In the heart of the African wilderness, a battle for survival unfolds. Two buffaloes and a herd of elephants find themselves facing a formidable challenge—22 lions of the Kambula pride. This extraordinary encounter took place at the renowned MalaMala Game Reserve, and we were there to capture every heart-stopping moment.”

Safari Guide: “We had just finished brunch after a successful morning drive when we heard the distress calls of a buffalo being hunted across the Sand River from MalaMala Main Camp. I called my guests and asked them if they were interested in going out again to witness the scene – they were very keen.”

Within minutes, we arrived at the scene, where the Kambula pride was in the midst of their hunt. The tension was palpable as we watched the lions strategize and make their move.

2 Buffaloes & 20 Elephants Are No Match for 22 Lions

2 Buffaloes & 20 Elephants Are No Match for 22 Lions

Safari Guide: “It took the lions about 2 hours to bring this buffalo down, and although it’s a natural occurrence in the ecosystem, its helpless moaning and groaning made it difficult to watch. Eventually, when the buffalo ran out of steam, it drew its final breath, and the lions started to feed.”

As the lions reveled in their hard-earned meal, an unexpected challenger emerged. A herd of elephants, drawn by the smell of death and lions, approached the scene. They were not happy with what they saw and decided to confront the lions.

2 Buffaloes & 20 Elephants Are No Match for 22 Lions

2 Buffaloes & 20 Elephants Are No Match for 22 Lions

Safari Guide: “The elephants were determined to protect their fallen comrade. They tried to chase the lions away, and initially, the lions gave way. But then, one sub-adult male lion decided to test the elephants’ resolve.”

In a bold move, the young lion charged at the elephants, catching them off-guard. It was a risky move, and the elephants hesitated, unsure of how to respond.

The elephants mulled over their options, their deep rumbling calls echoing through the wilderness. After a moment of contemplation, they made a decision. They retreated, moving down to the river below.

With the elephants gone, the lions returned to their meal, their hunger satisfied for now. They would feed on the buffalo carcass for the next day and a half, providing sustenance for the entire pride.

2 Buffaloes & 20 Elephants Are No Match for 22 Lions

Encounters like these are a part of daily life in the Greater Kruger National Park, but witnessing such a remarkable event is still relatively rare. Working at MalaMala Game Reserve, I’ve had the privilege of experiencing many incredible interactions.

As the sun sets on this captivating spectacle, we are reminded of the raw beauty and unforgiving nature of the animal kingdom. So, next time you embark on a safari adventure, remember to bring a bean bag for stability, set up your camera, and allow yourself to immerse in the wonders that await.