Buffalo King

The crunching of rabbit bones is loud, even from 15 meters away, over the din of my chatty guide. The lion licks the bones, tears the meat and crunches merrily, all the while looked on by a dissatisfied lionesse.

“There’s something not right,” says Julius. “Males don’t stop to eat during copulation.”

It’s the lion equivalent of turning on the footy half-way through the act.

Finally, the lioness gives up and wanders off in disgust. The lion finishes his feast and heads over the river, where he meets another lion. We wait for a clash of the titans but the two merely sniff each other, recognise their brother, then team up to hunt the buffalo we’d passed earlier.

They cruise slowly through the scrub, the wind in their favour. The buffalo don’t even know they’re there. But then they stop their monotonous chewing and look up. The three birds riding on their backs, little oxpeckers, tighten their grip as the largest male lifts his tail and lets loose a stream of poo.

“Look! He’s getting ready! That’s stress defecation!” shrieks Julius, dancing in his seat. The male buffalo then leads his girlfriends into the scrub, directly in the lions’ path.

It’s a rout.

The two lions see the angry buffalos and turn as one to saunter back the way they came. But the buffalo comes at them again, head lowered, and charges the big cats, who give up all pretense of looking cool and, with tails between their legs, break into a run. The primo buffalo shakes his head and snorts, the oxpeckers resume their grooming of their mount.

They know the lion is not king of the plains, and have put their money on the right horse.

About the author

Fear is found on a creaking glacier in the Caucasus mountains and joy is encapsulated in the perfect Shanghai dumpling. And while I love a $500-a-night hotel room (who doesn’t?), sometimes the best stories are found in a $20 guesthouse. With an eye always out for good markets and great street eats, I write the travel news and features for the Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne’s The Age newspapers, and features for whoever else asks. I have a particular soft spot for the wilds of the Middle East, scarves and carpets. My articles and photographs have been published in a range of consumer magazines and newspapers in Australia and abroad, and occasionally I chat on radio, too, from Essentials Magazine to 3AW or the Irish Times.

6 thoughts on “Buffalo King

  1. Hi Belle, seems you have again a problem with your cam or the cable for the cam… Where are your nice photos?!… I'm afraird, is it stolen from you ? :). Hope you are ok, Cairo is missing you !!

  2. Hey Aladin, I lost all my programs with that spyware issue and don't have the disks, but have just found a low-great MS one that does the trick. Pix coming! b

  3. This sounds like a big night back in Adelaide…late one night in a busy popular local Pub! Although I have to say the Pub food sounds a bit less appertising!

  4. good read. sounds like india – animals animals animals! wish you could include the bit you told me about the Maasi and their social customs and religion … too funny!!

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