When you spend time with a pride of lions, there’s always the chance of seeing some interesting behaviour.

Suddenly, we heard loud growls from the honey badger, and then saw it hurry back across the riverbed with several lions in hot pursuit. Just short of the safety of the bush on the far side, the lions grabbed hold of the young honey badger, and we thought that would be the end of it. The parents thought differently with no hesitation the two adult honey badgers charged across the sand, straight into the tangle of lions, sending them in all directions. The lions then regrouped and continued to harass the young honey badger, as its parents growled and snapped to distract the lions and defend their cub.

We now had all but the two big male lions involved in the fray, but this didn’t deter the plucky little honey badgers from earning their well-deserved reputation as the most fearless animal in the bush. They repeatedly charged into the lions to rescue their cub, all the time snarling and uttering a harsh rasping sound. Their fearsome battle cries intimidated the lions, and the cub was saved from the midst of the pride. Once the honey badgers reached the safety of the riverine vegetation, the lions lost interest, and looked faintly embarrassed that such small animals had successfully defended themselves against seven much larger predators. The lions stretched out on the sand, and we left them to continue their evening hunt.

Sightings such as this one are very rare, and once again it showed how effort, patience, and being in the right place at the right time can pay off with unique sightings like this. I think, after this show of courage, the honey badger became the favourite animal of this safari, and certainly has my utmost respect!