February saw a very special visit from two male lions who moved into the area to hunt down a buffalo cow. This action happened a mere few hundred metres from the lodge! After gorging themselves on their captured buffalo cow, they watched very closely over their kill. The king lion was even seen quenching his thirst after his meal.
Lion hunting habits
Lions are large and powerful carnivores. They usually hunt at dusk, choosing to rest and sleep during the majority of the day. Their excellent eyesight is a huge advantage for hunting in the dark.
It is normally the lioness who does the hunting - the male plays little part but always eats his fill of the kill first.
Lions love to hunt zebra and wildebeest. This is due to the slower nature of these animals, making them easier to catch than gazelles and small antelopes. The lioness(es) will lie in wait, downwind of the targeted herd. Another lioness will move around the herd until she is upwind. This frightens the herd and chases them straight towards the hidden lioness(es). One animal from the heard is singled out - normally an injured animal, or the slowest in the herd - and is killed by dragging it to the ground, and biting its neck.
If their typical prey choice is scarce, lions will eat almost anything. This includes fallen fruit and carrion, or trying their luck with larger prey such as buffalo. During the latter, lions can often get injured. Their hunting nature is to only kill when hungry. Animal herds are aware of this and will often ignore lions wandering around that they can sense are not out to kill.
Action shots at Masungulo