Facing lions face-to-face
Well, I think the majority of us have already seen the Lion King movie right? And most of us agree lions are the king of all animals right?
If you don't agree I suggest you to watch some episodes or read some articles from the BBW Wild Life team. They will certainly change your mind.
One thing is to watch them every Sunday morning on your magic box called TV. Other is being just a couple of meters away from them. Only here you can realize how they are really the kings of the jungle.
This happen to me and I feel really privileged to have watched them only a few 15 meters from me. Speechless!
Just another "ordinary" day in the savannah
During my road-trip in Namibia - in full autonomy - we woke up as usual at around 5h in the morning.
As everyday, we followed up our morning "routine":
- Prepare your breakfast - cooking in the wild yeah!
- Eat fast - we don't have time to miss!
- Close the tents
- Do some final prep on the cars (like a quick dust cleaning on the interior and organising back seats - yes things can take really messy in the car during a road trip like this
Around 6am everything was done and we hit the road - Lets go!..
Just about 2 km after start driving we found a water hole where many animals were already drinking their morning beverage and where a group of lionesses just had killed a zebra.
Due to the extreme eat, you find the largest animal activity between 5-7 am in the morning. Is when animals hunt, search for water, and are more active. After that you barely see even birds! It can be damn hot!
Watching wild animals is all about luck - being at the right place in the right time. You can only increase your chances to watch something incredible, by searching for places where the chances of having more animals are higher.
A couple of minutes too late
And this is what we did. We woke up really early and checked on the map where we could find a place with water. We were pretty confident we would find animals. And we did it!
However we arrived there just a couple of minutes too later. The great hunt had already been executed.
That pride of lions had already prepared their breakfast.
The lion's rules and hierarchy
In spite we missed that incredible moment, we still had the opportunity to fully watch the hierarchy of these felines and how they organize their social structure.
In most of the cases the lionesses are the ones responsible for conducting the hunts. Males normally don't hunt unless they are trying to claim their own territory or can also back-up the lionesses taking down larger preys such as a buffalo.
Their social structure also affects the eating pattern. As usual the lion of that pride ate in first place. This is the typical eating organisation in a lion pride, however depending of special circumstances the females can have priority.
We arrived exactly when the lion was having is enjoyable eating moment as you can see on the first photos. All the females and cubs were watching from distance waiting for their turn - first females and last the cubs. Again, in special occasions the males agree to share the meal with the cubs at the same time, and females are left for last.
Soon after the lion finished his meal, a starving lioness tried to approach the carcass and get a piece of the zebra. Sure the lion was not pleased with such impatience and they start "arguing".
let me tell you, I was so lucky to catch that on camera but it is a shame I didn't recorded any sound clip to share here with you.
Their vocalisations are incredible! Hard to describe the howling of these little cats. Especially when you're eyes-to-eyes with them! You can feel your torax box vibrating with the sound projection!
Definitely a shivering moment!
P.S.: On the last pictures you can see a hyena trying to steal a peace of the zebra and a lioness running after her, and also all the vultures waiting the lions to abandon the zebra so they can have some meat.
Let me share with you some more pictures of this amazing moment.