7 Epic Safari Encounters Caught on Film

Any­one who has been on an African safari can attest to the amaz­ing sights and sounds at every turn ― and if you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of Moth­er Nature at her most car­nal. For the record, all of these clips were cap­tured by ama­teur videographers.

Bat­tle at Kruger (South Africa)
The grandad­dy of all ama­teur safari videos, this eight-and-a-half-minute mini-epic has been viewed on YouTube more than 72 mil­lion times. The key play­ers include a herd of water buf­fa­lo, a pride of hun­gry lions, and an oppor­tunis­tic third par­ty that shall remain name­less. If you’ve nev­er seen this footage, then drop what you’re doing right now and enjoy the ride.

The Unex­pect­ed Hitch­hik­er (South Africa)
The safari-goers in this clip (also shot in Kruger Nation­al Park) got an unex­pect­ed treat when a cou­ple of hun­gry chee­tahs gave chase to a herd of impala in the woods sur­round­ing their vehi­cles. What hap­pened next would sound com­plete­ly pre­pos­ter­ous if there was­n’t authen­tic video footage to back it up. Let’s just hope the dri­ver opt­ed for rental insurance.

Charge of the Pachy­derm (South Africa)
For such a uni­ver­sal­ly beloved crea­ture, ele­phants are bloody ter­ri­fy­ing in per­son ― espe­cial­ly if humans invade their ter­ri­to­ry. This clip begins with a testy exchange between pro­fes­sion­al safari guide Johann Lom­bard (who shot the video in Kruger last August) and a cou­ple of angry herd mem­bers who show their dis­plea­sure by trum­pet­ing and stamp­ing their feet, and then things take a decid­ed­ly chaot­ic turn around the 21-sec­ond mark. But Lom­bard insist­ed after the fact that nei­ther the ele­phant nor he or any of his fel­low pas­sen­gers were hurt dur­ing the scary encounter.

A Cyclist’s Worst Night­mare (South Africa)
It’s unclear whether this was a delib­er­ate attack or Evan van der Spuy (of Team Jeep South Africa) was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. But regard­less of motive, his cruise through the bush near Albert Falls abrupt­ly end­ed when a red har­te­beest leapt out of the grass and col­lid­ed with the cyclist mid-air. THIS is why you wear a hel­met, kids.

The Baboon-Snatch­ing Lioness (Kenya)
The baboons in this clip (which was shot in the Sam­bu­ru Nation­al Reserve) prob­a­bly fig­ured that climb­ing a tree was the best way to avoid the pride of hun­gry lions lurk­ing on the ground below. But they cer­tain­ly weren’t count­ing on the agili­ty of one hun­gry lioness ― though when she final­ly nabs one of the small­er baboons, her depar­ture from the tree is any­thing but graceful.

Hip­po to the Res­cue (Tan­za­nia)
More than one mil­lion wilde­beest take part in the Great Migra­tion across the Serengeti every year, and the croc­o­dile-infest­ed Mara Riv­er runs through the cen­ter of their route. The unlucky ungu­late in this clip is about to become lunch for a cou­ple of crocs when a near­by hip­popota­mus decides to lend its fel­low her­bi­vore a hand. What fol­lows is a fero­cious bat­tle between two of Africa’s most dan­ger­ous animals.

Death in the Tree­top
Leop­ards are one of Africa’s most impres­sive killers; an adult can take down an ani­mal two to three times its own body weight, and then haul it up to 20 feet into a tree to deliv­er the fatal blow. What we’re try­ing to say is don’t root for the hye­na in this clip, which was shot at Lon­dolozi Reserve out­side Kruger.