The African bush is an amazing place filled with many hidden wonders. Spending time in this truly wild place affords one the luxury of observing how different animals interact with their environment as well as each other. Although many of these interactions exude serenity, there are times when the stillness is interrupted, for every day is a battle for survival between predators and their prey. The harsh reality of life in the bush is that in order for some animals to live, other animals must perish. At Londolozi, we understand that nature is about balance, and this is the lens through which we view all wildlife interactions. Rather than favouring one side over another, we simply enjoy the rare privilege of observing nature as it unfolds organically. Thus, when we came across the Nkuhuma Sub-adult lions waiting outside a warthog’s burrow, we prepared ourselves for what was to be another chapter in the long story of predator versus prey.
We were exploring the northern parts of the reserve on a crisp autumn morning not so long ago when we discovered the Piccadilly Female Leopard walking down the road. It was early on in the game drive, so we followed her as she cut upstream into an overgrown dry riverbed. As we tried to keep up with her we noticed, to our astonishment, that up ahead lay a pride of lions. Once we had established what was going on we realized that it was the Nkhuma Sub-adult Lions and that they had stolen a carcass from the Piccadilly Female while she was probably away having a drink of water from a nearby pool. The kill had been hidden in a tree growing out of a termite mound on the bank of the dry riverbed. When she registered that her warthog carcass was gone, the disgruntled leopard slunk off into the bush.
A short while later, the lion’s attention shifted from the blood-stained tree to the termite mound at its base. Dug deep into the side of the mound was a warthog burrow and based on the lion’s sudden excitement we concluded that the inhabitants must still be inside. What followed was to be another titanic battle for survival.
The war between predators and their prey has raged on since time immemorial, and on any given day either side could emerge victoriously. On this particular day, it was the lions that triumphed but more often than not it is the warthogs that outsmart their opponents. Such is the way of nature, a never-ending struggle for survival. We were fortunate enough to catch a rare glimpse of the lengths that animals will go to in their fight for survival. We are grateful that places like Londolozi exist that allow these animals to live in the way that nature intended.