Welcome back to your weekly update from the heart of the Greater Kruger! Following last week’s blog, I am sure that many of you have been wondering about the outcome of the missing Zebenine Pride’s mother lioness. Sadly, things are not looking good for a positive outcome, and a week after finding the remains of the dead cub, there has still been no sign of the mother. The other lioness was only seen on one occasion but walking around alone. The next day there were tracks for her and the remaining cub, but no confirmed sightings were had of either of them as the week progressed. If it is the case that the lioness was also killed, this is a disaster for the future of the pride and raises a number of questions. Most pressing of which would be whether or not the lioness will look after the remaining cub? If she doesn’t and the female cub dies, what will she do as a lone lioness? It is not impossible to survive as a single lion, but life will be considerably more difficult for her. Time will tell whether or not she stays within the concession, or if she will be forced out by other lions. The four River Pride lionesses seem to be on their own now and could well decide to push more into the heart of the prime Zebenine territory, especially if the Mbiri males were to take control of the pride. 

For now, though, the Mbiri males have been biding their time between the Mayambula Pride and their own territorial activities. The first half of the week saw some good viewing of the Mayambula Pride with the eight cubs, and later in the week, the lone lioness with her two cubs was seen feasting on a large kudu kill that she had made. In the west, the Giraffe Pride were around over the long weekend, but they had a run in with a pack of wild dogs and sadly ended up killing one of the pack members.

We had two packs of wild dogs utilising the areas around Tanda Tula Safari Camp this week; the small pack of four was seen a couple of times, but a larger pack of 16-odd dogs spent most of the week in the concession and allowed for some exciting game viewing as they embarked on their daily hunts. Although no kills were witnessed, we were lucky enough to catch up with them feeding on a couple of kills during the course of the week.

The leopard viewing was quieter than usual this week, but not without some quality sightings. Marula and her cubs provided for the bulk of the viewings over the course of the week, they were found with kills on two occasions. Although still a little shy, the cubs are getting more confident by the week and with mom providing food for them as she is, they are also getting bigger with each passing update! Nthombi female made a brief and rare appearance this week – so brief that she disappeared from view before I could even catch up with her. The four female leopards in the east were frustratingly elusive, and only Nkaya female showed herself one afternoon along the banks of the Machaton. The Rothsay male was found with an impala kill hoisted up a Marula tree one morning, but true to his nature, he lay in the long grass and out of view. An interesting development was the arrival of another shy leopardess in the middle of Nthombi and Marula’s territories. Her arrival wasn’t the most interesting thing, but rather it was the fact that she had two young cubs with her, and despite her nervous nature, both cubs seemed very unphased by the vehicles! Some suggested that she could be a previous cub of Marula, but without photographic evidence, this is nothing more than speculation. Time will tell whether she hangs around the area or was merely making use of the gap temporarily left by Nthombi (who has been spending most of her time in the northern part of her territory).

The buffalo herds that we were so pleased to see last week only stayed around for a couple of days before the Mbiri males latched onto their presence and trailed them until they crossed out of the concession, but not before the lions managed to get themselves a young calf. Calves that fared better were the many, many elephant calves walking around with the large herds that have been enjoying the central Timbavati the past week. On more than one occasion, we were treated to gatherings of 60-100 elephants as they continued to enjoy the last bits of green grass that autumn has on offer. If last year was any measure of what will unfold in 2019, this will be the start of a long run of some wonderful elephant viewing!

That is all we have for now for you. Please be sure to check back again next week to see what other dramas have unfolded for the guests and guides at Tanda Tula Safari Camp!








Baby elephant


The moon



Tanda Tula Tanda Tula Tanda Tula