The marsh lion pride of Botswana

An aerial view of a pride of lion

Throughout Africa, elephants are not thought of as lion prey, with only three exceptions; the pride manages to separate a small calf from its mother (a rare occurrence), an elephant is very sick and weak, or the lion belongs to Savuti’s notorious Marsh Pride. This fearless pride of lions, which once numbered 30 +, killed 74 elephants during a three year period (1993 – 1996), a phenomenon recorded by filmmakers Beverly and Dereck Joubert. The Joubert’s film, Ultimate Enemies (National Geographic) tells the story, as well as the more recent Planet Earth Series: Great Plains (BBC). This outrageously risqué behavior on the part of the lions happens mainly between August and November, peaking in October. According to scientist Richard John Powder, the lions may be reverting to a role they once had during the Pleistocene era as hunters of megaherbivores. The behavior could also be rooted in Savuti’s long history of drought periods where near-starved elephants were easy to bring down, helping the lions hone their elephant-killing tactics. The introduction of artificial waterholes could have also played a role by encouraging elephants to become permanent residents (rather than migrating to other regions), and so readily available to feed unusually large lion prides. Today, the lion prides of Chobe are more fragmented and lions prey on elephant less frequently, but the legacy remains.

Lion basking in the sun


You might also like

Walking with Meerkats in Botswana

The Makgadikgadi Pans offers guests the incredible chance to spend a morning with a local meerkat colony. The meerkats respond to the non-threatening presence of people by simply carrying on with their daily activities, that consist mainly of rummaging the veld for scorpions and other tasty bites to eat. The habituation of these lively little desert mammals depends very much on the…

Travelling to Botswana

The easiest and fastest way to travel to Botswana is a connecting flight from Johannesburg International Airport (O.R Tambo) in South Africa, although there are also connecting flights from Cape Town and Windhoek (Namibia) available. Currently there are no international carriers that fly directly to Maun Airport. Transport in Botswana is relatively efficient. Getting to your lodge or…

Botswana travel advice

It is good to know that Botswana’s wildlife reserves and national parks are not fenced, so it is possible that wandering wildlife as well as domestic animals will wander onto the main roads and in and around towns. Public bathrooms are mostly basic and might lack items such as toilet paper and hand soap, so if one if travelling through the country by road and exploring the parks on a…

A budget Botswana safari

Budget holiday options for Botswana include self-driving or overland safari tours. These are two exciting and adventurous ways to travel through the country and give visitors the chance be exposed to the country on a more intimate level, in comparison to fly-in safaris, which are also far more expensive. Travelling by road saves on cost, but not on time, so budget-minded travellers will…

Chobe and Savuti Marsh in Botswana

Botswana’s Chobe and Savuti regions constitute a rich diversity of habitats that fall mostly within the boundaries of Chobe National Park, Botswana’s oldest wildlife reserve. The park was proclaimed in 1968 and protects an area of 11,700km2 that at the time of its formation was largely being ravaged by big game hunters and commercial logging. Chobe National Park is located in the…

Kubu Island in Botswana

Kubu Island on Ntwetwe pan is the setting for the region’s greatest cultural mystery. The ‘island’ is nothing more than a rocky outcrop protruding from the crusty white pan, from which is sprouted several gnarly baobabs. It is beautiful in a rugged, enigmatic way, made more so by the presence of puzzling relics and ruins that litter the arid hillside. Artifacts found on the side…

Popular Botswana Safaris

These popular itineraries can be customised to match your budget and travel dates

Ready to start your adventure?

+27 (0)21 422 3498
   discover.africa
    info@discoverafrica.com
    8AM - 5PM GMT+2