Golden Moment: Giant Hippopotamus As Lunch Leader Of Ferocious Lionesses
Pilanesberg field guide, Solomzi Radebe, explained how this unusual sighting of a hippo joining in on a lion’s dinner panned out: “I was on a midday safari and didn’t expect to see much. I had come across a pride of lions on my earlier drive heading towards the waterhole but they didn’t show up as I arrived back. I reckoned that they must have been thirsty and soon they would arrive back for a drink. I waited patiently but no sign of them.”
“On my 2nd drive, I thought, again, it’s hot and I don’t expect much but let me try the waterhole, again, maybe the sun has forced that pride to go drink now.
Thank goodness I managed to come across the pride just as they ambushed an unsuspecting Tsessebe. It was a win-win situation for myself and my guests as we sat there, the only vehicle to take in this incredible moment.”
“We were enjoying the sighting and I started to see a hippo bull come out of the water and advance slowly over towards the kill. In my mind, I thought he was just curious as to what was happening and that he might just chase those lions away.”
“The male hippo advanced slowly towards the lions, followed by two females. His mouth was open wide trying to intimidate the pride. The male lions were not too worried about the hippo but the lionesses and cubs were uncomfortable with his presence and kept a distance from this massive beast.
The male lions stood their ground, but I was wary of the situation not knowing what might happen. Obviously because they were hungry they were not eager to leave the carcass. Everyone knows that hippos have a main diet of mostly grass, although I’ve seen them some years back, hippos chewing on a waterbuck carcass.”
“I could hardly believe my eyes when this hippo invaded the pride’s meal. I applauded him for his tenacity as he didn’t budge an inch and was not intimidated by them at all. In fact, it was as if they were all smoking a peace pipe and having a great lunch together. I realized then that this sighting was not just rare but pure gold as lions on a kill wouldn’t ever allow other animals to come closer than 70m.