The king of beasts feeding on a giraffe
This lion picture was one of several in a photo sequence that began with the killing of the giraffe and ended with the lion chasing away hyenas, vultures and a hawk from his meal.
The prides in the Kruger National Park where this occured have learnt a unique way of hunting. When it rains the surface of the tar roads in the area become slippery and the big cats seem to have realised this and use it to their advantage.
They round up the nearest giraffe and deliberately chase it towards a road in the hope that it will slip and lose its footing, giving them the chance to pounce and make the kill. That's why a disproportionate number of giraffe kills take place right next to the road, such as this one.
One of the biggest problems when taking lion pictures after you've actually tracked them down is the fact that during the day they hardly do anything except laze around and sleep. Every now and then they might get up, stretch a little bit, move a few metres and then flop down again for the next round of snoozing.
Which doesn't make for very exciting photos, fine if you just want to capture the moment, but if you want some drama and action you will probably be sorely disappointed in most cases.
There are exceptions though, such as when you come across a kill like I did, and the lions are feeding or chasing other animals away. Things can also be a little slow in this instance because when their bellies are full, the big cats - you guessed it, sleep again.
Mating lions are very animated, but only for a short period of time (around a minute or so), after which they both lie down again to recover for the next round. So you need a lot of patience and then the action is fast and furious, make sure your camera is readily accessible.
Drink time can make for some interesting snaps too, especially if there are other large animals around like elephants and rhinos, because they tend to be stubborn about where they want to drink and a bit of a power struggle can develop.
And of course, a hunt provides plenty of action and probably the most dramatic photographs but they are rarely witnessed because the majority of lion hunts happen at night. But for the fortunate, this is a possibility, you just never know what could happen.
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