After the first exciting day with the Lions, we returned to the area to see how the Lions were doing. It was a cloudy and cold morning. A group of nine Lions, two adult females and seven juveniles were laying on the edge of a marsh. We parked with them for a while, saw them play, chase each other. As the morning progressed, huge groups of wildebeests and zebras started coming to the marsh to drink and feed on the fresh grass. As two wildebeests entered the marsh, one of the adult lionesses got up, eyes fixed on them, stalked to their location and started chasing them. The Wildebeest struggled to gain speed as they were running in the water. She kept running along the edge to cut their way out of the marsh. Finally she rushed into the marsh as well and ran behind the second wildebeest in big splashes of water. The wildebeest got away. She gave up, crossed the marsh and disappeared in the tall grass on the other side. The other lions walked along the marsh, with Mt Kilimanjaro appearing briefly behind the clouds. It was amazing being alone in the middle of this amazing landscape, surrounded by hundreds of animals, lions, elephants, wildebeests, giraffes, zebras, and water birds, gazelles.
The eight remaining Lions moved to a gulley feeding the marsh and took refuge under some small bushes. More wildebeests and zebra kept coming down to drink. For a couple of attempts, the young Lions always assumed a full stalking pose and surrounded the prey, but they didn’t help their mother by pushing it towards her. So a couple of wildebeests got away without the mother busting out. At around 10.30 a single wildebeest walked unaware right towards the lions and finally two of the juveniles busted out of cover and chased it. The Wildebeest was at a safe distance from them but the adult lioness was just waiting in ambush. As the wildebeest trotted past her she exploded in a chase. The Wildebeest got away again.
The morning wasn’t over yet. These Lions were determined to get themselves some food. The juveniles returned under the bushes in hiding. The mother in the galley. There were wildebeests moving in from every direction. After about half an hour another loner walked in among them. The juveniles again behaved well and started chasing the wildebeest from different directions. The lioness was not in a good position, very far from the prey. She chased it as well but soon realized she was too far. However, as the wildebeest ran it fell into a deep waterhole and lost a lot of speed. The lioness caught the opportunity and leaped towards it and in a flash she was on top of it, in a cloud of dust. The wildebeest had no chance.
The juveniles joined their mother as she suffocated the wildebeest. We were emotionally drained as it had been a morning full of tension, thrill, drama, failed attempts and escapes. Finally for the lions food was available to them. They endured hard times when the wildebeests and zebras leave the park during the rains. Now it was a time of plenty and they were hungry. For a good fifteen minutes it seemed like the Lions were about to start feeding, we relaxed a little bit. We were caught totally by surprise when the Wildebeest suddenly got up again. It had no chance to get away as it was surrounded by eight lions. The juveniles were all over it. One gripped its nose to block its breathing, others jumped on its back. The lioness held back, as if letting the juveniles train their hunting skills. Amazingly, the wildebeest resisted for a few minutes, showing impressive determination and stamina. But then it was overwhelmed and dropped to the ground, under the weight and pressure of the Lions.