Greetings to all of our readers, and as always, the Tanda Tula family is hoping that this blog finds you all well, wherever you may be locked down or isolating across the world! Another week has passed us by here in the solitude of the Timbavati,and once again we had a very enjoyable week. The game viewing felt like it picked up, despite some slightly miserable and rainy weather – we received 32mm of rain this week. Not that we can blame rain for a lack of animals. After 19mm last night, I headed to town first thing this morning and before I had even arrived on the tarred access road, I had ticked off lions, rhinos, elephants, wildebeest, impala, zebra and giraffes! I wish all of our Sofa Safaris (just in case you have been hiding under a rock and haven’t yet watched them, go check out our YOUTUBE CHANNEL) were that easy!
The highlight of the week came from the lions no doubt, and we were fortunate enough to pick up some members of the River Pride/Nharhu males on most outings, but it was the discovery of three new members of the pride towards the end of the week that got us all excited. Britt and I headed out for a Sofa Safari and found fresh tracks for a male lion walking along the Nhlaralumi, and whilst looking for him, spotted not only our known lioness and her three cubs, but alongside her was the second mother lioness with her three 8-week old cubs all gathered together! It is quite a treat to know that you are the first people to see such adorable baby cubs! They spent the day in the riverbed at one of the pride’s original den sites, and we are keeping fingers crossed that they remain in the area for the next few days. In fact, Thursday was one of those rare days when we saw all the members of the pride – but what seems to be their ‘way’, they were all doing their own thing. The limping male continues to wander alone, or spend time with the two “non-mothers”, but his timing was clearly off as late in the week, we found those lionesses mating with the other two Nharhu males (with some luck, the six cubs will have a few “cousins” in the next four months). We didn’t find any traces of any other lions in the parts of the concession that we checked this past week.
Our leopard drought was temporarily broken by Xisiwana male, and he spent much of the week in the vicinity of Tanda Tula Safari Camp,but knowing he was there was one thing – finding him proved a completely different story! The monkeys’ alarm called regularly as he walked around, we viewed him walking in the Nhlaralumi from the verandah, but only once did Brittany and Dale manage to find him whilst out on drive. We continued to see tracks and hear some of the calling, but I am appreciating the immense benefit our trackers add by not only being able to spot these camouflaged cats, but also to track them down…I can’t wait to have them back!
One thing that did appear to be coming back were the elephant herds, a sure sign that winter is approaching. The herds started becoming almost daily visitors to the camp’s waterhole; and they were not alone, we also had a hippo move into the dam for the week! In general, the elephant herds were more evident across the central parts of the concession, although with the east being so much drier (it is remarkable that where the west has green grasses growing some distance from the riverbeds, the east’s grass has mostly dried out), they seem to be avoiding those areas for now.
The buffalo herds were temporary visitors in the western sections (or so it seemed from their tracks out that side), and one herd did move through the central regions. The days following that, the vulture activity and fat bellies of the lions suggested that perhaps they had been lucky and managed to catch one? Giraffes and zebras remained in evidence, and we also had more hyena viewing this week – one clan seems to be enjoying the fact that there is no traffic on the access road and has moved their den site to one of the culverts under the road!
One other returning visitor which signals that winter is coming was our first ostrich sighting for a few months. Every winter a few male (followed by female) ostriches move into the more open woodlands of the east, and we got to see our first male of the season! It is always such an impressive sight to see, and we look forward to a few months of good ostrich viewing! Luckily, he wans’t the only bird about, and as always, we enjoyed some of our smaller inhabitants of the bush this week!
That’s it from all of us for this week – please be sure to keep up to date with all the happenings on our social media platforms! Some exciting announcements will be coming your way very soon! Until next time, stay safe, and keep on smiling!
Until next time…