Unfortunately for the lion, the herd was not ready to give up and waited for the animal to fall
The king of the jungle was left with his tail between his legs after escaping a herd of angry buffalo – by climbing a tree.
The rare pictures, captured in the Maasai Mara in March, show the cowardly lion fleeing danger with a terrified look on his face.
But despite retreating to the unusual safety zone the danger was not yet over as the bovines – prone to trampling – gathered under the tree to wait for the lion to fall.
Charles Comyn, a 63-year-old ex-Army official, was exploring the reserve in Kenya with his wife.
The pair were on their last safari of their holiday – but had no inkling that their lasting memory was yet to come.
The terrified lion flees from the herd of buffalo (Barcroft)
Together with their experienced guide the couple parked next to a herd of buffalo who were carefully guarding a newborn calf.
But the animals – known for unpredictable behaviour – suddenly became nervous.
Mr Comyn said: "All of a sudden, literally out of nowhere, a male lion sprang out from his hiding place hightailing for a nearby tree with the buffalo now starting to give chase.
"It didn't take long before the lion had scrambled up the tree, fearing for its life.
"The marauding buffalo circled below, smelling the lion. They were not going to let it get away."
The herd had realised the lion was stalking the young buffalo and were not about to give the lion a lucky escape.
A lion clings to a tree as an angry buffalo herd waits below in the Maasai Mara, Kenya (Barcroft)
But after a few seconds of clinging onto the tree the cowering lion became to tremble and tire and started to slide down the bark.
Out of desperation the big cat let out a snarl and suddenly leapt from the tree, ran towards Mr Comyn's jeep and disappeared into the bush – with a look of terror clear on his face.
Mr Comyn said: "It was a hair-tingling moment. The lion could not hang for long – one could really sense that he was almost doomed – so he had to make another attempt to flee.
"Very quickly the buffalo resumed their early morning grazing. It was only then that we spotted the newly born calf in the middle of the herd, which they obviously had been protecting from the lion who possibly had spotted a potential 'light' breakfast."