Four seasons in one week

By Chad Cocking

Even in the limited number of hours that a single week posseses, Mother Nature has somehow managed to cram in all four seasons! We went from sweltering summer afternoons to cold, windy days that forced us to don jackets and crank up the heaters (even us guides had to give in and put on a pair of long trousers!). The Timbavati may have had it all on the weather-front, but I can tell you it wasn’t half-bad on the animal front either!

The lions remained very prominent in the first part of the week, with the Ross females and Mbiri males spending time in the area around Tanda Tula Safari Camp. However,as the weather conditions worsened, they became a bit more difficult to track down with certain areas becoming muddy and water drenched which makes it almost impossible to go off road and follow these big cats.

It was a good week for leopards, the highlight being the aging Nthombi female who was found mating with a new male. We are referring to him as the Tamboti male and it seems that he is starting to establish himself in the area. Guests were extremely fortunate as the Marula female was viewed several times over the past few days, regardless of the weather conditions. Then, incredibly, the Madzinyo male leopard was found one morning with a young wildebeest kill, but nature is harsh and sadly he was chased off his feast by some hyena.

On the large mammal front, the elephant herds remained very active in the central and western areas of the Timbavati. We were also treated to the return of a large buffalo herd, a group of between 250 and 300 animals, who spent most of the week in our concession, eventually moving out when the Mbiri male lions found them. Unfortunately for the lions, even after a couple of attempts they failed to catch one.

With the arrival of a further 27 mm of rain later in week, the general game returned to the eastern sections. There were giraffe and zebra aplenty across the reserve as the natural pans once again filled up. The late rain also brought out a number of insects, supplying a feast for the migratory birds and allowing them to build up their energy reserves as they prepare for their imminent long flights back north.

My only disappointment this week was my failure to get a photograph of a stunning, albeit brief, daytime viewing of a gorgeous caracal a few days back! Some alarm-calling Guinea fowl alerted us to the area, and upon investigating we were surprised by a brief glimpse of one of these rare cats. It was my first sighting since 2007 so I was happy to forgo the picture and just celebrate the rarity of seeing such a beautiful and scarce creature!

Hope you enjoy the pictures!


Tanda Tula Tanda Tula Tanda Tula