The moment a couple of lions tried to take down a herd of buffalo… and came off worse! Killer cats flee with their tails between their legs when hunt goes wrong

As the cape buffalo is one of the deadliest animals in South Africa, it takes an entire pride of lions to dare to attack it.

Although the lions normally succeed, this time, they found themselves outnumbered.

A photographer captured the incredible moment when a herd of buffalo turned hunters into the hunted as they attacked a pride of lions who had come into their midst in the Kruger National Park, northeast South Africa.

The amazing scenes were captured by local photographer Tim Driman, 67, who had intended to snap the herd by a watering hole in the national park.

Quick escape: A young lion is forced to run for his life as the hunters become the hunted when a herd of buffalo turn on a lion pride

Dash for freedom: Although a pride of lions would single out the weakest buffalo and pounce on it en-masse, this time, the buffalo were too many for them, and attacked the predators

Nowhere to run: The buffalo notice the older male hiding between the two fallen logs, right, and abandon their pursuit of the young lion

‘In my experience, lions tend to be very wary of tackling buffalo unless they have a team in numbers and often still require a large male lion to administer the final coup de grace,’ he said.

‘Very often a large herd of buffalo will attract a pride of lions because they’re a good catch and the lions learn and specialise in killing buffalo. They’re never far away!’

But in this unique sequence of images, the buffalo far outnumber the lions, giving them the confidence to become the hunters as opposed to their usual role as the prey.

Tim said: ‘One evening while we sat at a water hole, we heard a dull thunder coming from the hill across the water and noticed a great billowing of dust caught above the tree-line.

Buffalo herd save friend from lion attack in South Africa

Surrounded: Within seconds, the buffalo has rounded on the lion, biting and attacking it with their horns and hooves, the fear and fury clearly visible on the lion’s face

Run boy, run! The younger male members of the pride are sent packing by a very aggressive buffalo bull

Nature at work: The amazing scenes were captured in Kruger National Park, northeast South Africa

Satisfied with having chased the lions away, the herd of buffalo disappear into the bushes

‘While I levelled my big lens to capture what I hoped would be some dramatic shots of stampeding buffalo, I momentarily caught a glimpse of two lions amongst them.

‘As I watched, I noticed that there were, in fact, at least six lions and they were frantically trying to get out of there!

‘Suddenly, a very thin female and a male of about three-years-old broke cover after being pursued by a very aggressive buffalo bull.’

The final images even show the buffalos with their tails in the air, a clear sign of heightened aggression while pursuing the male lion.

Tim said: ‘They clearly intended to kill him! The male had to defend himself from the onslaught and run for his life.

‘In all my years in the bush, I have never witnessed anything quite as vicious as the aggression displayed by those buffalos.’