Lion sightings at Tanda Tula Safari Camp

Guests at Tanda Tula Safari Camp were spoilt this past week with some spectacular lion sightings. With the usual elephant sightings dominating most drives, it was a treat to finally spot some lions. In Chad Cocking latest blog post, he gives us a fantastic breakdown on a week that was filled with numerous captivating game drives.

Buffalo kill

The most notable lion sighting this week definitely belonged to the River Pride. Just 400m from Tanda Tula Safari Camp, the pride took down one of the local buffalo bulls. Shortly after being woken up by the lions chasing the buffalo past his house, Chad heard the unique distress call of a buffalo. After a brief search, Chad and his tracker Glen located the large bull buffalo being taken down by all nine members of the River Pride.

What followed over the next day or so was truly spectacular. This kill lured in predators from near and far. First came the two Zebenine lionesses and two cubs, then two neighbouring clans of hyenas. With more than 50 predators fighting over one kill, the night was filled with remarkable sounds that travelled throughout Tanda Tula Safari Camp.

Zebenine pride

The River Pride have been fairly dominant within the area, which sadly led to the Zebenine girls moving off with their cubs. They have since settled down in their old terrain again. As a result, Tanda Tula guests have had some special sightings of the cubs with their moms. The cubs look in good form and have become accustomed to the vehicles around them.

Mbiri males

Further lions that took interest in the buffalo kill were the Mbiri males. After taking some brief time away from mating with the four Mayambula females to visit the kill, they returned within a couple of hours after losing interest in chasing off the River Pride. They were drawn back to the east by the lionesses, of which three appear to be pregnant. The east could see a significant pride developing as a result.

Ross lionesses

The final lion sighting of the week was of the two Ross lionesses. They appear to have won the attention of the Black Dam male. He has wondered into the area from the neighbouring Thornybush Game Reserve. Several days were spent mating in the west. They then took off heading deep into the east.

Leopard sightings

The leopard sightings were far quieter than past weeks with all the lion activity in the area. A heavily pregnant Marula was spotted a few times. Nthombi and her cub have been seen around the northern parts of the concession. The cub still seems to be rather shy but guests were lucky to get a couple of sightings.

Much further west, Ntsongwaan made an appearance. Thumbela’s son and daughter were seen in the east along the Machaton. However they were extremely nervous without their mom around.


Regardless of the games drives being mainly focused on the prominent lion sightings, daily viewings of elephants were still had. Camp Dam directly in front of Tanda Tula Safari Camp offered several great moments for guests to appreciate these beautiful animals.


Two large buffalo herds moved into the area earlier in the week. The camp’s waterhole was dominated by one of the herds for two days. As a result of one of their herd members being killed, the bachelor group of resident buffalo have opted to move off to a new location.


Giraffe sightings were few and far between this week. With available food on the flowering knob-thorn trees being almost depleted, they have had to go in search of further food sources along the riverbeds.

Bird activity

The dry winter has seen many of the waterholes dry up. This has resulted in them becoming prime areas for unbelievable bird activity. The fish and frogs that remain in the small puddles have become easy targets for Herons, storks and kingfishers. Sometimes it’s the smaller things that provide equal amounts of captivating viewing.