Written by: Carolyn Dunford
I was the first person in the Kruger National Parks Orpen gate at 6am one Friday. Living so close to the gate means I can spend a couple of hours in the park before work and this particular day turned out to be a very special morning drive.
I had been on the road for about half an hour when I noticed some cars crawling towards me – always a good indication that there is wildlife nearby.
And there they were, two huge male lions.
They were walking along the road marking their territory – leaving scent marks on the bushes and rubbing their faces against trees. A couple of minutes passed when a big kudu bull appeared from the bushes. One of the cats immediately went into the typical hunting stance, focussing on his prey. The other lion didn’t seem that interested, he just watched.
The kudu sprung from his hiding place in the bushes and ran out into the road. The lions chased it straight into a backlog of cars. The kudu slipped in the road and was still trying to gain footing on the tar when one lion grabbed it from behind. The other lion grabbed its throat and then there was no escape. The kudu died quickly and there was little struggle once both lions had it.
Having regained our composure, and realised what we had just witnessed, our cars began to jostle out of the way. The males caught their breath and I was lucky to watch as the males began to feed. They ate on the road for around half an hour before dragging the kudu off into the bushes to continue their meal.
The kill had been so quick and unexpected, which made it even more surprising because the lions hadn’t been visibly hunting. An opportunistic hunt like this is a once in a lifetime sighting and those of us lucky enough to have been there were all thrilled.
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