It takes a small pride of East African lions (Panthera leo massaicus) just two hours to consume
an adult zebra. Lake Nakuru National Park, Kenya.

Wild Cats - Part 3

East Africa would be the world's best place to see wild cats, if its Nature reserves weren't so overregulated. Due to stupid restrictions and extortion schemes, in most parks you are not allowed to walk around or to drive from 7 pm to 6am (see Africa page for a more detailed discussion of "safety" issues in African parks). Unless you are willing to break the rules, you are mostly limited to watching sleeping lions. You can easily find them by following flocks of vultures or busloads of tourists. Vultures are all connected by visual contact, safari vehicle drivers - by radio.
lion lion lion
Lions at rest, Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania.
Lioness, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.
An hour or two before sunrise, lions finally wake up and start moving around. That's just when you are required to leave them and head to your safari lodge or campsite. lion
Lioness, Buffalo Springs Nature Reserve, Kenya.
lion lion
Lions on a rocky outcrop, Serengeti, Tanzania.
Lion on a rocky outcrop, Serengeti.
Lions often begin their hunt by climbing on rocky outcrops (locally called kopjes), termite mounds, or other elevated places to look for potential prey in the area. lion
Lioness on a rocky outcrop, Serengeti.
Lions looking for prey, Serengeti.
Lioness on a hunt, Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda.
This female was behaving in an unusual way, and
tried to stalk me at night. Murchison Falls.
Their greyish-yellow color might seem dull during the day, but it looks really beautiful at sunset or sunrise. Their search for prey might continue well into the night, and sometimes until the next morning. It is not unusual for lion prides to go hungry for up to a week, especially in desert areas where big game is scarce. lion
She reportedly killed a man one month after the
photo was taken, and was shot. Murchison Falls.
lion lion
Lioness resting after an unsuccessful night hunt, Samburu Nature Reserve, Kenya.
African buffalo can weigh up to 900 kg, but even
large healthy males are sometimes killed by lions.
Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania.
Lions are versatile hunters, and would try to kill almost anything that moves. Ancient lion dens in caves are a good place to look for fossilized bones of early hominids. In some parts of Africa they regularly hunt elephants or giraffes. Some prides prefer to hunt African buffalo, even when less dangerous prey is present. bubal
Hartebeest (Alcelaphus buselaphus) is the favorite
prey of lions in parts of Uganda and Sudan.
Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda. .
This buffalo was very old and sick, and didn't put up any resistance
when two lions slowly killed it in broad daylight. Serengeti.
The most interesting things in lions' life usually happen at night. This
large male buffalo was killed in just 2.5 minutes. Serengeti.
Burchell's zebras (Equus burchelli),
Lake Nakuru.
In Kenya and Tanzania, the favorite prey species of lions are zebras and wildebeest. They are apparently easy to catch, and make a perfect meal for an average-size pride. The great wildebeest migration is a big fiesta for local lions. wildebeest
Blue wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus),
Ngorongoro Crater.
herd herd
Endless herds of migrating wildebeest, Serengeti.
Grevy's zebra (E. grevyi), Buffalo Springs Nature Reserve,
In northern Kenya, where two species of zebras occur together, Burchell's zebras are killed more often than Grevy's zebras, which are larger, faster, and live in more open areas. zebra
Burchell's zebras and a giraffe (Giraffa cameleopardus),
Tsavo West National Park, Kenya.
Burchell's zebras, Ngorongoro Crater.
Grevy's zebra, Buffalo Springs.
Lions at a zebra kill, Lake Nakuru.
Never approach lions at a kill on foot unless you really know what you are doing. lions
Lions at a zebra kill, Lake Nakuru.
Tails, horns, ears and hooves of killed prey often become toys for lion
cubs. Masai Mara Nature Reserve, Kenya.
After a good meal, lions usually head for a shady place for a little
beauty sleep. Murchison Falls. .
Lion, jackal and hyena near a kill, Lake Nakuru.
Spotted hyenas (Crocuta crocuta), black-backed jackals (Canis mesomelas), and various vultures can often be seen waiting for scraps from lion kills. Interestingly, lions usually don't pay attention to jackals, but they hate hyenas, and try to chase them away even if full belly makes it difficult for them to run. track
Lion track, Queen Elizabeth Nat'l Park, Uganda.
Black-backed jackals, Ngorongoro.
Spotted hyena, Ngorongoro.

Leftover bones of lion kills are eventually utilized
by rodents and bone-eating beetles. Ngorongoro.

Part Four

Back to Part Two