Old buffalo outsmarts lions in a battle of life and death

By Mohammed Kathrada,
A buffalo ran into a river to escape young lions. Photo courtesy of Latest Sightings
A buffalo ran into a river to escape young lions. Photo courtesy of Latest Sightings

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A lone Buffalo outsmarts lions and survives an attack from the whole pride by using a crocodile infested river to his advantage.

Antoni Britz, manager at Elephant Walk Retreat in Kruger National Park in South Africa, captured this incredible scene and shared it with


"Elephant Walk Retreat situated 50 m from the Crocodile Bridge entrance to the Kruger National Park offers self-catering accommodation with views overlooking the Crocodile River. On this particular day one of our staff members, Sipho, who was working in unit 8, spotted lions from the deck and came to call me."

"There was also a lone buffalo who had come down for a drink at the river. The lions began stalking him, but luckily for the buffalo, he saw them, and charged. It was the Vurhami Pride, and they have quite a few sub-adults in the pride, who are quite inexperienced, they seemed nervous of the buffalo and didn't want to take him on properly. They kept their distance, but didn't give up."

Young lions learn confidence in hunting from observing and imitating the seasoned hunters in their pride. They acquire vital skills such as stalking silently through tall grass, strategic group ambushes, and precise timing. This all enables lions to develop the ability in analyzing and adapting to different prey behaviors.


"The buffalo ran into the river, in hopes of escaping the lions. At this point the lions were left a little confused and conflicted regarding what to do next. The buffalo realized that he wasn't going to survive if he just stood in the crocodile-infested water, so he crossed over to our side of the river."

"The lions accepted their defeat and began to drink water. You could almost see the relief on the old buffaloes face as the lions left the riverbed one by one. Perhaps they too didn't feel brave enough to cross crocodile infested water just to get some food."

"We are lucky to have great sightings at Elephant Walk Retreat and often see lion here. Since I've worked here (2017) we have seen quite a few hunts and kills, but the Vurhami Pride hasn't visited in a while. I am delighted to have seen them here again. Hoping they'll visit more now that we are going into our dry season, and we'll have more game coming to the river to drink."

This article first appeared on Latest Sightings.

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