A WEEK OF SUMMER

The heat is on and the Timbavati is searing! After some incredible rain that thrust the bush into life a week or two ago, the area around Tanda Tula has now embraced summer full on.

Temperatures have been climbing into the high thirties and low forties just about every day. However, this heat is exactly what the environment needs right now in order to make the best use of that incredible rain. The Timbavati is green and alive, something I am sure you saw if you had a look through Chad’s stunning week in images last week.

Just like Chad, I also love this time of year! The greenery is really amazing and while the bush can start to get thick and limit photographic angles it still rewards you with stunning green and vibrant back drops in just about every scene. It also helps make the many animals that habituate this Greater Kruger area look even more gorgeous.

The wildlife sightings have been superb over the last couple of weeks and although it has been very hot, it is evident that the animals in the area are really enjoying the abundance of fresh water and tasty green foliage. I was pleasantly surprised to come across the massive bull elephant Apollo and his four friends during the week. There is something incredibly special about elephant bulls, even though they can weigh over six tons, they have this definite sense of calm around them. Apollo is a great specimen and one of the world’s largest land mammals, but when two or three of these big bulls come together it’s a definite show stopper!

The predators have also been on great display all week long, with many leopard and lion sightings. However, on one morning we were fortunate enough to see some African wild dogs, as they lazed about in the dry riverbed after having finished their early morning meal. Although they were not too active, there is no such thing as a bad wild dog sighting! Shortly after this sighting we came across the famous leopardess Ntombi and her soon to be famous little cub. It has been such a joy to see this cub go from strength to strength over the last few months and she has developed massive confidence, often walking well ahead of her mother and easily scaling trees with her newly learnt climbing skills (although the getting down part still seems to confuse her a little!).

The baby impala are now in full affect and there are nursery herds laying about in the shade everywhere at the moment, making full use of their voice boxes to produce their mumbling, grumbling and moaning. These are some of my favourite African sounds! We have also started to see some baby wildebeest here and there. Perhaps these have come a little earlier than usual, but none of us are complaining and given the amount of food and water around, I don’t think they are either.

The Zebenine Pride and the Mbiri males are proving to be unstoppable! The little, or rather not so little cubs, are really starting to develop some awesome personalities and their facial expressions keep the guests amused for hours. It was such a heart-warming moment to watch them suckle from mom in the shade on a very hot afternoon, joined later by their aunt and both the Mbiri males. The deep rumble of roaring has become a common sound around Tanda Tula Safari Camp over the last few weeks as this young pride continues to prove their dominance.

It’s been a great week for game viewing and for those of you that think the Lowveld heat at this time of year isn’t worth the benefits, I compel you to reconsider.

Until next time - happy snapping,

Luke

Apollo

Enjoying the view

Family

Proud mum

Gentleman's journey

Ntombi on her thrown

Riverbed yawning

Young Nyala bull

Elephant and a scene

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