The Okavango may be a verdant garden, but it draws all of Africa’s big-game players towards it, and that leads to incredible conflict in paradise. Even the biggest, the
African elephant, is not excluded.
As the dry season begins in earnest, lions, leopards, crocodiles and hyenas need all their cunning to survive and hunt effectively here. The pickings aren’t easy, but as the water dries and prey species break cover to drink at the rapidly diminishing water holes, the advantage tilts towards the meat eaters.
When the summer rains begin, a pulse of water floods down from the Angolan highlands and the islands burst into emerald green. Massive schools of catfish churn
the water around the island, and tiny electric fish called momyrids hide from them beneath the papyrus. A mother python seeks a hidey hole to lay eggs in.
As temperatures drop, the water clears, and crocodiles and tigerfish take up strategic spots in the leafy shadows. Baby darters slip off tree branches and fall prey to the crocodiles while the tigerfish engage in a feeding frenzy, devouring spawning minnows
in the shallows.
As the waters gradually recede, thirsty herbivores stumble in from the dry, outlying desert, straight into the territory of the island’s pride of lions. Herds of buffalo, hundreds strong, move into the exposed tongues of dry land to feed. But with 5 cubs to feed, the lionesses have it tough. Eventually, the buffalo will move on, leaving the lions with a difficult choice. Starve in the dust or turn their hunting prowess to the biggest of prey. Can they succeed in collectively taking down an elephant?