To discover a lion pride feeding on an elephant carcass is to view the aftermath of one of Africa’s truly epic encounters.
Northern Botswana’s Chobe Riverfront can feel like the perfect natural arena for fine wildlife encounters – the sandy bank that slopes down to the water’s edge, the vast expanse of water, the endless stream of ungulates drawing near to the water’s edge to drink.
One dry season, I stumbled upon a pride of lions feasting on a giant elephant foreleg right next to the river. It was an echo of the epic lion-versus-elephant encounters known to occur in neighbouring Savuti (Botswana) and Hwange National Park (Zimbabwe), although I had no way of knowing whether the lions had killed the elephant or had simply scavenged its remains after it died of natural causes.
For hours, I watched as the lions squabbled over the leg, wandered down to the water’s edge to drink and even hunted an unsuspecting warthog as if to relieve the boredom of so much elephant meat, all as their coats turned golden in the setting sun.