forklift try and lift the buffalos head up.
Astonishingly the “dead” buffalo responded to this and got up! He gathered himself a while then was in an absolute rage and chased the lion in circles until he thought their failure was rubbed in sufficiently. The lion didn’t win this battle and the four dagga boys made off in a cloud of dust and probably very pleased with themselves for their win.
It was an amazing morning and one which we will remember for a lifetime and one which has changed all our opinions about the infamous buffalo bull.
Thats it for now. Keep well everyone!
P.S. we managed to film some of the action, and have made a video which I will be posting on my Youtube Channel (Hooked on Safari) when I get a chance.