Watch Dozens of Cars Descend On on the Savannah to Watch an Epic Lion vs Wildebeest Battle

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Written by Hannah Crawford

Updated: November 7, 2023

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A female Lion ambushes a Wildebeest at a water hole in Tanzania, the Serengeti
© Karl Weller/

Key Points:

  • The Great Wildebeest Migration in Africa is one of the last mass terrestrial wildlife movements left on Earth.
  • Lions often hunt collectively to improve their chances of taking down larger prey. In the video below, it appears that it’s every lion for herself or himself.

One of the greatest sights to be seen is the hundreds of wildebeest that are crossing a river in Africa. As the video posted below goes on for over six minutes, we never stop seeing dozens of wildebeest running by at a high rate of speed. If there are not hundreds, there are thousands of them! 

What is the Great Wildebeest Migration?

Part of the Great Migration, a herd of wildebeest line up to cross the Mara river in the Masai Mara national reserve

Wildebeest can weigh up to 600 pounds.

©Danijel Mihajlovic, CC BY-SA 4.0 – License

This great movement of wildebeest is otherwise known as the great wildebeest migration. Annually, wildebeest will migrate with over one million wildebeest. 

The Go to Africa guide to the 2023\2024 Wildebeest Migration defines this great wildebeest migration as the following. “The Great Wildebeest Migration in Africa – also known as the Gnu Migration, Serengeti Migration, and Masai Mara Migration – is one of the last mass terrestrial wildlife movements left on the planet. It’s the chief reason why so many travelers venture to Kenya and Tanzania for a Migration safari, especially around mid-year.”

A Lion Pride Takes Advantage of Wildebeests Crossing a River

A female Lion ambushes a Wildebeest at a water hole in Tanzania, the Serengeti

Female lions do most of the hunting in lion prides to provide for themselves and others.

©Karl Weller/

This video posted below starts off with us seeing dozens of vehicles on this African safari. They have stopped to watch all of these wildebeest rushing at incredible speeds of up to 50 miles per hour. What is incredible is that there is a lone lioness by herself. She is waiting on the other side of the water. 

She is boldly unafraid to go in and try to grab one of the wildebeest. What is even more incredible is that her pride is not with her. We see her running around, trying her best to cut one of the wildebeest off from the herd. 

She finally decides she is wasting her energy. So, she sees a small bush and sits down on the other side to try and hide a bit of herself. With hundreds of wildebeest passing by, it was only time before one of them wasn’t paying attention; all she had to do was wait.

Suddenly, at two minutes and seven seconds, with absolutely no warning, we see a male lion jump into camera view and grab a wildebeest directly in front of this lioness. We hear the gasps of the crowd as the king of the jungle rips into this giant wildebeest. 

But that is exactly what this wildebeest is. He is a giant and is not an easy target to take down by himself. We see hundreds of thousands of wildebeest rushing around in hopes they will not be next.

Is It Normal For Lions to Ambush Wildebeests When Crossing Rivers?

Lions are ambush predators, and savvy enough to understand that lying in wait while wildebeests cross a body of water is a prime opportunity to take one by surprise and feast on the spoils of the hunt. The tourists in this video are quite lucky to witness nature taking its course right in front of their faces. What’s interesting is that these lions don’t seem to be working together. Typically, prides will hunt together and even help each other take down larger prey. In this case, it seems the female is left to fend for herself. When she is primed to spring on a passing wildebeest, a large male lion beats her to the punch.

Later we see her with what appears to be a calf. Surprisingly, she leaves it, seemingly more interested in larger prey. But the calf seems unable to regain its footing, so perhaps she thinks it is done for and will still be there. Female lions do a majority of the hunting for their families, so she is likely set on a larger kill that will feed more mouths.

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About the Author

Hannah Crawford is a writer at A-Z Animals where she focuses on reptiles, mammals, and locations in Africa. Hannah has been researching and writing about animals and various countries for over eight years. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Communication\Performance Studies from Pensacola Christian College, which she earned in 2015. Hannah is a resident in Florida, and enjoys theatre, poetry, and growing her fish tank.

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