I was out on drive with Civilised (Guide), Jack (Tracker) and two guests of Tanda Tula. We headed west looking to pick up tracks of the three Machaton Males. There was a large herd of Cape Buffalo which we thought the lion might be following, so we headed off in their direction to hopefully catch a glimpse of these special big five animals.
Dusk was nearly upon us when we finally located the herd. Civilised parked the Land Rover on a termite mound at the rear of the herd and it was there that we waited for the much anticipated appearance of the three males. Five minutes passed without a sign of them. The only tell-tale sign was a large female buffalo who kept looking back with a look of concern.
As soon as the female buffalo continued to graze and shuffled on behind the herd, we spotted a large male lion come through the thickets with extreme purpose and intent. He lay down on the termite mound next to us with eyes firmly fixed on the herd, and that is when the two younger males caught up with him.
The light was fading and it was now impossible to continue photographing them. They had obviously timed the mission around the fading light, as Civilised informed us that the two younger males would be harder to spot at night as they did not have their mane yet. The two younger males would target a weak or sick buffalo and once they had engaged with it, the older male would be the one to take it down as he has more strength.
Unfortunately that is where the tale ends. The time had come to turn around and return to camp.
Words and images by Dan George