25 year old, Dean Grant, works in the construction industry as a Finance and Operations Manager but during his off-time, he decided to head off to the Kruger National Park with his family. “Having visited game parks on many family holidays growing up, we had never seen anything like this. We told many rangers about our experience none of which had ever heard of such a thing and said if they had been asked "would lion ever attack a hippo?", they would have said no.
We saw the attack quite early in the morning. We had driven into the park from Mjejane as soon as the gates were open. We decided to go west along the river to start our drive. All our eyes were peeled, we were feeling fresh and excited searching the bush in anticipation, not knowing what our first big spot of the day would be. We were really hoping to see some cats as we had yet to tick those off our lists. We hardly expected to see a pride of 8 females and some teenage cubs in full attack mode right in front of us. The initial sighting of the lions, full of energy, sparked excitement. This was followed by a feeling of sorrow for the poor old hippo who didn’t stand much chance against the lion pride.
Horror, when the thought of how much pain and stress the hippo was in and to see the hippo’s eyes realise imminent death.
However, as this is an event of life taking its course, I felt a sense of respect for the lion pride’s hard work and determination to make their next big kill to feed the pride. A feeling of uncertainty also made an appearance as the hippo made a move towards the river, “Was the hippo maybe going to make a great escape and get itself down to the river?”. It was a moment for which I will always feel privileged to have witnessed this scene unwind.
The sighting ended when the hippo made its way down into a ditch off the road just out of sight. The lions where now taking turns at attacking the hippo and getting through its tough skin while the others lay up the hill in the shade panting and taking small naps.
Knowing that the hippo’s chances were now over they were no longer in a rush. We watched the exhausted lions for a while before driving off feeling very privileged. We returned later that afternoon to find the lions passed out and very full from their well-deserved meal.”