Sunrise, Lady Luck and a Lion Kill

The early bird caught the worm on a recent sunrise cruise at Tongabezi Lodge. Two lucky guests who arose for the early morning wakeup call were treated to one of the most unique sightings of all time – lions along the Zambezi River’s edge.

And it wasn’t just any sighting of one or two lions that required a pair of binoculars to see; it was a pride of 11.They plonked themselves centre stage on the banks of the river in the Zambezi National Park and fed on a buffalo kill.

Lion kill sighting
Image by Michael Voack

Before any wildlife outing, or boat cruise in this case, we like to inform our guests that luck can play a huge part on safari. A guide’s knowledge, skill, and sixth sense can go a long way, but oftentimes we have our old friend Lady Luck on our side to thank.

On this particular early morning cruise, Luck was sitting with us the whole time, along with a congregation of white faced vultures in a nearby tree and our river guide, Felix’s hawk-like eyesight. The vultures caught his attention and he immediately turned the boat towards a small area accessible for animals to drink at the river’s edge. It was at this spot that 11 hungry lions greeted us.

Lion kill, Zambezi River
Image by Michael Voack

We can only assume the buffalo was quenching its thirst in the late evening/early morning and had fallen prey to the king of the African bush. However, the pride male seemed to have already consumed his ‘elegant sufficiency’ before we arrived at the scene and retreated to a shady tree out of sight.

We weren’t bothered though because the rest of the pride put on quite an entertaining display as they depleted the leftover scraps.

Here are just a few of the gory highlights:

There was lip licking.

Lion kill, Zambezi River
Image by Michael Voack

There was a belly-up youngster.

Lion sighting along Zambezi
Image by Michael Voack

There were blood stained faces and paws.

Lion kill on buffalo
Image by Michael Voack

And there was chillaxing.

Lion sighting along Zambezi
Image by Michael Voack

The guide and the two guests alike couldn’t believe what unfolded before their eyes. To say this lion sighting was a rarity is an understatement.

The moral of this wildlife story? Wake up in time for the sunrise river cruise or morning game drive and have a little faith in Lady Luck, because she tends to favour the early birds!