This week has literally flown by as I sit down to write and tell you all just what happened out in the Timbavati over the last seven days. I really did have fun! Welcome back to another Week in Pictures at Tanda Tula Safari Camp. It’s always such a pleasure to put these blogs together for you because it generally means that I had my camera in hand for large amounts of time and I got to spend time with some of the most intriguing creatures on Mother Nature’s green planet!
It was also a week of at least one first, as I filmed my first Chad-style selfie Sofa Safari. So, keep an eye out for that, there’s just nothing like driving a large piece of machinery while partaking in selfie filming! I was very chuffed as the day I choose to head for my inaugural solo safari turned out to be a goodie. This is because I was able to catch up with some old friends, who I hadn’t seen in a very long time and definitely hadn’t featured on any of my episodes of Sofa Safari for what seemed like an age. Yes indeed, the River Pride was out and about!
As I drove down into the river bed to get a better view of the cats, my heart skipped a beat! They could not have been in a better position for a spot of afternoon photography. Two of the Nharu males were with the three lionesses and the remaining sub adult cub: all six cats just enjoying the cool moist river sand.
Sadly, it would seem as though the male with the gammy leg, who we refer to as Skorro (meaning rubbish), is just not getting the time needed for his leg to heal. I see this time and time again, where a lion with a damaged leg seems to be on the mend and then suddenly their injury looks worse than ever. I guess that’s what happens when you run around fighting and hunting most of your life. He is still gorgeous none the less!
Later that afternoon, I spent a bit of time just appreciating the huge cloud formations and essentially taking in the warmth from the sunshine. You see, over the last few weeks most days have been pretty dark and gloomy. So, to have a bright beautiful day was something I felt I should capture.
The next day was an incredibly windy one, but I just couldn’t resist going out. Not when I could potentially meet Thumbela’s cub, finally! Thanks to the hard work of Civilised and Given, her kill had been tracked down, but when they found it the cat wasn’t there. So, I decided to chance my luck and head out early in the hope that I would see her. However, I got a bit side-tracked, as one does, by a very stately looking wildebeest bull. Due to the position of my vehicle and the wildebeest being on a bit of a raised area, I was able to get some eye-level shots. Which, by the way, is exactly the angle you want for wildlife photography!
Eventually, I had had enough of the wildebeest and decided to move on in search of some rather elusive spots. I found the place where Given and Civ had found her and started to look around, eventually I found the kill and then suddenly a leopard’s head popped out of the thickets. And there she was, the stunning Thumbela! What a pleasure it was to see her again, even if it was a bit tricky to photograph her in the thickets, nothing that a bit of manual focus cannot sort out though!
After trying to capture her from this angle for a while, I decided to start the vehicle and try a different spot. It was when I got into this spot that I saw she wasn’t alone. There was her little cub; she had brought it to the kill site and I was finally getting my chance to meet him/her! I sat with them for ages, hoping that they would give me just a little bit more to work with, but thanks to the wind, she just refused to leave their protected spot in the thickets. Nonetheless, I got to see a leopard cub and there is no reason to be bleak about that!
Later that afternoon, I caught up with the herd of wildebeest again as they came down for a drink at Machaton dam. While enjoying the scene I noticed a bunch of vultures sitting in a nearby tree, but upon closer inspection realised that there was no kill to see. Rather, I think the vultures had just become tired of fighting the winds in the sky and had decided to call it a day and rest in the trees.
The next day, I got to spend some quality time with a herd of elephants. This really is something to savour at this time of year as the elephant numbers wax and wane incredibly, it can sometimes be days between sightings. This is due to the entire Greater Kruger Region being green and lush and ready for the eating, causing the elephants to disperse and find their own untouched slice of paradise. There was a super cute baby with the herd ad he was just full of beans. Sadly, I just was quick enough to capture him falling down a small termite mound as he played on it.
Of course, the week wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t show a few more characters that I got to spend some time with. A couple of buffalo bulls in the ‘Jacuzzi’.
Some baby geese going for a swim with their parents.
And finally, a leopard tortoise out for a stroll.
Until next time, stay safe and happy snapping!