A winter week in pictures

By Chad Cocking

This is the first blog in months that is not starting out with us making mention of yet more rain! As the temperatures drop with winter slowly creeping in, so too have the drier shades of the vegetation, all more akin to what we expect from a Kruger National Park winter. That being said, very few trees have started losing their leaves and there are still patches of green grass around. But on the whole, the Timbavati is starting to look more like it should at this time of year, and that can only mean positive things for the game viewing at Tanda Tula!

It has been a wonderful couple of weeks since my last 'Week in Pictures'  update, and the great sightings are not showing signs of slowing down. Despite a couple of days of absence last week, the elephant herds have returned in force, These gentle giants can be found visiting waterholes on a daily basis across the concession. As the surrounding wilderness areas of the Kruger National Park have started drying up, the large buffalo herds are now starting to be seen more and more regularly in the area, much to the delight of the lions.

Early in the week, the two Mbiri male lions were trying their luck with a herd of buffalo at Camp Dam during dinner, and a couple of nights later, the unmistakable death bellow of a buffalo in the clutches of a lion came blaring across the bush during the evening meal. On following up, we found that the buffalo herd had managed to rescue its lucky member,  leaving the two Mbiri lionesses exhausted and not looking in the best condition. Fortunately though, as the week drew to a close, we found the bloodied lionesses looking fat and well fed after a clearly sizeable meal.

With the mother lioness having moved her den site within view of one of the view points, we are hoping that it is only a matter of days now before the cubs are brought out into the open and we get our first view of them! On the cub-front, the Mayambula lionesses to the south-east of Tanda Tula Safari Camp had their two new cubs on display this past weekend, and we look forward to many sightings of them over the coming months.

The leopards were also out and about this week - Nyelti female and her cub were found in the east late one morning, Thumbela and her year-old son and daughter have also been exceedingly present in the east, and the little girl is showing some real promise as a future starlet of the Timbavati. Nthombi female is looking in the best condition she has been in for years, and the timing couldn’t be better as she seems to be very pregnant, and she can’t be more than a few weeks away from giving birth again. Madzinyo male was the only one not looking in tip top shape, and his swollen face told a story of a recent fight, but other than a few cuts and bruises, he is still looking strong.

Continuing on the topic of babies, one of the African wild dog packs appears to be denning just to the west of our concession, and this has been providing some regular viewing of the pack when they venture into our traverse area on their endless search for a meal. And if that is not enough babies, we have also been seeing a new born baby rhino out there! Who says winter is not a good time to come and see babies in the bush!

Hopefully, next time we catch up for a 'Week in Pictures'  there will be some photos of our new lion cubs, but until then, keep checking up on the blog for the latest updates.

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