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A week of change in pictures

Luke Street

Welcome back to another week of Week in Pictures at Tanda Tula Safari Camp! It is always a pleasure to bring the latest updates to you, and as summer starts and the heat starts to creep in, Chad and I are so excited to start showing you just how much things can change in this wonderful and inspiring environment! At the moment, we find ourselves in probably the harshest time of year and are experiencing the hot summer temperatures, but without the relief of the rains. The bush can really start to look parched at this time of year, which is expected when the temperatures are already reaching close to 40 degrees Celsius! Nonetheless, the wildlife of Africa always finds a way to survive, right up until those glorious first drops. Then, suddenly the greenery starts to sprout again, and it feels like everything breaths a metaphorical sigh of relief…

For me, the highlight of the week came with a sighting of a hippo in one of our nearby watering holes. Now, I know lots of you have been on many safaris and you’re probably wondering why I am so excited about a hippo, as they really are fairly common animals to encounter in the Kruger region. However, hippos like water and lots of it! The Timbavati is far better known for its wide, dry riverbeds rather than its raging torrents; not exactly a hippo’s dream location, then. So, when one does come around, it is pretty exciting! What made this even better was that I was able to lay flat on my stomach to photograph him as he frolicked in his version of a bath. Eye-level photography really is a magical way to take photos, but it is vital to maintain an ethical approach at all times.

The River Pride have been here, there, and just about everywhere over the last few weeks. Along with the Nharu males, they really do seem to enjoy a bit of an adventure. Luckily though, one morning we found them right outside Tanda Tula Safari Camp. The cub is looking ridiculously big and strong, even if she wasn’t keen on having her nap in a nice open area for me to take a photo of her. Her father did, however, lift his head once or twice to give me a fairly uninterested look over his shoulder, and I managed to capture a shot of his beautiful eye.

Next up, and all thanks to the legend Scotch, I was able to meet up with one of the true beauties of the Timbavati – a blue-eyed girl I hadn’t seen for some time: the leopardess “Thombela”. She was spotted by Scotch, peacefully munching away on her scrumptious looking impala hanging in a tree. An obligatory hyena was also there, longing for the moment that the cat would drop her prize meal.

There were also some wild dogs spotted late one afternoon. Sadly there was too little light to be able to get any meaningful images, however, it doesn’t pay to get frustrated in these moments. Rather just put down your camera and enjoy the beauty unfolding around you. I stayed with these painted dogs for a while until they moved off into the dusky thickets.

Lastly, I have included an image of a lesser-known antelope called a grey duiker. They are not rare or endangered, but rather because they seldom let you see them in this area, and when they do, it is usually followed by a flurry of speed, a small dust cloud and a scampering of hooves. It may not be the best shot, but it at least will help you all to see one in a little more detail. Take special note of her pre-orbital glands or those thin lines found just under her eyes: these secrete a substance that will help her mark her territory, or communicate through olfactory and pheromonal ways.

All in all, another great week out there. We just can’t wait to share it with all of you again!

Until next time, happy snapping,

Luke

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