Tanda Tula - white lion photographed in the Timbavati
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Wandering in pictures

Chad Cocking | A Week In Pictures

Hello hello, and a big welcome back to our weekly wildlife update from the heart of the Timbavati.I am back at Tanda Tula Safari Campafter a couple of weeks break, and it was such a wonderous treat to drive back into the reserve and see all the knobthorn and long-tailed cassia trees in full bloom!  Following on from weeks of me saying that it would happen (and beginning to think that the knobthorns might skip their flowering season just as they did last year), I suddenly remembered just why I was going on about it so much. it truly is a special time of year in the central Kruger’s acacia woodlands.

Despite being back at camp, I was not out on regular drives. As a result, I didn’t get to catch up with all the sightings that were around, but I was fortunate enough to be able to get to see the ones that counted the most!  Luke reported that the River Pride had been AWOL last week, and as this week started, the pattern didn’t appear as though it would be broken.  Distant roars of the Nharhu males could be heard out in the far east,  way beyond our concession, and we started to ponder if the pride would ever come back.  As the days ticked by with no sign of them, we grew increasingly despondent, but as nature usually shows, we had no reason to worry.  Following their surprise arrival on the complete opposite side of the Timbavati, the River Pride returned to our concession and were found resting full-bellied in the Zebenine Riverbed. These bulging stomachs were not enough to stop the pride from successfully hunting an adult female giraffe later that evening, and we found them feeding on the carcass the next morning.  This large kill anchored them to the south-western corner of the concession for several days as they fed and rested as the gathering scavengers sat waiting very patiently for their turn.  It was great for us, as not only did it mean that we had guaranteed lions for a few days, but more importantly it put a temporary pause on the pride’s wanderings!

Tanda Tula - Nharhu male lion in the Timbavati

Tanda Tula - River Pride lion grooming

Tanda Tula - lion cub on safari in South Africa

Tanda Tula - lion cub yawning in the Timbavati

Tanda Tula - giraffe kill on safari in South Africa

Tanda Tula - Lion feasting on a giraffe

That being said, wandering lions are not always bad, as was proven this week when an unexpected radio call came in announcing that a guide had found a pride of lions.  This was followed seconds later by him adding “oh, and one of them is a white lion” …and not long after “actually there are two white lions here”!  Yes, after some three years, we had white lions within our central part of the Timbavati again, but we all knew that this visit would be brief as this was the Birmingham Pride; a well-established pride that resides within the Kruger Park, and occasionally visits the far southern portions of the Timbavati.  For some reason though, the pride had ventured way up north (by their standards anyway) and were walking around with their two pride males (the Ross males who also once roamed around Tanda Tula) in the very heart of the Mayambula Pride’s territory.  Sadly, we did not have any guests at Tanda Tula that morning to share this sighting with, but we still managed to get to see the pride before they returned to the Kruger Park that night.  Although a brief (and seemingly unprecedented) visit, it was still wonderful to catch up with the white lions, and we can only hope that their wanderings bring them back to this part of the Timbavati soon.

Tanda Tula - white lion in South Africa

Tanda Tula - white lion on a photographic safari

We also got to catch up with the two Monwana male lions in the very far western section of our concession – after killing the Black Dam male, these males seem to have established themselves as the likely new dominant males of the Giraffe Pride.

Tanda Tula - photographic safari

Other than the lions, there were sightings of Thumbela leopardess with a nyala kill in the Nhlaralumi not far south of Safari Camp. Another unidentified male leopard had a kill on the banks of the same river bed later in the week, and the big, shy male in the east was also found with an impala kill this week.  Elephant continued to visit the waterhole in front of the camp, and the buffalo bulls continue to call this area their home.  Seeing dozens and dozens of giraffes roaming around the knobthorn woodlands was a real treat and helped to complete a fantastic week back in the bush.

Tanda Tula - flowering knobthorns in the Timbavati

Despite all of this, the highlight of the week was probably one that was not animal related, and was of the news that from October, South Africa will once again be opening its international borders which means that with Tanda Tula Safari Camp ready and waiting for you, it will not be long before we will be able to welcome all of you back!  Then you too can be here experiencing the magic of bush firsthand!

We look forward to welcoming you again, so until then, keep safe and take care

Cheers
Chad

Tanda Tula - lion paw on safari in South Africa

Tanda Tula - feasting lions on the best safari

Tanda Tula - hyena on a game drive in South Africa

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