A lion was forced to flee from a battle with a herd of buffalo who mounted a spirited defence of their calves in South Africa.
In the epic fight at Kruger National Park the lions were first to approach the buffalo but the tide quickly turned as the herd charged at their attackers.
Wildlife photographer Stefenie Botha, 27, came breathtakingly close to the hunt and captured the stunning pictures on camera.
Despite their misjudgement the lions did manage to walk away with a partial prize after successfully taking down two calves.
Run for your life! A female lion sprints away across the grassland with two of the buffalo in pursuit, as the herd mounts a furious defence of its calves during a battle in Kruger National Park, South Africa
Single combat: A male lion grapples with a buffalo, as the horned animal attacks its opponent with its head while the lion uses its paws to cling on to the buffalo’s front legs
Battle scars: One of the lions has blood on its mouth as three of the pride collect their prize, finishing off one of the buffalo. After the buffalo stopped fighting back, the lions killed the calves and started eating
One shot shows a terrified female lion sprinting away from the fight as two of the buffalo pursue her across the grassy land.
In another picture the male lion grapples with a buffalo, as the horned animal attacks its opponent with its head while the lion uses its paws to cling on to the buffalo’s front legs.
Ms Botha said: ‘My adrenaline was pumping. I was excited and could not believe what was happening. The whole herd of buffalo turned back and ran in the direction of the lions.
‘The herd smashed through the lions and I thought the one female lion got trampled to death, but fortunately she was okay.
‘Four of the lions caught a buffalo calf on the one side of the road and another female caught another calf on our side.
‘Both the buffalo calves were saved, but the lions went back and took another two calves. After the buffalo stopped fighting back, the lions killed the calves and started eating.’
Lonely battle: One of the lions faces a head-on assault from a buffalo as dozens of the horned animal’s comrades look on
Clash of the titans: A buffalo looks on as three of the lions lie on the ground in South Africa. Despite their misjudgement the lions did manage to walk away from the fight with two buffalo scalps
Clash of heads: One of the lions tries to leap out of the way as it is charged at by a rampaging buffalo, while another lion stays low to the ground and attempts to keep out of harm’s way
Out numbered: One of the lions topples to a ground and another turns to run away as a buffalo charges at them with dozens more of the horned animals lying in wait in the background
I’m coming: A buffalo charges with its horns as one of the lions leaps out of the way with a terrified expression on its face