On a recent morning drive, we found the new male lion confidently walking down the road eagerly stopping now and then to check out trees, crevices and new drinking spots. Welgevonden Game Reserve has wonderfully clear, clean and chilled mountain streams together with the Sterkstroom river that crisscross the entire length of the reserve. This specific male has been exploring his new territory extensively. Sometimes covering 25 km a night! While following him I noticed a buffalo bull to our right. I realised that the male lion is going to walk straight past him at a mere few metres! Surprisingly, the lion saw the buffalo and barely gave much notice. He strolled past in the most nonchalantly manner… Amazingly, the buffalo also saw the lion and in a mirror-like response, he barely gave any notice in return.

While I was pondering about this “non-caring” attitude I secretly admitted to myself that I was hoping for a more exciting encounter. At that very moment, I heard loud snorts and serious grunts crashing towards us from our right. In a bizarre and rather late effort, it seemed this buffalo suddenly was not content with the lions ungentlemanly lack of recognition… My secret wish just might be answered! In a very disapproving fashion the buffalo (now “Mr. Buffalo”) stormed out of the bush, seemingly heading straight for the vehicle!! The impression I immediately had was that “Mr. Buffalo” had confused our presence with that of the lions presence.

In his unexpected fit of irritability, I thought for a split second we are going to be charged by this very grumpy bull… It quickly became apparent that he was hell bent on demanding some form of respect and he was very willing to go find it! I rapidly realised we had to get out of the way as his quarrel surely was not with us but with this “contemptuous” lion?!

In a huff & puff “Mr. Buffalo” cantered past eagerly searching for this “dis-respectful” lion. An ancient “bush-brawl” was surely on the cards! Vigorously the old cantankerous buffalo swung his head to and fro, searching for the lion, daring him to return and receive his penance.

Completely uninterested though, the lion just kept his composure and confidently continued to walk without a worry or a care. “Mr. Buffalo’s” enthusiasm faded just as quick as it had started. He dropped his heavy head and slowed his passionate canter down to a slothful walk. Maybe in the buffalos’ world he felt vindicated in some form or another. Or maybe in that moment he just simply forgot what all the fuss was about… Who knows? Animal politics… Not so different from us, wouldn’t you say?

Fritz Breytenbach

Note: Please check the video to see how this story happened.

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