The combatants are full-grown elephants and hungry lions. The battleground is a muddy waterhole in Botswana.
The harsh and unforgiving fight for survival on the savannahs of Africa is captured in spellbinding fashion. Featuring the spectacular, up-close photography by celebrated wildlife filmmakers Dereck and Beverly Joubert, Ultimate Enemies documents rarely captured behaviour between Africa’s largest and fiercest adversaries, the elephant and the lion, when the rivals are driven together by their desperate need for water.
With the dry season upon them and water becoming a rapidly vanishing commodity on the parched savannahs of Botswana, these unlikely and uneasy neighbours are forced to share close quarters around a shrinking waterhole. Enduring close proximity that neither animal would normally tolerate, a territorial struggle erupts into a shocking and unexpected clash, with deadly results. In an extraordinarily bold move the lions begin to deliberately hunt and attack their mammoth foes.
Botswana’s Chobe National Park is the setting for this mesmerizing film, and the intense, raw beauty of the African savannahs, replete with wildlife of all kinds, is in abundant evidence. Through the use of day and night cinematography, the film crew captures moments of spectacular rivalry and tragic loss, such as when the lions attack herds of elephant calves in the cover of darkness.
Later in the struggle, captive to their thirst, the elephants risk everything to return to the water hole, only to be met by the skeletons of their dead. What follows is a solemn scene of an elephant holding the bone of the departed with his trunk. With moments like these, the filmmakers have brought us emotionally closer to these animals than ever before.
Will the lions continue their onslaught? Will the elephants return to the water hole and become victims of their ferocious enemies? With the cycle of life or death, nothing remains constant.