Lions are strategic hunters that often rely on teamwork to tackle their prey. The big cats are successful cooperative hunters and each member of the pride has a part to play in order to secure a meal. Simeoné Lategan from Leopard’s Lair Bush Lodge and Anton Lategan from EcoTraining witnessed this well-orchestrated hunting strategy in action when they spotted a pride of lions pursuing impalas along the banks of Lake Kariba on the Zambia-Zimbabwe border.

The thrilling encounter was filmed from a houseboat, and the resulting footage recently uploaded to the Latest Sightings YouTube channel. An initial foray down the sprawling, artificial lake yielded sightings of buffaloes and elephants, but things took a turn for the dramatic as the group returned and noticed a flurry of activity on Fothergill Island within the Matusadona National Park in Zimbabwe. "It appeared to be lions from a distance, and as we got closer, it became clear: 22 lions hunting a massive herd of impala," Simeoné Lategan explained to Latest Sightings.

In a typical ambush approach, the pride had split up and flanked the impala herd. Some of the lions were chasing the herd towards the lake where another contingent of cats were lying in wait. As the antelope approached the water's edge, they were met with a gauntlet of claws and jaws and had to use every ounce of athleticism to safely avoid the ambush. "Some of the impala came within inches of being caught, while others managed to make a safe escape," Lategan recalls.

One unlucky impala chose the wrong route and despite successfully clearing two of the big cats, it failed to dodge the third and the hunt ended abruptly in a cloud of dust at the water's edge. "One by one, the lions came running in to have a piece of the meal. A small antelope for 22 lions doesn’t last very long, so they all knew they had to grab what they could while it was still there," says Lategan.

"At this point, we just sat in awe of how lucky we were to have this sighting all to ourselves," she added. "Sitting on a boat a few metres from shore and watching 22 lions successfully hunt and eat an impala is not something everybody can say they have experienced."