mandag 28. mars 2022


Lions of Maasai Mara specialise on taking down buffalos. A medium sized lion pride will in average kill one buffalo every third - fourth night. Eventhough its a fairly common drama, you rarely see it in full daylight.

Nikkor 400 2,8, f/2,8, 1/320, ISO 100

Maasai Mara NP, Kenya, March 8th, 2022 :

My good friend Big John Siololo, Mr Maasai Mara himself, respected guide and skilful driver in MM over decades and co-owner of Oltepesi Camp having spent his entire life in the Mara ... told me that he had only ONCE before in his lifetime seen lions take down a buffalo in full daylight. It has been my wet dream for years. However I've been 40 times in eastern & southern Africa to photograph wildlife ... and NEVER had such a sighting. It was clearly too much to hope for  ... but still this "unrealistic dream" has been haunting my mind ! On March 6th we came across a female buffalo giving birth, beeing bullied by a hyena and running straight into the jaws of 4 adult lions. It was hard light that day, but still a "once in a lifetime experience". See my previous post from March 18th.

The "even wilder thing" is that 2 days later, on March 8th, we ran into another lion - buffalo battle in full daylight !! The second lion- buffalo drama within 3 days !! Simply unbelievable ! This time a big buffalo bull was surrounded by the 7 lionesses of the Topi Pride of Northern Maasai Mara. It was late afternoon with nice, soft light, but a bit difficult to get in position for the drama. I was able to use different lenses and as always (!) my longest lens with a bit of distance to the drama comes out the best ... in my opinion. What a relief it was to see that the pics were ok and that I didn't fuck up & waste a chance like this. 

A male buffalo weighs up to 900 kg and is a big and risky prey for the lions. It took the 7 lionesses more than 1 hour of constant battling to take down the buffalo bull. The killing process is of course extremely unsentimental and its difficult to witness this without feeling empathy for the buffalo. On the other hand 7 lionesses, 2 males and 14 cubs had a necessary meal and they had finished the entire carcass within the next morning. Nothing wasted !!

A big, warm thanks to Big John Siololo & Oltepesi Tented Safari Camp.     

Once a lionesse has spotted a possible prey .... her focus is total !!

Nikkor 600 4,0, f/4,0, 1/1250, ISO 400

7 lionesses has isolated & encircled a big male buffalo and the long and risky process of taking down the prey has begun

Nikkor 400 2,8, f/7,1, 1/1250, ISO 1250

Nikkor 460 4,0, f/5,0, 1/1250, ISO 900

Nikkor 600 4,0, f/5,0, 1/1250, ISO 1000

Nikkor 600 4,0, f/5,0, 1/1250, ISO 800

Nikkor 600 4,0, f/5,0, 1/1250, ISO 1000

Nikkor 600 4,0, f/5,0, 1/1250, ISO 900

Nikkor 70-200 2,8, f/5,0, 1/1250, ISO 1250

Nikkor 70-200 4,0, f/5,6, 1/1250, ISO 1250

Once the buffalo is down and exhausted the lioness tries to bite over mouth & nostrils to block the breathing. However the bull is still alive & kicking, so the bite is so far"incomplete" only covering the upper lip

Nikkor 400 2,8, f/5,6, 1/1250, ISO 1100

Finally the lioness manages to bite over mouth & nostrils ... and the buffalo dies after 1 hour of constant battling

Nikkor 400 2,8, f/5,6, 1/1250, ISO 1100

7 lionesses, 2 males and 14 cubs can fill their empty stomachs.

Nikkor 400 2,8, f/5,6, 1/1000, ISO 6400

Some minor disagreements over the food !

Nikkor 600 4,0, f/5,6, 1/1600, ISO 1000

A family dinner

Nikkor 400 2,8, f/3,5, 1/640, ISO 4000

Next morning at sunrise the buffalo is almost gone, only bones left for hyenas & vultures

Nikkor 70-200 2,8, f/3,5, 1/320, ISO 320

 No leftovers !

Nikkor 400 2,8, f/2,8, 1/200, ISO 4500

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