It had begun as unique as any morning in the bush could. There was tranquility in the sounds of the flowing Sand River. The water was not yet rampant but a steady gush downstream. Across on the northern bank of the river a lone giraffe hesitantly dabbed his hooves in the muddy swirls. He was unsure, unsteady but felt a persistent desire to cross southwards. Perhaps the summer leaves seemed more lush on the other side or perhaps he was enticed by a journey he had spotted. The reasons were unclear, the result was tragic.
The smooth granite rocks on the Sand river are a deathtrap when wet. They have claimed the lives of giraffe before and the hardened stone had seen this similar scenario play out many times. Awkwardly slipping in the slowly rising stream of water, the giraffe falls and cannot get itself back up. If the current is strong it is washed downstream to the crocodiles and catfish. If it lands on the rock, the fall alone will more than likely kill it. For this gentle giant, the latter was true.
The Sparta Pride had also moved towards the river that morning and upon arriving from the opposite direction, a lioness spotted the bounty. Delicately perched on the southern side of the river, the giraffe lay amidst of swathe of spiky reeds. At first the lioness, inquisitive and hungry, started to feed alone. Then like the rising flow of the river, the pride joined her in feeding. The river and the pride pulsated together, in unison, both steadily getting more aggressive. Each wanted to claim the prize. The rapids snarled whilst the pride growled, both with the rampant hunger for the lifeless giraffe caught in the middle. Unbeknown to both, a third participant was moving silently and steadily upstream
> By nightfall the pride was still in the throes of feeding. They had slowed to drips and drabs of occasional scoffing, so full they could barely roll over to let out groans of pain from overindulging. It was just the lone lioness feeding by herself again…or so she thought. From beneath the disturbed water, eyes appeared, then a creased snout, white teeth glistened and suddenly a massive crocodile emerged upwards and onto the hind quarter of the giraffe, seizing a chunk of flesh. The lioness was unfazed, unencumbered by the competition and continued to feed more intensely, as if unsure of where her next meal would come from.
The starry night had moved westwards when the sighting was eventually left alone. The lioness and the crocodile were still in a ping pong battle for the remains. Early the next morning the pride lay in the same position, except for one. Where was the lioness? In the eddie off to the left of the current, two eyes and the ribbed snout of a crocodile stared menacingly towards the pride before disappearing beneath the surface.
Did the lioness slip and drown like the giraffe? Did the crocodile embroil her in a deathly conflict? Or has she uncharacteristically left the pride to wander alone? We are still trying to work out all the details….what are you thoughts?
Filmed & Photographed by: Adam Bannister
Written by: Rich Laburn