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


Popular Botswana Safaris

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

 | Sabi Sands and Okavango Delta Big Five Tour (8 days)

Sabi Sands and Okavango Delta Big Five Tour (8 days)

Explore the famous reserve that offers exceptional game viewing and sight the elusive Sitatunga antelope in the Okavango ...

 | Waterfalls and Wildlife: Victoria Falls and Chobe National Park Journey (7 days)

Waterfalls and Wildlife: Victoria Falls and Chobe National Park Journey (7 days)

Experience the smoke that thunders and enjoy spotting elephant, buffalo, lion and hippos on the Chobe River...

 | Nature, Romance and Exclusivity - A Complete African Honeymoon (14 days)

Nature, Romance and Exclusivity - A Complete African Honeymoon (14 days)

This exclusive African honeymoon through East and Southern Africa is the perfect way to celebrate the start of your new journey together...

 | Custom-Made Okavango Delta and Victoria Falls Combo Safari (6 days)

Custom-Made Okavango Delta and Victoria Falls Combo Safari (6 days)

Explore two of Africa's most popular World Heritage Sites in under a week...

Dhow at andBeyond Benguerra Island | Luxury Land and Sea Safari in Botswana and Mozambique (10 days)

Luxury Land and Sea Safari in Botswana and Mozambique (10 days)

Experience the Okavango Delta and the tropical Indian Ocean island of Benguerra for the best of both the bush and the beach...

 | Delights of Moremi Game Reserve Safari

Delights of Moremi Game Reserve Safari

Explore the secrets of Botswana's famous Moremi Game Reserve in this short and affordable safari ...

Sunset at Camp Xakanaxa  | Affordable Makgadikgadi Pans and Okavango Delta Safari (7 days)

Affordable Makgadikgadi Pans and Okavango Delta Safari (7 days)

Game viewing by land and water come together at Makgadikgadi, Moremi and the Okavango Delta, treating you to a varied Botswana safari ...

 | Luxury Safari in Botswana and Victoria Falls (7 days)

Luxury Safari in Botswana and Victoria Falls (7 days)

Experience the paradise of Botswana and enjoy game viewing as well as exciting activities in Zambia ...

 | Best of Botswana and South Africa (11 days)

Best of Botswana and South Africa (11 days)

Experience the best of two of southern Africa's gems ...

 | Photographic tour of Botswana (10 days)

Photographic tour of Botswana (10 days)

Let us take you one the adventure of a lifetime through the Chobe National Park, Khwai Community Area and Moremi Game Reserve. ...



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