Our safari guide knew exactly what we wanted, and he was determined that we would not be disappointed. With his keen eye continually surveying the terrain, we crisscrossed the wildlife preserve until he finally gave us a hushed indication that he had spotted something at the edge of the waterhole — something that he was sure would make us happy: lions! Yes, there were lions — and the encounter was even more exciting than we had expected. The lions were not just lounging in the sun; they boasted a recent kill. One lion sat on top of a zebra that it was holding under water in an apparent attempt to drown it. She wanted to ensure that it was dead before letting go of the grip she held upon her prey. An occasional snarl and roar warned the other members of the pride every time they tried to get a little too close to her treasure.
I must admit that it was a heart-stopping thrill to be so close to such an Animal Planet scene — only in real life. Although we weren’t there for the kill, it was easy to conjure up images of the National Geographic episode that must have played out only minutes before our arrival. The lion had stealthily stalked her prey as the unsuspecting zebra paused for a morning drink. When with a sudden bound of energy the predator burst from the tall grass, the zebra raced away at break-neck speed. Exerting every ounce of energy she could muster, the lion pursued her target, finally bouncing upon its hindquarter and bringing it crashing to the ground. As the zebra thrashed and struggled to get loose, the lion only tightened her clamp upon the defenseless subject. With claws securely anchored into the zebra’s flesh, the lion was able to release the grip of her powerful jaw and move into position to attack the jugular vein. After long minutes of anguishing struggle the zebra began to grow less and less resistant until it lay almost limp under the massive feline. Then the predator began to drag her prize to the nearby waterhole to guarantee that her next meal would not surprise her by suddenly bounding back to its feet.