Hello again, from a wonderfully peaceful Timbavati!
The past week has been a very calm one for us at Tanda Tula Safari Campas we were closed for a few days to allow us time to get some ‘behind the scenes’ work done in camp. This meant that we weren’t out on drive for the latter half of the week. Still, the first four days were a continuation of the good run of game viewing that we have been enjoying so far in the green season of 2020.
The week started off with a bang on the first afternoon of reporting. I had been out in the east looking for leopards when a radio call came in saying that there were some wild dogs moving into our concession from the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve.Unfortunately, they seemed to have disappeared already. My guests had asked about wild dogs that morning, so I didn’t hesitate to head into that area to help relocate them. It didn’t take long, but the two dogs we found soon shot off and as we approached them again, we saw that they had managed to catch an impala lamb. They were already halfway through it by the time we got to them. Their efficiency as predators is something to behold. Slowly, more and more of the pack arrived, but the meal was done and they soon moved off in search of another meal. Sadly, their speedy movement through the bush meant that we lost them a short while later, and with the sun having already set, we called it a day. Later in the week, we had a couple of brief sightings of a small pack of only three wild dogs running around the central area. Keeping up with just three of these energised canids proved too much for us.
On the cat front, we started the week with a lovely sighting of Nthombi female leopard after a morning of searching for spotted cats. The good news was that from the way her belly was hanging, it looked like she was starting to produce milk again and my suspicions are that she is indeed pregnant. Shortly after this sighting, it became difficult to see if she was pregnant or just overly well-fed as she spent a couple of days on the Timbavati/Klaserieboundary looking decidedly round-bellied!
We also had a few sightings of Marula’s boy, Xisiwana, doing very well! Despite not seeing him too often these days, he was still very relaxed with the vehicles and gave us some lovely viewing as he posed up a marula tree. Then, the next time we saw him, he caught a large rock monitor lizard in the long grass. Later in the week, he was also seen taking a scrub hare, so it seems that his fondness for the smaller creatures is persisting in the absence of his experience taking down larger prey. There were no sightings of Nyeleti this week, so we suspect that she has moved her den site to a new, undiscovered location.
The River Pride also moved their den site a couple of times and are presently with the cubs on the banks of the Nlharalumi Riverbed. It’s still not very clear if there are one or two mothers with cubs and we didn’t see all four lionesses together during the week. The Nharhu males spent the entire week around the Timbavati. The one day they were out of view was when they killed a giraffe calf on our western boundary. A day later, all three males were reunited, and the limping male was back in the fray. He was looking very skinny – a stark contrast to his two bulging brothers – and despite this appearing to be a sad sight, the fact that he was walking on all four paws for the first time in weeks gave me some hope. A couple of days later, this male was seen sporting an even bigger belly than the other two boys so he got the much-needed meal he was after. I will definitely keep you posted on the recovery of his leg. There wasn’t a great deal of other lion activity this week, but some interesting news was of reports about the Mbiri male lions being found all the way down south in the Kruger National Park, east of Orpen Camp. It seems that the Nharhu males have succeeded in pushing these males a long way away, with little chance of them returning, especially as they were seen courting two other lionesses.
Other than that, the elephants were seen in the area on a daily basis with a lovely, calm herd spending much time around Tanda Tula Safari Camp. The resident buffalo bulls contributed to our big five sightings as the breeding herds were moving around in the western parts of our area this past week. The zebras, giraffes and wildebeest were all back in the east which meant that wherever we drove, we got to see some nice game. It was also great having a resident hippo back in the eastern parts, especially one that is quite active in the early mornings and late afternoons.
I will be out on drive a little more over the coming week, so I’ll have many more photos and stories to share with you all.
Until next time, cheers!