After a couple of weeks off on leave, Chad Cocking was eager to get back to Tanda Tula Safari Camp after hearing about the amazing sightings that were being had in his absence. Upon his return he was fortunate enough for the incredible sightings to continue. In his most recent blog, Chad talks us through his first week back and the ample sightings the Timbavati presented him with.
The lions dominated this week. The Mbiri males are finally back in the area and this is a very welcome sight. They showed their dominance by chasing the River Pride off the buffalo they had just taken down. The Zebenine lionesses and their two cubs promptly joined the Mbiri males to partake in the kill. Guests were then treated to two full days of prime viewing.
It was great to see the males spending so much time with the pride. This enabled some great interactions between them and their cubs. Sadly the males decided to head off back east in the location of the Mayambula Pride. It appeared that the cold winds blowing across the terrain last week got too much for some of the Mayambula pride. Three of them were found taking shelter within a Terminalia thicket. The Ross lionesses were fairly scarce, only being spotted once in the far west. The River Pride were seen lounging around Reflection Dam for a day, after which they headed north and weren’t seen again for the rest of the week.
The cold winds blowing across the plains this past week proved beneficial for the Timbavati leopards. Several kills were located this week whilst on game drive. Nthombi and her cub successfully hoisted an impala kill up a tree, only for the River Pride to snatch it from them one evening. Luckily mom and cub were not harmed during this event. Not far from camp ,the Tamboto male was seen with an impala kill as well as Thumbela’s daughter, but she was further east.
This week brought with it two new leopard faces within the Timbavati. It is always exciting when such events occur. The first was a young male leopard spotted in the far west. He was seen chasing a timid female leopard off her impala kill. The second new appearance came in the form of a very relaxed female. Spending most of her time to the west of the Timbavati she opted to wonder further afield this week which enabled guests to get yet another great leopard sighting. She was seen on another impala kill that she had dragged up a Jackalberry tree. Evidently, a great week for leopard viewing, but not such a good one for the impalas.
Even with the 8mm of rain received last week, the waterholes remain dryer than ever. Sadly this is resulting in the elephants presence being a bit more scarce than usual. Luckily however, guests were still able to get a few sightings whilst on drive. A perk for the week was definitely seeing over one hundred elephants flowing into one of the near by pans.
Two separate buffalo herds have remained within the Tanda Tula concession for the week. This is the result of the limited water in the surrounding areas. They have been wandering between the feeding grounds and the few remaining dams in the area. The larger of the two herds reached over 300 buffalos and was a truly remarkable sight.
The wild dogs weren’t as present as previous weeks, limiting guests to a few sightings, yet this is still better than no sighting at all. It has been a joy to see the new little rhino in the area which is not a very common sighting, so definitely one to be appreciated.
Overall sightings were great this past week. The zebras seem to be increasing in numbers and once the rains fall they will return in force to the area. Large numbers of giraffes were spotted, mainly along the major riverbeds which is common for this time of year. There were even a few ostriches who decided to show themselves which was a delight to the guests.