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“A Bridge to Freedom: Baboons’ Desperate Fight to Avoid Lions’ Deadly Grasp”


This troop of baboons found itself stuck several feet in the air, surrounded by lions. With nowhere to go, the baboons found themselves hanging on the bridge!

Mike Botes, a guide at MalaMala Game Reserve, was able to capture this very interesting and funny behavior on video. He shared the story and footage with

The West Street Bridge is a famous bridge in the heart of the MalaMala concession that gives guides and guests a safe way to cross the Sand River in the wet season. Sightings on and around the bridge are always unique, as they offer different angles for photography.

“We had been out on a game drive, following the Kambula pride of lions along with their pride males, the Ndhzenga males. We thought they were headed for the Sand River, perhaps in search of a drink. But it soon became apparent that they did not actually want to drink but rather wanted to cross the Sand River. They were heading straight for the West Street Bridge.”

Baboons are some of the animals that are extremely fond of the bridge, as it offers them a high vantage point from which to look out for any potential threats. Guests to MalaMala are often greeted with these primates going about their monkey business, grooming themselves, and playing catch in the middle of the bridge.


“This particular day was no different, as a troop of baboons was soaking up the morning sun on the bridge. Unfortunately for them, the warm sun was just so good that they lost focus and did not see the lions approaching. I instantly saw what was happening and decided to veer off to the side and watch from down below.”

“The lions strolled onto the bridge with not a care in the world. As for the baboons, it was too late. They let out screeches and alarm calls, alerting every mammal and bird in the vicinity. The baboons scrambled, and it was havoc. Unfortunately, surrounded and unable to outrun the lions, the baboons had to think on their feet to survive.”

“To our amazement, the baboons dashed under the bridge! Yes, under the bridge. Hanging onto the metal bars under the bridge, they knew they were safe. The baboons, feeling confident now that they were out of reach, began taunting the lions. They were literally under the lions’ noses, and the lions could not do a thing.”

Sometimes, the African bush gives you sightings that are eye-opening and traumatic, but on some days like these, the African bush can surprise you and leave you rolling in laughter.


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