What an incredibly strange time to be alive. I don’t think anyone in the world could’ve expected COVID-19 to cause so much chaos. At Tanda Tula, just like every other safari lodge in Africa, we had an almost overnight fall of bookings. We went from having guests and future bookings one day to literally none the next. For an industry as popular as the African safari industry and having worked in this industry for almost 10 years, it was absolutely astonishing!
I remember vividly, after our last guests had left, Britt, Chad and myself had a small meeting. The idea behind this meeting was how we were going to keep Tanda Tula, The Greater Kruger and of course Africa, in the hearts and minds of all our amazing past and future guests. How could we help to add to the positivity of the world as opposed to abundant negativity? With the assistance of Shara, Tanda Tula’s content manager, we developed a strategy to keep the content flowing in new and exciting ways. We developed the concepts of Sofa Safari, Sofatography, Solo Safaris, Safari Science, Safari Kitchen and our already somewhat famous Week in Pictures. At the end of the day we had an entire game reserve that needed exploring as well and believe me, we never once, and still don’t take it for granted for one second. We understood immediately how lucky we were and just how unlucky others might be. It was our sole purpose to bring joy and happiness to those that were possibly struggling to find it.
Over the next few months, we spent hours out in the African wilderness in search of inspiring content and of course, the amazing wildlife that we share this wonderland with. It was a learning curve for all of us on the team and an absolutely invaluable one that we will cherish forever. It was a chance for us to connect with all of you in a completely different way. If we couldn’t share these amazing sightings with you in person, then we were adamant to share them with you virtually! From the bottom of my heart and from all of us that have enjoyed sharing this all with you, thank you for connecting with us, supporting and spurring us on to continue capturing Africa. We will never give up this new model of content creation and even when business returns to “normal” we will still do our best to bring you all the virtual safari goodness that we can.
The past months have produced some truly stunning sightings and along with those sightings have come some great moments captured and frozen in time. So, I truly hope you enjoy going through my Lockdown 2020 highlight images. I think my favourite image is the one of the wild dog chasing the hyena. This image was taken during our first sighting of African wild dogs on a Sofa Safari. Seeing these two species interact is always so interesting and for lack of a better word, hilarious. This is because, as I said in that video, it’s always great to see hyena getting served a bit of their own medicine.
There were a few more images that really resonated with me during this time. The portrait of the little lion cub really sums up the character and naughtiness that a lion cub so often brings to the table. The rare image a rhino, an animal that we choose not to advertise all that often due to the current pressure they face in terms of poaching. We Just couldn’t sit idly by any longer and deny one of the worlds most iconic species from having its moment in the limelight and so we filmed only one episode of Sofa Safari with this most peaceful of species.
Lastly, the pangolin. An animal that I have now had the pleasure of seeing all of five times and a species that most avid safari goers will spend their lives trying to tick off, and sadly, the worlds most poached mammal. This is not an animal that we often get to photograph and so I could not be happier that I now have a portfolio of pangolin shots to truly be proud of.
People always talk about living in the moment, “forget everything else and just be present”, they say. Well, I don’t think there is anything quite as powerful in this regard as spending time in nature and with the beautiful and innocent wildlife one may encounter out there. Being on safari forces your presence, maybe ‘force’ is the wrong word because at the end of the day, you don’t even have to try.
We are so excited to welcome you back and to share these wild spaces with you once again, to be in the moment with you and to forget all the negatives of the world. Tanda Tula is ready, Africa is ready. We will see you soon.
Until next time, happy snapping,