It’s been great to be back out there in the driver’s seat this week, with Mr Cocking taking a bit of a break, I get my chance to head out and try fill his mighty shoes with an image or two! The bush is alive and well, it is green and it is teeming with life. There were some interesting characters around that I was really happy to catch up with, so without further ado, welcome to another week of Tanda Tula Week in Pictures!
I think I will just jump straight into showing you all the interesting characters that have been around for a week or so now. Most of you will know that lions, especially the males, are violently territorial beasts. So much so that they are well known to kill or at least seriously maim each other when intruders are found to be enjoying the luxury of one’s home ground. The area around Tanda Tula is deep in the Nharhu coalition’s territory, and these three males do not take kindly to invaders. Enter the Sumatra and Hercules males. These two brutes had already been sighted towards the end of last week and what’s more is that they were found on a kill! It didn’t last long however, as the Nharhu boys were very quick to chase them from their meal, at the end of the day three versus two is most often going to go the obvious route. You would think that after this altercation they would have gotten the idea and moved off, but instead they decided to linger and enjoy the views of the forbidden land a little longer. Luckily for me, I was able to catch up with them just before they left the area!
I had a gorgeous sighting of a big herd of elephants one morning. Truth be told I was in the area looking for the leopardess Thumbela and her cub, whom I am still yet to meet. Judging by the way the elephants were trumpeting down in the riverbed and generally just not behaving in a very happy manner, combined with the monkey’s alarm calling, I was sure the cat was there. Sadly, I just couldn’t get my vehicle through the herd of elephants and down the thick banks of the Machaton River in order to get a proper look around. None the less, the elephants were superb and once they had calmed down, I was very happy to spend about an hour with them as they went about their business of eating, pooing, eating some more and then waddling off into the bush.
A definite highlight of the week for me came when I decided to jump out of my vehicle and sit on the ground while waiting patiently for a business of dwarf mongoose to accept me as one of their own. It took a while at first, but soon the little critters were more interested in me than I was in them and I managed to snap a number of photos that I am pretty chuffed with. I really do love these curious creatures!
Lastly, an update on the resident lions – the River Pride! They have finally returned from their journey to the east, towards the Kruger National Park. They were just lazing about and looking as gorgeous as ever towards the east of our concession and what’s more is that the three Nharhu males were there with them. These males are really starting to come into their own as they get older and reach their peak physical form. Their manes are starting to look more ‘lion-ly’ and their demeaners are statelier than ever! It’s wonderful to see them keeping such a close eye on the remaining cub and the four females, even if that does mean the girls have a kill or two stolen by the much larger males every once in a while.
I look forward to seeing what the next week has on offer for us all out here in the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, and I look even more forward to welcoming you all back hopefully sooner rather than later, as our borders are now open again.
Stay safe out there and until next time, happy snapping.