21 September 2018
A PEARLER OF A WEEK IN PHOTOS

By Luke Street

The Timbavati scenery never seems to fail. So it is understandable that this reserve is considered one of the best game viewing areas across the Greater Kruger system. The past few days have been a roller-coaster of emotions. One of the greatest aspects of this job is seeing the fundamental change in people who experience the wilderness of Africa for the first time. Many guests come to Tanda Tula Safari Camp with certain expectations, but very often those expectations are far exceeded and they see and feel things they never dreamt of. 

The wintery temperatures have all but gone and yet the dramatic starkness of this time of year remains. The bush is parched and in desperate need of rain, something we now hope comes sooner rather than later. As the waterholes dry up and temperatures carry on rising animals such as buffalo are becoming more and more desperate, one such distressed buffalo came to it’s demise as it got stuck in the mud of a drying waterhole. It is not often that hyena claim such a large prey, but on this night they did. Although I was only able to go to this sighting the following day, I can just imagine the scene from the night before as several hyena managed to kill the poor beast as it lay glued in the thick, black mud. Incredibly all that was left at the scene were bones and dust.

Guests have been treated to some truly amazing leopard sightings this week as Marula continues to dominate her domain. The stunning leopardess is host to one of the largest territories I have ever seen a female leopard claim. This, of course, can make her hard to find at times, but when we do locate her she never fails to impress. The image of her ascending a large Knob thorn tree is one of my favourite images, it really sums up her incredible agility and determination. Later in the week we found Marula again, this time she found and killed a brand-new baby steenbok. This sighting was both sad and incredibly powerful, witnessing leopard kills is something truly special, this was only the second I had ever seen, but no matter how hardened a person you are, this is always hard to digest. Nature is indeed a cruel mistress, life gives way for life everyday out here and only the strongest survive.

The general game has been very good with some great giraffe, kudu and bird sightings. The Pearl Spotted Owlet was particularly fun to spend time with from a photographic aspect. Another highlight was watching a Saddle billed stork,at a nearby waterhole, bullying a poor little Hammerkop who was totally unperturbed and carried on looking for his next meal.

Lastly, we ended the week with anespecially notable sighting of mating lions! One of the young Rothsay females is currently hanging out with whowe believe to be the Black Dam male, a relatively new lion to thearea, having moved in from the west. I wait with baited breath to see how our local males, The Mbiris, react to this imposter!

Until next time, happy snapping!

 

 


 

 

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