Waking up in the Serengeti certainly has its advantages, like see a beautiful sunrise through the acacia trees and with the tall grass creating an amazing silhouette across the skyline……truly beautiful. Today we are off on a mother two game drives to see if we can find the illusive Leopard and possibly see the Secretary Bird………someone had an obsession with birds and it was high on their list to see it. I think wanting to see something is one thing, but actually getting to see it in the wild is another. The great thing about nature is you cannot control it and you will never tame it. Just appreciate what it offers at any given time and enjoy the moment.
As the truck slowly moves through the endless plain at a maximum speed of 30kmh, the opportunity to really focus on spotting animals at distance is extremely high. I learned to do this as a child when my father and grandfather were teaching me to shoot, track and trap animals on my uncles farm in Gloucester, NSW. At distance recognising some of the animals in the Serengeti is a task, but there are also some that are just a dead giveaway.
As the morning gets into full swing there is a lot of interest in the local watering holes. Buffalo and Elephants are meandering around in the reeds and through the palms on the edges of what looks like an oasis in the middle of a dust bowl. The rainy season is just around the corner and there appears to be some water, but not in great supply.
This time of the day is when you see the serious action. The predators are in hunting mode and we pull up beside a pride of approx. fourteen lions resting under a large acacia tree. Unbeknownst to me at the time there is another three lions spread out around the area like scouts monitoring the landscape and protecting the pride. All of a sudden there is movement from one of the females. she moves out to the left of the pride and starts to slowly wander into the tall grass.
What we were not aware of for a few minutes was the very large and lone buffalo that was moving slowly across the plains about 200 metres off to the left and completely unaware of the pride. The lions were very much in a strategy meeting, deciding who was going to go and attempt to round up this black monster cruising through their domain. Lions apparently have to eat twice a day and this was one of those times.
Watching the lions slowly and deliberately work their way through the grass and start to surround the buffalo was something I will not ever easily forget. It was clean, methodical……….and totally intimidating. They were merciless. All of a sudden one of the lions exploded out of the grass and the buffalo was off. It was too fast and too far away for the lion to maintain the pace it had to bring it down. I am sure the buffalo was happy about this to. A bit of an anti-climax but still amazing to watch.
Some of the group were really hoping to see the kill and to see what would happen. As a kid growing up going hunting I have seen what happens to animals that are attacked and shot and torn to bits by other predators. I must say I was not looking forward to seeing this in the flesh and I am not sure how people would react either. Then again the internet has desensitised people so much that its seems ok to want to see the brutality that nature offers.