Greetings all, and welcome back to a quick recap of what has been happening at Tanda Tula Safari Camp over the past week! With myself still being office bound, it was up to Ginger, Steven, Scotch, and Tristan to be the ones out and about, finding some great sightings for our guests, and then coming back and making me somewhat envious of what I had been missing out on! It was a week of perfect weather—warm, sunny, and oh-so-summery. Temperatures remained in the mid-to-low thirties—hot enough to send the bigger game to the mudwallows in the middle of the day but not too warm to stifle their activity in the early morning and late afternoon. Evenings were mild, and the mornings had a wonderful freshness to them…and the bush…well, the bush still looks like summer!
It was a week dominated by lions, with the Giraffe Pride, River Pride, Sark Breakaway, and the original Sark Pride all being seen. The arrival of the Sark Pride sparked some debate about what was going on as they arrived at the overlap of the Sark Breakaway and River Pride territory, and this understandably drew the interest of the Vuyela males that promptly set about mating with the new lionesses in the area. It is a common practice for lionesses to throw themselves at new males, and from one account, one Vuyela male was mating with four of the five Sark lionesses at once! No wonder he looked exhausted for the rest of the week. While the Sark Pride were around, the Sark Breakaways also made a return to the same area and were only a couple of kilometres away from one another at one point. It would be interesting to see what the outcome would be if these two prides met, as they have been separated now for over four years. Time again will tell whether the Sark females will settle in the eastern section of the Klaserie and venture into the western parts of the Timbavati; this would potentially pressure the River Pride into moving into a more central position around our concession. The Mayambula pride were sadly absent during this period, but as is often the case, their absence brings out the cheetahs!
In typical fashion, my absence from game drives led to several cheetah sightings as the mother cheetah and her growing sub-adult spent two days in the eastern sections of our traversing area, providing the guides with some great sightings. The pack of eight wild dogs was seen in the far west, and it was only towards the end of the week that the bigger pack of twenty dogs made a return to our concession. They, however, ran into the Sark Breakaway pride that were resting off their fat bellies on the airstrip, and this caused the wild dogs to promptly turn around and run straight back north to where they had come from!
On the leopard front, Nyeleti made a random appearance in the open areas of Nkhari – an area no one had seen her venture before. This doesn’t bode well for the outcome of her cubs, as if she still had them, she would be unlikely to be venturing that far south. The Xiwumbane male provided for three days of sightings on the access to Nkhari, where he caught himself a zebra foal and fed on it up in a marula tree for some time.
A large herd of buffalo that included our non-binary bull made a rare summer appearance, but the large groups of buffalo bulls were found daily relaxing in mudwallows around the central parts. The elephant herds appeared to have been plentiful for most of the week, and it was lovely getting out and spending time with the herds of zebras, wildebeest, and impalas, all enjoying the open areas in the east.
I will be out and about a bit more next week, so I will have some more images and first-hand stories for you…and who knows, maybe the cheetahs decide to surprise me and show up while I am out searching for them!
Until next time!