Whilst enjoying a late afternoon drive back from the Muchenje Boat Station along the Puku Plains, Synack, one of our guides, and his guests stumbled upon a pride of lions – although a healthy size of 12, Synack’s interest was piqued by one lioness in particular.
They watched with anticipation as she slowly and meticulously stalked a big male impala, her muscles taught with tension and entirely focused on her prey. The lioness lay low and slunk along the river shore and as she neared her quarry the challenges became apparent. Synack and the guests waited with baited breath as they watched to see what she would do.
In front of her was a small channel, about 3m wide, which she would have to navigate across unseen in order to get within striking distance. As the male impala dropped his head to graze, she closed the gap – inching herself closer and closer. Just as she crossed the channel her cover was blown by a pair of noisy blacksmith plovers, they that let out their deafening irritating alarm call and revealed her to the Impala.
She attempted to hide in a bunch of grass, almost begging the ground to swallow her up. On hearing the blacksmith’s alarm, the startled impala jumped a colossal 3 metres in the air and vanished into the bush.
The defeated lioness returned to her pride, and was greeted by her sister who kindly licked her face. Synack illustrates this so beautifully, as if wiping away her tears of frustration and failure.
Images courtesy of Synack Nawa