It was a miracle our Afrika Ecco guide saw the first lion lying low in the grass, never mind the other 3 that (unbeknownst to us) were also positioned for attack! The cats were so camouflaged in the golden Moremi grass that the pair of warthogs was completely unaware of their impending doom and continued to graze obliviously.
Baker, experienced guide and veteran of the Moremi Game Reserve, had promised us we wouldn’t be disappointed by this highly reputable wildlife destination of Botswana. Famous for up close encounters with big game in a remarkably diverse environment, the Moremi is one of the most epic places on the planet. Our first major sighting (not counting the endless visions of elephants, marabou storks, giraffe, hyena, hippo, and lechwe that literally littered the place), was of one large male cheetah taunting a herd of red lechwe on Duma Tau plains. Now, we were holding our breath as we watched a lion slowly closing in on a potential meal!
Dead silence ensued as we watched a young lioness move expertly through the grass, inch by inch, and only tore our eyes away to glance at the warthogs, who were blissfully unaware of the threat. There is no room for impatience in a lion hunt, and despite the seemingly obvious power they have over their prey, warthogs are designed to get away quickly and their solid weight and dangerous tusks make them a hazardous choice of prey!
Just as we felt that perhaps the strike would never happen, something spooked the warthogs and in a flurry of dust and grass, they bolted. In the same moment, the lioness we had been watching shot out of her hiding place and made a move for the fleeing pig, and this is where the big surprise came in. 3 Other lionesses rose from the grass only metres from where the warthogs had been grazing and also lunged towards the prey. They had been under our noses the whole time and not one of us had noticed that they had been there at all.
Looking at the footage of this awesome moment, it looks like the warthogs were momentarily spooked, then decided that it was nothing, only to rethink their decision and promptly bolt in 2 different directions. The 4 lions didn’t give much chase and accepted defeat as they watched both warthogs disappear in a cloud of dust. Only the youngster that we had kept our eyes on from the start expended a little extra energy and trotted after one of the warthogs until he hit the horizon.
All 4 cats settled down again and gazed around at their audience. Probably intending to wait out the heat of the day before attempting another strenuous attack. We left with photos, footage, and another fantastic Moremi memory!