The River Pride strike again!
It’s fair to say life is never dull when living amongst wild animals. However, there are some that keep us more on our toes than others here at Klaserie Drift – and the Klaserie River Pride is one such example! Hitting the headlines as recently as late last year when their ranks exploded to more than thirty individuals, these lions became known as a rare ‘Super pride’. Keep reading to find out the latest on these awesome felines.
Following their unprecedented expansion, the sheer number of lions in the River pride proved unsustainable as they struggled to find enough food to feed so many hungry mouths. At one stage, the pride even resorting to killing adult elephants in a staggering show of strength and teamwork before, ultimately, they were forced to break apart - a process which began late last year.
As of now, the largest of these breakaway groups varies between 14 and 19 individuals. Perhaps as is nature’s way, what was once a frenzied breeding ground for new cubs has become a series of tragedies, preventing the addition of many more mouths to feed. However, despite being less than they were, 19 is still a formidable number of lions and the sightings have been no less mind-blowing. In the last few weeks alone, our guides and guests have been astounded by some incredible moments. From being caught violent fighting and feasting over a giraffe kill to the unforgettable moment where guide Khutso just happened to be in exactly the right place at the right time…
Following the pride as they ambled slowly down the dirt road early one morning, Khutso noticed a slight change in their behaviour. Without a word amongst them, the lions froze. Heads peaked as if concentrating hard on something in the distance, Khutso soon became aware of what had caught their attention – a herd of waterbuck grazing amongst the trees nearby. Suddenly, this unified team with years of hunting experience between them sparked into action.
As the rest of the pride lay low in position, one lioness slunk away into the trees. She was to be the surprise element – sneaking behind their prey and launching at them in her tried and tested method. Alert to movement, the waterbuck darted in time, they thought, to avoid her claws. However, her part was played perfectly as the spooked animals careered straight into the waiting ambush. Faced with a dozen more lions, panic ensued and the fearsome felines launched on a young buck, forcing it down to the ground by sheer, overwhelming numbers.
Once there, the waterbuck’s fate was sealed as another lioness moved in for the so-called kiss of death. Watching the whole thing from start-to-finish, Khutso and his guests sat with a dizzying combination of excitement, shock and awe. As the pride began to feed, satiating their enormous appetites for just a moment, the bittersweet realisation came that they had just witnessed something both rare and incredible, yet heart-rending all the same.
Watch the video of the encounter on our YouTube channel here.
Words Emily Whiting | Photos Mentz Germishuis