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June 2023

When people’s reactions become speechless, to witness the fairest animal, a pride of lions feasting on a waterbuck kill. As a ranger being out all the time, we get to witness a large number of different sightings, but for our guests, being on a Safari for the first time, you always wonder what’s going through their minds, when they witness these things for the very first time. Lions are born and raised in the grasslands and savanna, where they become natural athletes, to hunt, kill and defend their territories.

The morning game drives here at Mateya starts at sunrise 07:00 AM with temperatures between 3 – 6 degrees. We are well prepared for the cold mornings and our guests can enjoy a hot water bottle and a warm blanket while out on game drive. The afternoon drives, depart at 15:30 PM, so that we have enough day light viewing the animals, with temperatures dropping from 22 – 16 degrees, with the sun setting at 17:37 PM.

The majority of the time, male lions patrol and protect the prides territory, where females are tasked with hunting to satisfy their diet made up of mammals like wildebeest, zebra, buffalo and impala. When food becomes scares, male lions may assist the females with bigger prey like giraffes, elephants and hippos, etc. During this sighting, no male was present, and the females managed to take down a waterbuck bull in the early morning hours. Having a success rate of 30%, they will always be opportunistic when their eyes see movement in the African bush.

How do lions kill? They will stalk their prey and when close enough, they will attempt a charge. Lions will unleash sharp retractable claws into their prey to have better grip to bring the animal down. Usually, they will try to jump on their target or knock it over. They will try to break the animal’s neck or suffocate it by attaching their jaws around his throat to block the windpipe for the animal to suffocate. Generally speaking, from my experience, when the prey has been brought down, often the females will let the youngsters take over. This will be a good learning curve for them of how to kill and where they must start opening the carcass to eat the animal. In the beginning it’s more seen as playtime, but later on it will become more serious.

Our guests here at Mateya went back with all smiles and couldn’t stop talking about the extraordinary sighting they’ve had for the morning.

Until next time

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