1 March 2019
A WEEK OF WOW! IN PICTURES

Wow! That is the best word to sum up the past week at Tanda Tula Safari Camp. Our guests have been treated to some absolutely amazing sightings over the past seven days, but it has also been one of the tougher weeks I have had in narrowing down my image selection to just over a dozen shots!

What made my life a little easier was that one of my camera’s broke after we got caught in an incredible downpour one afternoon. The weatherman hadn’t predicted this one, so despite the thunder and lightning drawing closer during game drive, I was still confident of staying dry...until the first drops started falling. Half an hour and 40mm of stinging rain later, we all had some clothes that needed drying, but at least everyone had massive smiles on their faces following such a great experience of being caught out in an African rain storm! This was enough to get the Nhlaralumi river flowing in from of the camp, and left the bush even greener than it had been the week before, if that is even possible!

I guess, because I have been going on about them for the past three weeks, I can only start this blog with the fact that, at long last, we have been able to enjoy regular sightings of the Mayambula Pride’s cubs! Yes, the two mothers with the five cubs returned and moved right to the northern part of their territory, and into the heart of our property where we have been able to enjoy them on an almost daily basis. The third lioness did briefly show her three new cubs this week after she caught a warthog one afternoon, but they haven’t joined up with the five older cubs yet. All five cubs are completely at ease with the vehicles, full of energy and simply the best little lions around! With this pride providing so much quality viewing, we haven’t been seeing the Zebenine Pride as much, but when we have caught up with them and the Mbiri males, they have been looking in fantastic condition, and the two cubs are getting bigger by the week. This week also saw eight members of the River Pride make a re-appearance after a few weeks of absence. As always, they were looking in fantastic condition with the older of the males starting to show signs of moving towards adulthood. They will be a force to be reckoned with in the not-too-distant future, that is for sure!

Not to be outdone by their tawny cousins, the leopards played along wonderfully well this week, especially in the east where, in the space of 24 hours, we had six different leopards around Tortilis Plains. One particular sighting had four of them together around one tree, Thumbela, Nyeleti, Madzinyo and Thumbela’s son were all together around a kill that Nyeleti had made the day before, and were no doubt drawn to the area by her calling for her daughter. At the very same time, Thumbela’s daughter was on an impala kill less than 400m away! Earlier in the week, Nyeleti and her daughter were joined by Madzinyo on their kudu kill, also making for a great sighting. I also managed to see Marula’s cubs at long last, but as we bumped into them after dark, we didn’t spend time viewing them, and hoped to find them on their impala kill the next morning. Sadly, a hyena got in there before they returned and stole the kill from them. Xidulu male was seen with an impala kill after the storm, and the Rothsay male made the odd brief appearance too. Yet again, Nthombi and her daughter remained elusive and despite some others having sightings of her, I haven’t seen her in over three weeks.

It is possible that it was due to all the cats around that our other Big 5 sightings were not as plentiful as they have been. We started seeing a few buffalo bulls in the area again, whilst the bigger buffalo herds remained only in the western part of our concession. Keeping them company were the elephant herds, some of the guests enjoyed sightings of over one hundred of them around some of the waterholes in the west. In the central regions they were a little less common than we are used to, but they were still seen daily in the area.

The general game viewing was great until the storm, after which there were a few quiet days of zebra and giraffe viewing, but as the week drew to a close, they started to show themselves once again on each drive. There have been some nice wildebeest herds moving around the area too.

Although far from being considered “general game”, my personal sighting of the week was that of a very rare pink-backed pelican that ended up perched on a dead tree in the middle of the concession! It was my first time to see a pelican in the Greater Kruger, let alone the Timbavati! It just goes to show, you never know what you are going to see out there each day...who knows, maybe next week brings some baby cheetahs?

Here is to hoping! Until then…..

Cheers

Chad

Leopard

Zebra

 

Pray-mantis

Leopard

Landscape

Baby elephant

Leopard

Lion cubs

Giraffe up close

Leopard

Wildebeest

Tanda Tula Tanda Tula Tanda Tula